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Gisela McKay

President and Co-Founder, pixcode


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Reinventing the resume

So today's task that has resulted in procrastinating on TED has been reading resumes.

I'm not sure whose bad idea the standard resume/cover letter format was but I'd like to slap that person.

Resumes don't tell potential employers what they need to know about you, which isn't just what you have learned and done in the past. I need to know why you did what you did and how well you did it. I need to know about your personality and whether you are a self-starter, whether you generate new ideas, whether you are going to be happy in the position I am filling and get along with the rest of the team. Can you work productively from home? etc.

What can we do to re-think the resume?


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    Jan 23 2012: I've found that I can really work with the format of resume/cover letter, cover letter being an introduction to myself as a person and resume being a timeline of activities relevant to the position I'm applying for, and make it personal and unique, and really tell what makes me who I am.

    The cover letter can be a nice balanced between the shameless self-promotion, and the story about why I am applying to the particular job. I personally only apply for jobs that I feel I will be happy in, and usually there is a little story as to what brought me in my life to the point where I am looking for a job like the one I'm applying for.

    In the resume section, I write the necessary information like what and when, and then I write a short paragraph on how the job propelled my working experience forward, either by presenting me with challenging situations, or teaching me new methods of doing something, or just generally familiarizing me with a line of work, or new work ethic.

    I've had a lot of good luck with resumes this way. The personal touch really makes a difference. As to your question of how we can change the orthodox resume: The way to change how these are written is to write them differently! Be the change. Simply. Honestly. Strongly. Gracefully.
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      Jan 23 2012: I agree that the "story" of the person is much more important than just the chronological listing of experiences. Make no mistake, those are vital as well, but when you are hoping to get someone who genuinely fits into a workplace, you need a feel for the person.

      I sincerely wish we lived in a world where people only applied for jobs they felt they were a match, but when you get 300 resumes in one day for a single job posting, you know that isn't the case. :/

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