Imagine your dog ate your homework… er, resume.
He left only the top third of the first page intact.
A hiring manager at your ideal company should be able to happen upon that third of a page in the street and decide to call you in for an interview.
The top third of the resume is called the marquee. That’s where a decision-maker chooses whether they will read further and/or call you for an interview.
W2H is the formula that infuses your marquee with interview magnetism.
Make sure you get to the point:
Who are you? Literally, what is your name and how can you be reached? Also, what role are you going for? What kind of person are you? The latter will be subtle here, but as you see in the examples below it can be hinted at with the visual style and language you choose.
Who do you help? If you are looking for a job, the “who” will usually be an “it,” the company. What kind? What industry? What size? If you are in a support role, your “who” could be people, but you’ll want to tie it back to how that help adds to the bottom line.
How do you help them? The “how” should include the exact tools you use (like continuous improvement methodology or digital media) as well as your approach with them (empowering teams, presenting technical concepts in understandable business language).
Feel free to comment here or contact me privately if you have questions.
If, like my clients, you don’t want to become a resume expert just to find a job, peruse my services page. If it looks like we might be a fit, let’s talk!
Follow your bliss,
Kim Mohiuddin, NCRW, CJSS
Career Communications That Lift You Up!
Chief Career Storyteller, Movin’ On Up Resumes
Speaker and Consultant on Careers and Writing
Operations and supply chain executives tend to be obsessed with numbers. That is a resume writer’s dream! But if those numbers aren’t put into context, they won’t have much meaning.
Logistics and supply chain executives, what are your most pressing resume and career questions? Post in comments or connect with me via the contact page. I’ll answer!
Meanwhile, take a look at the samples below.
If you need further confirmation of the power of story to move decision-makers to action, or just want to see story beautifully wielded as a marketing tool, check out the video below by Michelle Phan. In it, she uses Joan of Arc’s divinely inspired mission to imbue rings and bracelets with deep meaning. Note how she speaks directly to the viewer, putting them in the same category as the legendary saint:
“I guess, in a way, I should thank Joan of Arc and all of you for inspiring me to believe in myself.”
It might not sound like the most eloquent statement taken out of context, but in the video the sentiment is heartfelt, real, and engaging.
Also note, instead of directly asking the viewer to buy, she implores, “Never give up on your dreams.”
The connection is made. Buying Phan’s accessories = your commitment to and inspiration for fulfilling your destiny.
As her offerings are not “just” accessories, so are professionals’ wares much more than technology strategy, operations leadership, or marketing campaigns.
When you prepare your career communications, think about the story, symbol, and/or concept you could use to convey the real meaning of what you do. For example:
A marketing executive does not just manage campaigns, she spreads your company’s most important message to the world.
An operations leader does not just make sure all the cogs are working, he delights your customers and stops the hemorrhaging of your bottom line.
Here’s one of my favorites from a real client, and most relevant to the Joan of Arc example:
A construction manager does not just build buildings, he is the MacGyver of construction, using uber-creative thinking to get the job done, no matter what.
Again, the connection is made.
Hiring you = spreading their important message, having delighted customers, knowing they’ll be the one construction company in the world to get projects completed on-time and on-budget.
There is a reason Michelle Phan has the #1 female channel on YouTube, coverage on platforms like Vogue and The New York Times, and a contract with Lancome. Where would your career be if you could use story like this?
Need help crafting a compelling, story-based message to land your dream job or take your executive career to the next level? Let’s Talk.
Why You Need a Story-Based Resume: Famous Concert Violinist Joshua Bell Proves Excellence is Not Enough
The Washington Post did an experiment. The day after Joshua Bell, the famous violinist, and his 300-year-old Stradivarius had sold out Carnegie Hall, they put them in a DC subway. Bell dressed as a street performer. The violin allowed itself to get a bit dusty (just kidding).
The point is that very few people (just a handful out of the hundreds who passed him) even stopped to listen.
It is not enough to be the best. You have to train people to understand your genius.
When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone, he spent a great deal of time marveling at it out loud, comparing it to its lousy competitors. By the time he turned it on, people were primed to be amazed. The crowd let out an audible gasp. Had he just walked out and turned on the phone, it would have been difficult for the audience to immediately grasp its significance.
If your resume doesn’t tell a story, it is not helping you manage your career or find the perfect job.
To see what a story-based resume looks like, take a look at our samples.
To get help, contact us.
To see what the heck I’m talking about, watch below:
Follow your bliss!
Kim Mohiuddin, Chief Career Storyteller
Here is a similar case of unrecognized genius:
As chief career storyteller here at Movin’ On Up Resumes, I was captivated recently when I watched a talk from presentation guru Nancy Duarte. She compares the presentation styles of Jobs and King, and I couldn’t help but notice that there were rich lessons there for the job seeker who is committed to advancing his or her career by sharing their ideas.
Duarte spent two years deeply studying the elements of story and presentation, delving into Joseph Campbell, George Lucas, Aristotle, and others.
In the TedxEast talk, she starts by telling us that we can change the world by sharing our ideas. “Maybe you’ve had an idea, but it was rejected” she says, “and maybe some other mediocre idea was adopted, and the only difference between those two was in the way it was communicated.”
What is the job seeker or careerist’s “idea” in this context?
- THE SUB-IDEA: Any idea that can make money, save money, improve quality, or strengthen company culture
- THE BIG IDEA: That hiring or promoting the candidate will change the company for the better, presumably because of his or her knack for coming up with great ideas and winning support for them.
