Update Your Résumé to Highlight Your Awesomeness

This guy passes out junk flyers in front of the most famous restaurant in Mexico City, after which the best Mexican rock band is named. He does it in an iconic Starter jacket, but he doesn’t know who the Lakers are. What should his job title be?

Study Skills Series: The first Monday of every month, we give timely, practical, and original study skills advice. Timely means it’s especially useful during that month of the school year. Practical means it’s easy to act on. Original means we wrote it ourselves and you can only get it here.

Early summer is a great time to update your résumé with this year’s projects, your summer job, or the new school or program you’ll start next year. Do it now: after you’ve had time to reflect on your accomplishments, but before you get sucked into summer or become too busy in fall.

Add your most recent positions, responsibilities, or projects, and save it under the name Basic Résumé Blah Blah Blah. Then save a second version, but name it Awesome Résumé Woo Woo Woo Let’s Go!!!

The basic version is fine. Good job (pun intended). But you’re gonna design the awesome version to get you an interview for an awesome position, at which point you’ll wow the interview committee by being so awesome that they have to hire you. Awesome.

Assume they’ll look at it for six seconds. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, done. Which three things do you want them to remember about you when they compare you to the 100 other candidates for this awesome gig?

Creative, international, entrepreneur? Athletic, science, leader? Curious, empathetic, academic? Or, September, _Assistant 3, apartment B?

Your three-word message matters. The month you started, your inscrutably jargon-laden official job title, and your address do not matter. Decide on a message, and beat it into the interview committee by highlighting it throughout your résumé. The résumé is merely a vehicle for your message, and it’s your message they want, not your major. Nobody cares about your major.

Structure your entries like this:

Title that Describes My Position and Duties, Company or Organization, Years I Was Awesome

  • Present-tense verb chosen from the target awesome job description followed by relevant details that highlight your message
  • If necessary because you won an award or it was your most recent job, another target present-tense verb with details

And structure your document like this:

Name at the top, as huge as will reasonably fit on one line.

Phone number and email underneath so that they are bigger than your body text but fit nicely underneath your name.

Most impressive thing about you (hopefully the most recent thing) as the top entry in the top section of the body of your résumé.

Education at the bottom, and other sections in order so that when you read the three or four headings they highlight your message.

Boom. Let’s get this bread!

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