You read all the news about startups being sold for billions of dollars and you also read about up and coming startups getting rounds upon rounds of investor funding.
Now, you may be curious as to what it’s like to work for a startup. The pictures they post online seem to be so liberating – young people in shorts and flip flops with laptops changing the world.
The following is how I managed to secure a job with a startup even before my official graduation.
1. Learn how to write a stellar resume.
All the “rules” given by career experts that you probably heard of are all true.
A rule such as tailoring the resume to just one company at a time and writing a custom cover letter to go with it.
Being on the end of screening applications – I can tell you that just doing the above rules will make you stand out from the crowd.
A video I would recommend for you learn how to write a resume would be this. I used it and it worked for me.
If you find it challenging to write your resume, you can engage with us at Inforati. Check out our services here.
2. Make sure your job search profile and LinkedIn profile are strategically updated.
With the resume you have crafted, it’s time to upload that into the job portals.
Use the same details you used in your resume to update your job profile and LinkedIn.
Some job portals will provide a PDF version of your profile to employers when you apply for jobs (this happens when you don’t attach a resume of your own in your profile).
This can be a terrible first impression.
Not only are the PDF’s not formatted, the details may also be arranged in a non-strategic fashion.
For example, if your main strength in your resume was the fact that you went to a prestigious school, it would be better if that were highlighted first in your application.
If the “wow” factor you have is that you interned at a prestigious company, but your grades weren’t so good, it’s best to have that internship listed first instead.
So be sure to upload your resume and not rely on the automated PDFs.
3. If you are called for the interview, read up on the subject matter and read carefully on the job description.
I applied for a job in content marketing. I had an idea of what it is about from reading books on Seth Godin but I can’t really explain it well.
So I went on to trusty Google and found out. I read a few guides (spend a few hours on this) and had a better grasp of what it is.
After that, I read the job description.
What I can tell you now looking back is that most job seekers don’t know that the job description was thought out very carefully and strategically by the heads of the department before publishing it.
The point is to take each word seriously. Although they listed 10 things, all 10 things are important. They are not there for filler sake. They are there to communicate to the right candidate that this job is for them.
Go through each of them and try to understand the best that you can.
Prepare questions if you have any, based on these descriptions.
4. When at the interview, use this one thing to differentiate yourself.
Now, you are probably thinking what you have to offer to a thriving startup.
The truth about startups is that they are looking for top tier talent (like everybody else).
But often times, top tier talent is hard to come by and hard to persuade to join the bandwagon unless they have the right incentives in place.
The next best thing they can hope for is a person who may not have the skills but has the drive and the capacity to get there — a do-er that has the right attitude to make the company succeed.
This is the one thing you should use to differentiate yourself from the others who don’t have this insight.
This is where your hours of research from before comes in.
Show them through your actions that you are serious about the job. That you took the time to understand the subject and understand what they were looking for.
I once asked a friend of mine who interviews people and he said the one thing he looks for is the eagerness to learn.
Remember that to be a star player, you need to be 3 things:
A hard worker
Proactive (have initiative)
Smart (creative – able to give Eureka ideas over and over again)
At this stage in your career, show that you have the first two as the last one comes with experience.
At the end of the interview, don’t ever (I mean EVER) say “No” when they ask you if you have any questions.
Fire away and ask as many relevant questions as possible.
Doing all the steps above gives them a great impression of what you can do for them and in return, significantly increase your success rate of getting hired.
*** This post was written by Ben Sim from iPrice group.
A few thoughts on resume writing: KEEP IT SHORT. Unless you have been working for years, ONE PAGE IS ENOUGH.
When your resume hits the desk of a hiring manager with a stack of your competition, you get just 20 seconds’ tops before they move on to the next candidate.
With this mind, what would you do differently?
Would you continue your scramble like everyone else? Asking yourself questions like: “What font should I use?” “What size should it be?” “Which word should I bold and which should be in italics?” “WHAT ABOUT SPACING?”
Like you, I went through the web trying to figure the “magic format” that will have the hiring manager “hooked onto my every word” & immediately call me up for an interview. But… it doesn’t exist.
