Is your resume THEM-focused or ME-focused?

Imagine you were out on a first date and the person you were out talked about how great they were and why you should date them for the entire night.

How long would that date last?

You would probably think that they are egotistical, full of themselves, arrogant, and definitely not a team player. It’s the same reason Terrell Owens is getting bounced around from team to team as his career comes to an end.

So you trash that date and then try again. This time, the person speaks to every desire that you have deep down inside. They give you advice on your problems. They share similar experience that they’ve had and how they overcame them. They only say what’s necessary—nothing more, nothing less. They are simple, clear, concise, and confident.

Now how do you feel? Do you want to go out with this person again?

Resumes work the same way. Most people write ME-focused resumes.

They talk about:

  • how great they are
  • what they’ve accomplished
  • who they worked for
  • position they’ve had
  • blah, blah, blah

All that is great, but it doesn’t make you a fit. If Gandhi or Mother Theresa wanted to date you, would you say yes just because they are so accomplished? No!

Why? Because you’re looking for someone who meets YOUR needs—not ANY need. Potential employers work the same way—they want someone to meet THEIR needs.

The questions that your resume should speak to are:

  • What does this person’s background communicate about their ability to address OUR problems today?
  • How does this person’s personality fit with OUR company culture?
  • How does this person’s personal story align with OUR company history?

I’m sure that you’re a great person, but a job search is not about YOU. It’s about demonstrating that you are the best candidate to solve a problem THEY are facing. Make sure that your resume is THEM-focused, not ME-focused.

D.R.E.A.M. awake!


Jullien Gordon

P.S. Check out my video on other Resume Myths here ==> http://www.careerchangechallenge.com/video3


How to Write the World’s Best Resume Ever

Who has the marbles to walk into an interview and drop this resume on the table? If I was recruiting for my company and someone submitted this resume, I would probably hire them on the spot.

You can write the most thorough resume with strong action verbs, the nicest layout, with the best schools and GPA, printed on the finest paper, but if it doesn’t communicate that you 1. Create value and 2. Get money, the chances of you getting hired is slim.

Size does matter.

The sizing of each section of the resume, is extremely important. 80% of your resume is about your performance and 20% personality. A lot of resumes are full of fluff. If you are overcompensating by filling up your resume with achievements and awards from high school or words typed per minute, it’s probably a sign that the size of your impact isn’t that great. Where you went to school and your GPA don’t matter that much—even 4.0 won’t get you hired today. The baseline is that you have finished college, created value, and some sort of leadership beyond self.

As I stated in my last post “How To Write A Real Resume” (link here), a resume should not be a carbon copy of your job descriptions. Instead, each bullet-point should communicate how you moved the organization or some aspect of it from Point A to Point B.  Potential employers are more concerned with what you MOVED FORWARD than what you DID BACK THEN. You can even take it one step further and create a resume 2.0 (see mine here), which is more like a visual portfolio of your value. An addendum to your portfolio should include physical examples of the quality of your work (i.e. business plans or essays you’ve written, presentations you’ve created, an actual website or product you designed or marketed, etc).

Employers trust results, not resumes.

Let’s face it, most resumes are lies. There is so much information asymmetry in the career search process. Companies lie by posting job descriptions that don’t truly communicate the nature of the job and potential employees exaggerate each and every bullet-point on their resume falsely presenting their true nature. It’s easier to search the dictionary for the perfect SAT word than it is for someone to actually create real value. Employers see you as a risk until proven otherwise.

Every company is hiring…even in economic downturn.

In other words, no company is NOT hiring. When a company is down, it will hire anyone who it thinks will take it higher. The only way to bounce back from an economic downturn is to either layoff people and hope that things return to the good ol’ days or hire great people who will be intrapreneurs (=entrepreneurs within an existing company) and think of new ways to reposition and repurpose the company through innovation.

If someone great knocks on the door, they won’t shut it. But keep in mind that I don’t mean great as in great person or personality—I mean someone with a great performance track record. Leading people over the past 10 years has shown me that nice people don’t always produce nice results. It’s sad but true—unfortunately, personality and performance aren’t correlated. Personality only gets you so far. Sometimes nice guys do finish last because they don’t perform.

Have you created EXTREME value? If so, how?

The best resume I’ve ever seen is Jay-Z’s (click image on right to enlarge). His resume is full of ways that he has created EXTREME value for companies he has started and worked with. School doesn’t prepare us to create EXTREME value—it prepares us to be employees. An 8am-3pm workday become 9am-5pm and homework becomes work that you have to take home.

Bill Gates (Microsoft) Steve Jobs (Apple), Michael Dell (Dell), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Ralph Lauren, Jack Taylor (Enterprise) and others dropped out of college because they saw ways to create EXTREME value in the world that college wasn’t preparing them to do. Imagine if Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg followed the rest of his classmates and ended up being a consultant or investment banker. I probably wouldn’t be typing this to you on a PC or a Mac and you probably wouldn’t be reading it on Facebook.

I’m not saying this to encourage anyone drop out—I have three degrees and I value each one, because I used the free time and risk-free space to practice value creation. I failed at 5 business during college and grad school. Instead of seeing yourself as buying an education, see it as buying two or four years of time to educate yourself and demonstrate you can create value through on-campus leadership, entrepreneurship, event execution, and internships. Even if you don’t want to be an entrepreneur, you need to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit.

Everyone expects to have a job, but few are creating them.

