3 rules for writing
all you college kids! It's time to get off your butts and start applying for jobs.
Do not delude yourself into thinking you can wait until
May. Spring is the time to be buying clothes for the job you already have. Top
internships, management training programs, entry-level investment banking positions
and the other good jobs get filled early. After all, employers are not stupid.
So what are you going to do between now and June that will
enhance your workplace value? For 99 percent of you, the answer is nothing. That's
why the juiciest companies beat the rush and hire the best candidates before anyone
else can get to them.
Based on my experience,
I'd say a good rule of thumb is that you'll get one interview for every 50 resumes
you send. That's if you're great. If you're not great, double that resume number.
And God help you if you do not have a decent resume. Even if you're
great, with a lame resume your greatness will not show.
are the three most important rules to ensure your resume measures up:
page. That's it. I don't care if you are the smartest person on earth or
if you have founded six companies and sold each of them for a million dollars.
Think of it this way. A resume gets only about 10 seconds to impress whoever's
looking at it. So every line must say you are amazing because you don't know where
the person's eye will go first (though you can be sure the person won't read every
People with resumes that exceed one page say, "I
couldn't get it down to a page." But here's what a two-page resume says about
you: "No ability to see the big picture." You are so mired in the details
of your career that you don't know how to summarize it. This does not bode well
for future career success. Cut your resume to one page.
line must quantify success. A resume is not about what you did.
A resume is about what you accomplished. Don't say: "Managed two people and
created a tracking system for marketing." Say: "Managed the team that
built a tracking system to decrease marketing costs 10 percent." Most college
graduates can do what employers tells them to. Not everyone will do it well. Show
that you're a person who does things well.
Think of it as
the difference between writing, "I went to my classes and took tests"
vs. "I have a 3.5 GPA."
I know what you're going
to say next: "I can't quantify my success. I didn't have those kind of jobs."
You are wrong. Everyone has successes they can quantify.
say you had a baby-sitting job, which I hope not very many of you will have to
put on your resume. But for the sake of argument, let's say you took care of two
kids. You could write: "Managed household in parents' absence and helped
kids to raise their grades one letter." Stupid, yes, but you need to make
even stupid jobs sound marginally stupid.
paragraphs. I shouldn't have to list this last rule because no one should
still be using paragraphs on their resumes. But recent grads do it all the time.
In fact, the woman who edits my Web site, and who is definitely very smart, showed
me her resume and I nearly died: all paragraphs.
hiring manager reads paragraphs. With a stack of 500 resumes in front of her,
she's scanning -- looking for something that stands out enough to warrant an interview.
Nothing stands out in a paragraph. So by using them, you take yourself out of
the running unless the hiring manager is your dad's best friend and he has to
read your entire resume.
If you already know
these rules, good for you. Now start sending out resumes. Think of each one you
send as a lottery ticket. The more you have, the luckier you'll feel.