So, I hate resumes. I’m developing the website Resumoid to drive them into obsolescence, but in the mean time, I’m experimenting with different approaches to resume generation, to make them more interesting, more engaging, and most of all, more helpful.
I think of a resume as a brief ad for yourself, the kind you might find on the back of a book. So what do those back-cover ads consist of? Acclaim from critics and authors, and a brief synopsis of the plot, style, and author. Let’s map this onto a resume:
Title: Your name, and probably some contact info like a phone number, email, and website.
Critical Acclaim: You know those LinkedIn recommendations (some) people are clamoring for? Take the juiciest bits from any you’ve got and put them at the top of your resume. Just like the back-cover ad, this says, “Real people take me seriously!” and establishes your ethos.
Plot: Briefly describe where you’ve been, where you are, and where you want to go — but do it passionately! What are you going to change, or uphold, or enrich, or advance? Let the reader know you aren’t taking this job for the money, but because it’s part of your mission in life.
Style: How do you do things? Describe your accomplishments, and what sort of impact an employer can expect you to have. Don’t worry about listing where you’ve been, for how long, with who, etc. Focus on what you’ve done. Rather than, “Sales Guy at ThingTechCorp from blahbruary 20xx to derptober 20yy”, try “Generated bajillions of dollars in ThingTech equipment sales through face-to-face client connections”. This allows you to talk about things you’ve done both on and off jobs. Anywhere you had a real impact, write about it.
Author: Who are you? Take this moment to add an especially personal touch. The reader knows your skills, your style, your intentions, but what are you like in person? Do you enjoy discussing economic theory like a boss? Do you fill your code with amusing, friendly comments? Do you wear pirate hats with uncommon frequency? Let this section shine with your day-to-day self. Take a stroll down to your local bookstore and peruse the back-cover ads to see how publishers talk about their authors. Occasionally, if you’re lucky, those bits are penned by the authors themselves. They’re generally short, sweet, and amusing — the perfect note to leave a reader on.
These are some of the things I’m trying with my resume, but what do you do to make your resume stand out?