Don’t get me wrong. Formatting is important, it forms the first overall impression when they look at your resume. BUT… what is even more important are the choice of WORDS to put on your resume.
The right choice of words in the right order will give the reader the right message you are trying to send out and ultimately make them shortlist you and send you an e-mail inviting you for an interview.
One of the most common mistakes people do is writing every single word as clinical as can be (e.g. Performed tasks under deadlines & co-operated with teammates) — which will make your resume so common and boring.
So, how do you write an irresistible resume that attracts interviews like a magnet?
The 3 Tips To Keep in Mind:
Tip #1 – Sell the Truth & Make it Fascinating.
YOUR RESUME IS A MARKETING PIECE.
There are a million ways to list your academics.
You could tell the truth & say: “University of ANON; Bachelor of Arts; GPA 3.50; Second Upper Class Honours”
Or you could say: “University of ANON; Bachelor of Arts; Second Upper Class Honours, Distinction in Arts, History, Psychology & Social Studies.”
There are no rules saying that you have to list your achievements in a particular way. Your resume is your canvas.
But I get asked a lot what to do if your grades are mediocre?
The answer? Simple. Just highlight your strengths and downplay your weaknesses.
For example, you can say: “University of ANON; Bachelor of Arts; Subjects include__(strong & relevant subject title 1, 2, 3) __.”
Psychology research shows that simply including a certain name or label sparks a relative association with that name.
For example, Example A: “I have worked as a driver, call operator & retail assistant.” Example B: “I have worked for Uber, Apple & ZARA.”
Which sentence jumped out at you? Why?
Because the 3 companies have spent millions and billions of dollars on marketing to establish their brand presence & personality.
By putting names like that on your resume, be it a minor role, the reader will subconsciously think of the words associated with that brand.
Words like “innovative, tech, design, professional, international” will come to mind as they read your resume.
Sell the truth (don’t lie) & make it fascinating.
The point is to show them what you have achieved that is relevant and of interest to them. Not everything and anything you have achieved.
Imagine that you are on your first date and your date asked you what you did over the weekend? What would you say?
You would say what makes you desirable. DUH.
You wouldn’t say that you cried yourself to sleep or you picked your nose on the way there.
The same goes to writing your resume. It’s your first date with the company and it’s your opportunity to make yourself shine.
Position yourself in the best light possible.
Tip #2 – Wearing Your Boss’s Shoes.
Your RESUME is the first (and sometimes, the only) thing the company sees of you. Wouldn’t you want to make an impression?
Mind you, the people who work in Human Resource spend literally 8 hours a day, 8am to 5pm, 5 days a week, looking through HUNDREDS and THOUSANDS of people, and you, yes you, just taking the time to understand how they would feel and perceive you when it’s your turn – will make all the difference.
When was the last time you came across a video you shared on Facebook? Do you think the creator of that video just woke up, record it, edit it and posted it online without a thought? NOPE.
In reality, a lot of effort and time was spent to edit that video second-by-second and the title for that post was rewritten at least 10 times before they actually click the “Publish” button.
From the employer’s perspective, they want someone who is not just smart & reliable, but they also want a team player, somebody who is fun to work with.
You seen it before.
Someone with poorer grades than you got hired for a great job. How does this happen?
Because that person knew very well how to socialize besides just having the “skills” for the job.
RULE OF THUMB: Emphasize on RESULTS (remember a lot of people can tell you what they did, but rarely what they achieved). Use numbers where possible.
Picture this, you went against all your friend’s & families wishes for a secure future, and decided to build your own business. It didn’t make money for the first year. You did what you could to pay the bills. Once the business was ready, you jumped in full-time. You can only do so much. You decide to hire someone to manage your operations while you go out and make more deals.
Two people sent their resumes to you: Person A: “Performed daily operations & kept store clean.” Person B: “Streamlined operations resulting in 30% more sales per week.”
Which one would you bet your hard-earned company’s money on?
Another example is: Pitch A: I can help you be more attractive. Pitch B: I can help you get your first date under 5 days.
Pitch B got your attention huh?
Tip #3 – Be a storyteller.
