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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 26 2012: Gisela, Unlike Jamie Barnes below I admire your "spunk". You ask great questions and take suggestions and constructive critism well. As an instructor I put my students in the following situation. You are in a elevator and the person next to you asks what you do. You have approximatey thirty seconds to sell me on you, your product, and your company. You represent American wedgits. Go. The same should be true in resumes. If I cannot sell ME in one short paragraph then why should I be allowed to the second step of the hiring pocess. HR people in large firms have only about one minute to give to the initial selection process while sorting through hundreds of applications. At least some of the problem must go to the applicant. Do they understand the company, the product, the long range goals, salary ranges, and what they can bring to the table. I combine these concerns with the job ad and try to answer in a manner that makes me a fit.

    How about this. The resume should be a two step process. 1) A 10 line (max) paragraph stating what you can do for me; to be followed upon request by 2) A full resume of achievements that are pertinent to the position.
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      Jan 26 2012: Thanks, Robert!

      I think it still misses a critical factor which is personality. Most of the ones I received have something akin to your first step in the cover letter.

      I almost feel like I would prefer people send me their Myer's-Brigg type, Enneagram, StrengthsFinder profile or some such.

      These are things where it is not about right or wrong, it's about fit. For example, you can well imagine that I don't do well with SFs (sensey-feely types like Mr. Barnes below). I hate walking on eggshells around them because they are likely to burst into tears or some other annoying emotional display at any given moment based on something I've said that has NOTHING to do with them.

      While they may be brilliant in another environment, for me, they're draining to be around. NFs I can deal with. They make great interfacers between me and the outside world.

      I'd like to get a feel for their sense of humour as well. Are they too likely to pick up my neuroses, or are they independent-willed? Are they going to get hurt when their ideas get rejected or are they going to toss out a new one?

      Do they need me to couch criticism between two bits of praise, or do they think of it as the "shit sandwich" as I have heard the technique called.

      These are all factors in getting the right person for the job.
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      Jan 26 2012: FYI Robert, the stance I take is not based upon Gisela's optimism and strong personality (I admire that).

      It's from seeing (here and other topics) her unwillingness to accept other peoples ideas and press on with dominating replies....There is a difference. Gisela, you may think I'm opposed to the majority of your words.

      Truth is I'm not.

      I admire alot of your thoughts...and I dont let the parts of you I disagree with obstruct that because I accept youre not perfect.

      I just dont like when you take 5% of a person and conclude who they are..as shown again by your wilingness to define me in summation as..

      " likely to burst into tears or some other annoying emotional display at any given moment based on something I've said that has NOTHING to do with them"

      You may be intelligent, educated and even successful. But dont for a second think that in this world all that cant be overshadowed by a lack of humility.
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        Jan 26 2012: I'm not really sure what leads to this compulsion to "fix" me, but you are by far not the only person to have experienced it. As you can see, I am still "unfixed". I refer to it as Ma'at Syndrome, the need to restore justice/balance.

        Oh, I get that there is my tone "triggers stuff" in certain others, and I'm sure that if I were a really nice person, I would try to not "trigger" other people's "issues," but I can't live my live through other people's eyes. Or I suppose I could, but that would put the onus for what is going on in other people's heads on me.

        Or at least create the illusion that I was in control of what is happening in other people's heads -- usually based on some past experience that has nothing to do with me.

        The reality is that other people are going to do what other people are going to do, and only thing I can change is my response to them.

        So you can follow me from thread to thread nipping at my heels like a chihuahua, and being about as effective, though I am sure you will gather a cadre of "she was mean to me" followers, but the reality is I am just going to ignore you and continue on as I am.

        Your choice. Your time to waste. Your issue to address.

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