The last time I was speaking I asked everyone who intended to have a job to stand up and of course everyone stood up. Next, I said sit down if you’ve never created $1,000 of income in a year through any form of work and about 30% of the room sat down. And finally I said sit down if you’ve never created $1,000 of income on your own outside of a company before. Only a handful of people remained standing. This is the problem with our economy—everyone wants a job, but nobody is trying to create them. There is an imbalance between entrepreneurial-minded people and employee-minded people. Companies need both, but the entrepreneurial-minded person will always get hired first and the employee-minded person will always get fired first.

Value is that which causes a transaction.

True value forces whoever is being offered the value to make a choice. It causes the exchange or movement of time, money, and other forms of capital. Most people are indifferent and happy with who they are and where they are even though they may say they aren’t. Value makes them admit that they want to be somewhere else, somewhere better, and then helps them actually get there. In my book, The 8 Cylinders of Success, I define this ability to close space between point A and point B for someone else as your professional velocity. The higher your professional velocity is, the faster you will get hired. You communicate this on your resume through using point A to point B bullet points.

Unemployment is caused by bad resumes, not a bad economy.

Unemployment is not a sign of the lack of jobs in the economy. Unemployment is a sign of a lack of people who have and can demonstrate that they have created value for others in the past. That’s why 50% of workers are underemployed, meaning that that they have jobs, but they aren’t using their passion, they aren’t reaching their full potential, and they aren’t making their highest contribution to the world every day. Whereas the national unemployment rate is only 10%, underemployment is five times that. This cycle starts with your resume.

So many people drive to work, leave half themselves in the passenger seat, and drag the other half of themselves inside the office. Note that underemployment has nothing to do with one’s salary—You can be making $200,000 a year and still be underemployed. Economies fail when too many people are underemployed. Employees get mad when companies cut dead-weight and employers get mad when they realize that they hired dead weight. Are you dead weight or are you helping your company soar? It’s hard for dead weight to move, so it simply holds on as long as it can.

It is what it is.

At the end of the day, a resume 1.0 won’t get you a job and a resume 2.0 might land you an interview. A resume is exactly what it means…without the accent (‘) over the e. It’s a document that employers use to answer the question “Will this person be able to resume (pronounced re-zoom) their past success here?” But if you haven’t been creating value where you are right now—even if you hate it—it’s going to be difficult to communicate your value to another potential employer. If you hate your job, remember that you chose it by way of your past choices and actions which ultimately shaped your future choices. So seek to create value wherever you are because it will only position you to do things that you truly value in the near future.

I’ll leave you with the quote that inspired this blog entry. It came from Jeremih’s “I’mma Star”—an unexpected place.

“So here I am, check my DNA
Gettin’ money is the only thing on my resume
I thought I told you I’ma star”

Are you a star? Is creating value in your DNA? And is gettin’ money evident on your resume?


Business Language List

Financial: Measures the economic impact of actions on growth, profitability and risk from shareholder’s perspective (net income, ROI, ROA, cash flow).

Customer: Measures the ability of an organization to provide quality goods and services that meet customer expectations (customer retention, profitability, satisfaction and loyalty).

Internal Business Processes: Measures the internal business processes that create customer and shareholder satisfaction (project management, total quality management, Six Sigma).

Learning and Growth: Measures the organizational environment that fosters change, innovation, information sharing and growth (staff morale, training, knowledge sharing).

Productivity: Measures employee output (units/ transactions/dollars), the uptime levels and how employees use their time (sales-to-assets ratio, dollar revenue from new customers, sales pipeline).

Quality: Measures the ability to meet and/or exceed the requirements and expectations of the customer (customer complaints, percent returns, DPMO — defects per million opportunities).

Profitability: Measures the overall effectiveness of the management organization in generating profits (profit contribution by segment/customer, margin spreads).

Timeliness: Measures the point in time (day/week/ month) when management and employee tasks are completed (on-time delivery, percent of late orders).

Process Efficiency: Measures how effectively the management organization incorporates quality control, Six Sigma and best practices to streamline operational processes (yield percentage, process uptime, capacity utilization).

Cycle Time: Measures the duration of time (hours/days/months) required by employees to complete tasks (processing time, time to service customer).

Resource Utilization: Measures how effectively the management organization leverages existing business resources such as assets, bricks and mortar, investments (sales per total assets, sales per channel, win rate).

Cost Savings: Measures how successfully the management organization achieves economies of scale and scope of work with its people, staff and practices to control operational and overhead costs (cost per unit, inventory turns, cost of goods).

Growth: Measures the ability of the management organization to maintain competitive economic position in the growth of the economy and industry (market share, customer acquisition/retention, account penetration).

Innovation: Measures the capability of the organization to develop new products, processes and services to penetrate new markets and customer segments (new patents, new product rollouts, R&D spend).

Technology: Measures how effectively the IT organization develops, implements and maintains information management infrastructure and applications (IT capital spending, CRM technologies implemented, Web-enabled access).

MBA Language List: The Hedgehog Concept, Porter’s 5 Forces, The Marketing Mix (The 5 Ps of Marketing) Competitive Advantage, First Mover Advantage, Marginal Cost, Marginal Revenue, Break Even Point, Early Adopters, Organizational Behavior, Monopoly, Business Model, Freemeum, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Bottleneck, IPO (Initial Public Offering), Intellectual Property, Net Present Value, Market Segment, Target Market, Market Share, Opportunity Cost, Group Think, P/E Ratio, Bundling, Return on Investment, Value Chain, Value Creation, Mezzanine Financing, Venture Capital, Social Proof