The presenter isn’t the hero. The audience is.
When Nancy examined the concept of the hero, especially as put forth in Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey she realized that the presenter is not the hero.
The hero is the audience (in the job seeker’s case, the people making the hiring decision) and the presenter (job seeker) is the mentor or Yoda.
The company has a desire, i.e. to enter a new market, improve profitability, or become a better corporate citizen. Your job is to help the company overcome roadblocks and emerge transformed.
To be hired, you must demonstrate how you can transport a potential employer from an ordinary world to an extraordinary world.
Nancy has actually discovered a shape that represents how Jobs and King—along with Martha Graham, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, Leonard Bernstein, and Richard Feynman—connected with their audiences, evoking emotion and action.
In the beginning, the presenter shows the world as it is.
My note: this is similar to a sales presentation in which you start with the “pain,” the urgent problem that must be solved, the one that keeps the audience up at night.
The lows and highs of this shape represent reiterations of “the world as it is,” and “the world as it could be.” It’s worth watching the video to get a sense of the nuances, but that’s the idea.
Leave your audience with a call to action and an inspirational vision.
Finally, these great presenters give a call to action (what is the next step that the audience can take now that they have adopted this idea). In King’s I Have a Dream speech, the call to action is:
“With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.”
But taking action is hard. The last thing a presentation must do is deliver a visceral image of the ideal, one that the audience can hold onto, one that will push, pull, and inspire them to action. King’s utopic ending:
“And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:
Free at last! Free at last!
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
It gives you chills, doesn’t it?
So, how do I actually do this in a resume or at a job interview?
Take a look at this resume.
Right off the bat, it creates a picture of the world as it is versus the world that could be with the intro/tag line:
This fragmented marketplace presents producers with unchartered challenges in reaching their consumers.
I see solutions, and am able to connect the dots to form consumer-driven ideas that evoke emotion and build loyalty.
The opening profile goes on to ask some pointed questions:
Does your brand strategy consider the consumer’s path to purchase?
Does your brand strategist deliver best-in-class concept and design?
Are your brand deliverables aspirational and actionable?
The answer, “what could be,” is demonstrated by a visual image of a brand strategy with consumers at its heart.
Just like Duarte’s graph, the resume continues comparing what is to what could be for the reader by giving concrete examples of problems faced by her employer and how the solution (having Elizabeth London as an employee) helped the “hero” (read “company”) overcome roadblocks and emerge transformed.
In the slide show below, we see a similar pattern. “What is,” and “what could be” are contrasted on the first page.
The case studies that follow go back-and-forth, contrasting the situation before and after implementation of Saul’s ideas.
In the interview: Research the company so you know their pain points. Match those pain points to stories that demonstrate how you are uniquely prepared to overcome them. Write them down in CAR format (challenge, action, result) and practice them.
Always remembering that the company is the hero of the story. Find a way to connect the dots, explaining how each story is relevant for the company you’re interviewing with.
But what about leaving the hiring team with a call to action and a final, inspirational vision?
This is a bit of a puzzle on a resume, isn’t it? I’ve always used the cover letter for that, but after thinking about Duarte’s ideas (and considering that only about two thirds of cover letters are read), I believe I should work on doing this in the actual resume document. I’ll have to play with it. If you have any ideas, feel free to share them below in the comments.
Who are you to compare your job search to the ideas of Martin Luther King or Steve Jobs?
When I started writing my post, I felt a bit humbled. After all, I’m “just” talking about resumes and job search here, not about social or technological revolution.
I quoted Dr. King on a resume I once wrote for a maintenance supervisor, and that quote came back to me and prompted me to share these thoughts with you. The quote is:
If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.
Whatever your calling, it is worthy of attention. It is worthy of the best possible presentation, so that your ideas, whether about social justice or effective building maintenance, can be heard… can change the world!
I’m a longtime Firefox user, but it’s been crashing on me lately for some reason. The last time it froze on me, I aimed my mouse towards my trusty backup, Chrome. But I must have zigged when I meant to zag because next thing I knew Safari was opening up. I’ve got a PC and never even knew Safari (Apple’s browser) was installed.
“Wow!” was my first impression. It was so sleek and sexy. Then the page that was freezing on Firefox loaded quickly. I found the interface for bookmarking and saving files to be intuitive. I am now a Safari user.
What does this have to do with your resume? Your resume will yield interviews if it:
- Gets in front of the right market: Safari somehow worked its way onto my desktop or I never would have tried it.
- Looks beautiful: That “wow” feeling captures interest like nothing else. That doesn’t mean you should jump the shark and have a blinking lights and rainbows on your resume. But it should follow solid design principles that were thought out according to your career marketing strategy. Take a look at some samples to see what I mean.
- Follows through with relevant content: If I had tried Safari because of its sleek look but found it didn’t suit my needs, I would have abandoned it. Make sure your resume is targeted to a specific position, industry, and type of company and that it speaks to why you are a uniquely qualified match.
I listen to much more music than I used to before I got my iPod. It’s so sleek, sexy, and easy to use. I don’t use the iPhone because I don’t need a smartphone, no matter how sexy. But for some lucky consumer, an iPhone is just what they need, and Apple will be sure to find that person by getting in front of them, being beautiful, and providing the functions they need.
I guess you could say that an Apple a day boosts your resume!
Need help? Contact us!
Follow your bliss,
Kim Mohiuddin, NCRW, CJSS
Chief Career Storyteller, Movin’ On Up Resumes