Yu-kai Chou’s Guide to Resume Optimization

A resume is essential in getting a great job, but has been neglected by many. Your resume is the piece of document that creates a chance for recruiters to consider you as an employee. It doesn’t matter how amazing you are at interviewing or how brilliant you are for the job, without a good resume, you have nothing. I have reviewed and edited over a thousand resumes, and most resumes are nowhere near their full capacities. In fact, most resumes that I have seen are only about 10-15% of their actual capacity. People fail to recognize that resume building is a craft. A resume is a one?page representation that lets the company know that, given your GPA and experiences, can you:

1. Create unique value for the company
2. Fit within the company culture

Take your resume seriously

A resume is like a brochure for yourself. Companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and months of expert work to finalize on a brochure that can represent the company. The average student only spends a couple hours piecing vague descriptions together without considering what effects it will have on their recruiting process. Your one page resume is extremely valuable real estate, and everything you put on it must have a purpose. If a sentence does not create value in the recruiter’s mind, you should take it out; if a word does not create value, you should take it out. With a well-optimized resume, you would be able to get interviews even with a less than competitive GPA.

Few seconds to establish a connection

One thing to note is that most recruiters only spend around 10?25 seconds on each resume. Therefore, your resume must not only have good information, it must “feel” impressive. Within those few seconds, you need to already have made a connection with the recruiter. Having a high GPA is obviously the fastest way to do that, but I have seen resumes with extremely high GPAs get rejected simply because it was not put together in a way that makes the applicant seem valuable.

Build a holistic image of yourself

Recruiters are trying to figure out if you are a good person to be on their team. As a result, your resume must reflect you as a person, not just a brain. You must show that you are a well rounded, qualified individual as an employee, coworker, potential leader, and someone to hang out with. A very important concept to pay attention to is Diminishing Marginal Image, which means that if seven lines on your resume say you are good finance person, the eighth line that says you are a good finance person would mean little in the mind of the recruiter. Instead, say that you are a team player, an organized person, or did something creative, even though your next experience might still be dealing with finance.

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Networking: Finding the Common Interest

Networking and building relationships with people is one of the most essential things one needs to do to become successful. When you want to contact someone and meet up(newly met professional or old friend), you want to find a common interest to make the meeting pleasant and enjoyable for both. Maybe you both like golf. Maybe you would both like to visit a museum. But what if you don’t know what that person likes? In that case, there is a pretty universal common interest: food. Statistics show that most people deal with some sort of food one time or another in their lives. It also happens that most people like food. So it’s pretty safe to invite this person to a good food place when you don’t know enough about him/her. If the food is good, timing is possible, and maybe you’ll be treating them (and it’s worth it), most people wouldn’t mind getting some food and talking to you.
When you are talking to a new professional, make sure you don’t put too much focus on his or her professional information and forget about the personal things in his/her life. It doesn’t matter if they’re highly successful people, they’re still people, and until you show that you care about them as real people instead of their titles, you will have a hard time building a true relationship.

In regards to conversations, if you know the person likes something that you don’t, do not lie and
pretend you like it. You’ll lose any sense of credibility very soon. You could reveal that you do not know much about that topic but is interested to learn about it. That’s a good way to have a good conversation on something without needing much knowledge to it. Most people like explaining and teaching things they are passionate about, as long as you can keep yourself from drooling. However, besides having an open mind to learn, being genuinely concerned about the other person often helps in being more interested towards subjects that he/she is passionate about.
If you know what makes people smile, your day will turn out much better.