Below are the typical areas of a resume and my priceless secrets for dealing with them. These tips will help crush the competition, get you in the door and put you behind a desk making 50 big ones, plus bonus.
Use the name to your advantage. Spice it up a little bit. Steve Smith goes nowhere fast. But Sir Stephen Smith — now that might turn a few heads. Nicknames also help. Mark “Keyboards” O’Malley is good. Mark “Kegsucker” O’Malley is bad.
Forget your real address. Make a statement instead! Saying you’re from the Bronx suggests you’re tough as nails. Anyplace in Japan implies you believe in an 18-hour-a-day work ethic!
THE PHONE NUMBER
Skip it. What are the odds they’ll call — 1,000 to 1. If they do, they’ll probably just catch your roommate somewhere in the middle of his second six-pack. My advice is never put your phone number on a resume unless you want to try some interesting 900 number which might wake up a recruiter or two.
THE AMBITION STATEMENT
Forget the ambition statement. You know what I mean:”Seeking a challenging IS position using state-of-the-art technology in a high-growth, future-oriented corporation that is doing neat things for the environment.” A better idea is to tell them what you’re NOT seeking. “Not seeking a job where I’m paying my dues for eight years, maintaining ancient Cobol code that crashes every other night, slaving for some horrible boss and groveling in the smallest cubicle in the world until I finally claw my way into a lower management position, only to have the company lay off 40% of its work force so that I wind up in some non-critical, low-paying, dead-end, backoffice position.”
Don’t be afraid of Yalies and PH.D.s. Be proud of where you go to school and play it straight. But just to be on the safe side, send an application to some prestigious high-tech program at a prestigious school. Until they respond, you’re not lying if you list under your education credits: “BA in Watersports Administration, Massatucky State, 1993 … and current doctoral candidate, Nuclear Computer Simulation Modeling Fellowship Program, MIT.”
Even fresh out of school, you’ve got to have experience. But don’t mention that you’ve invested in your own relational database or coded an object-oriented commodity trading system…. Everybody’s done that stuff. I’m talking about hands-on experience: high-level management, microchip design, hostile takeovers, etc. So if you’re a little light in the experience area, don’t tell lies. Instead, simply try a bit-more-concise explanation of the experience you do have. For example, if you worked as a cashier at Food Giant, make it, “Monitored and troubleshot retail point-of-sale bar-code inventory scanning system.” “Conducted usability testing for graphical user interface” sounds a lot better than “played too much Nintendo.” But don’t try “Evaluated remote-accessed continuous-availability multimedia environment.” Most employers can pick that one off as watching too much MTV.
“References furnished upon request?” What kind of power-close is that? Let me leave you instead with this recommendation: Close with impact. Close with passion. Close with a line they’ll remember, like “Please, please give me a job. And by the way, I know where you live.”