Why I spent 100+ hours tweaking my resume like a weirdo
Take 5 seconds to think about your dream job…the company you’d give anything to work at.
Now imagine the CEO agreed to look at your resume.
There’s just one catch: You only get 10 seconds of his time.
Now, be completely honest with yourself: Would your resume stand out? Would it be memorable? Would your resume get you the job of your dreams?
Hi, my name is Ramit Sethi. I wrote the New York Times bestseller I Will Teach You To Be Rich, and a few years ago, while I was a student at Stanford, I decided to crack the code behind crafting a world-class resume.
I spent 100+ hours writing and tweaking it (not a typo…I was a huge nerd). I applied to all kinds of companies — tech powerhouses like Google and Intuit, management consulting firms like BCG and Bain, and huge financial companies…
…and I got rejected over and over.
We all know the feeling of sending our resumes to a company…excited to tell them why we’re perfect for the job…then waiting, and waiting…and never hearing back. Then doing it over, and over, and over. Wondering if they even got the resume. Waking up early and clicking “refresh” in our inbox…then sighing.
Ugh. This happened to me more times than I can count.
That’s when I went full nutso. Like I told you, I’m not so good at getting ignored. So I read every resume book I could get my hands on. I consulted the experts. I fine-tuned my resume and cover letter for hours and hours.
And then something changed. I got a job offer. Then another. And another.
I actually ended up juggling so many offers that I had to (politely) remind companies that if they were going to make me an offer, it had to be soon…because the other companies wanted an answer.
A world-class resume can open up a lot of doors.
What hiring managers won’t tell you…
Today, I want to share with you exactly how I turned my initial, terrible resume into an interview magnet. But first, I’ve been on both sides of the hiring table — as a candidate and as a hiring manager.
And here’s something most hiring managers won’t tell you:
You get 10 seconds.
All your work…all your skills…all your talents and personality…all your years of effort…they all earn you 10 seconds of a hiring manager’s time when they look at your resume.
For most of us, our cover letter and resume are the first and only things about us a hiring manager sees. You might be amazing, but these two pieces of paper represent EVERYTHING a company knows about you. If they’re not amazing, too…forget about it.
Like it or not, that’s a LOT of pressure riding on a single piece of paper.
For most of us, our resume is
our one shot at a dream job!
It makes sense why we get so nervous writing our resumes!
That’s why we edit them over and over until they don’t even sound like us! (Be honest: Is your resume full of horrible “corporate-speak”? Mine was the first time I wrote it.)
That’s why we get frantic when we don’t get a response from the first resume we submit.
But what can we do about it?
I’ll tell you what most people do. They send out another resume. Then another one. Soon, we’ve sent our resume to 25 companies…and we haven’t even gotten a response! I call this the “Black Hole of Doom.” What could be more depressing?
Pretty soon, we start doubting ourselves.
- “What do I have to show for the last 3 years of work?”
- “Do I have enough experience to even be considered for this job?”
- “Why would I stand out?”
I have some bad news. One of our biggest worries — that your resume looks like EVERY OTHER resume out there — is real. After all, if yours was impressive enough, wouldn’t it be opening doors already?
This is where some people finally just give in. “Ugh, I’ll just take what I have and send it in,” we say. “It is what it is.”
It feels like the game is stacked against us. The companies have all the power — they don’t even reply! — and they can choose who lands the dream jobs…or any job…and who has to wake up to yet another day of the same grind.
How are we supposed to create resumes and cover letters that can open the door to dream jobs when no one teaches us how to do it? Google “resume tips” and you get a never-ending list of worthless reminders like “don’t forget to spell-check” or “grab their attention.”
Isn’t there a better way?
The “resume secrets” I learned
in the halls of Stanford
When I was learning how to write my resume, I made every mistake you can make. I wasted time worrying about font size. I fiddled with the margins. I actually obsessed over the type of PAPER. I wish I had a time machine so I could go back and kick myself in the face.
But all of my mistakes taught me that most of the “expert advice” about resumes is misleading. That’s my nice way of saying HORRIBLE. Actually, it drives me crazy! Half of these experts have never gotten a top-tier job…so how can they tell you what works and what doesn’t?
They don’t even know how the game is played!
I want to teach you the hard-won resume lessons I learned in the halls of Stanford, where I was surrounded by students who applied to the world’s top companies (and usually got job offers). I had a small group of friends who shared and perfected the best techniques and tips…but we never shared them outside our small circle. Until now.
How are those lessons different than the normal resume advice you’re used to?