Your resume tells a story to the employer.
Your resume should have a narrative that gives the reader an impression of what you are about in less than 5 seconds.
If you just throw in ALL your achievements from your spelling bee, to your taekwondo, to your interest in pottery, it gives very mixed signals to the reader.
They would go, “This person does everything, therefore they are not good at anything!”
Like the saying “if you love everyone, it means that you love no one in particular.”
In essence, what are the 1 or 2 main words that you want to be associated with?
After the hours of reviewing other applicants, what do you want to be remembered as?
If your resume included pottery, spelling bee, taekwondo, they can’t have a clear memory of what you stand for.
But if your resume included just attending business conferences, did marketing and sales, they will recall you as the business & marketing guy, whichever is more memorable in their heads.
Make your message as memorable as possible.
What are your 2 words?
It is worth noting that your resume is your first impression. And first impressions last.
Considering a man in a navy suit with leather black shoes compared to the same man in an orange suit with cowboy boots, the former will be considered more professional simply because he is perceived as such. His past achievements are the same, it was just the way he appeared that made the difference.
Resume – an advertising and marketing campaign designed to sell one thing — You.
There are many categories in resume types that you need to know. There are Resume Types by Format or Layout (chronological, functional and combination resume), Resume Types by Level (entry-level / recent graduate, professional, mid-career and executive resume), Resume Types by Presentation (printed resume, online resume and video resume) and Resume Types by Design.
If you are thinking of what design to apply to your resume, there are designs that you need to know:
Resume Types by Design
The following are the types of resume in terms of design:
1. Traditional Resume
A traditional resume is detailed and text-heavy. This is the most commonly used resume in any job application. The typefaces used are serif fonts like Times New Roman, Georgia and Bodoni. The traditional resume is best to use if you are applying to an old-school or traditional company. With its classic look and layout, this is best for corporate application like secretarial or office jobs. This may not be the most creative and funkiest type of resume by presentation, but this is the standard resume in traditional companies.
2. Modern Resume
Modern Resume presents detailed enough information to get a sense of the applicant’s history. Use of white space is usually presented to show the potential employer that the applicant knows how to display information in a friendly and easy-to-read format. Modern sans serif (no serif) typeface and subtle colors are usually used to present this type of resume. In terms of layout, this resume is compartmentalized and has minimal content. Modern resume is perfect for corporate and design related jobs.
3. Artistic / Creative Resume
Creative or Artistic resume is the most personalized type of resume and is completely unique in presentation. Applicants usually send this type of resume toward a younger audience or playful startup company looking for fresh graduate or designer.
Its content has full bleed colors and is usually sent through electronic mail. This may contains chart(s) demonstrating the level of proficiency within a particular software, has rounded corner to create a playful or retro look and usually includes social icons. It uses variety of elements to amplify the style that is meant to be achieved and more importantly, it is the best way to let the applicant’s personality show through. Creative or artistic resume is the best in applying for a design company or a company with a strong online presence.
What design to choose
Your resume design must depend on the following factors: your industry, the company and the position you are applying for. Stick to a traditional design if you are applying to an old-school company or if applying to top positions like Director of Management, General Manager etc. Likewise, stick to a traditional resume if your industry requires a CV or curriculum vitae like the education and health care Industry).
On the other hand, if you are applying to a modern company or if you are a startup job seeker, think of designing either a Modern or Artistic resume.
To sum it all up, know what resume type by design suits the position you’re applying and never compromise professionalism when it comes to your resume.
“Now Google I don’t want to pussyfoot around the issue here so let’s just get down to brass tacks. My name is Matthew Epstein and I want to work for you bad,” said Matthew Epstein in his video resume entitled Google Please Hire Me.
Matthew Epstein’s video resume that was uploaded to YouTube and has now more than 1 million views, became one of the most entertaining and most creative video resumes according to LoftResume.
Have you ever thought of creating a video resume? Think about it because resume creation is becoming more and more creative.
Resume Writing Now and Then The trend in creating resumes is continuously changing. Before the release of Microsoft Word in 1983, resumes are just often scribbles on scrap paper during a job interview but now, some applicants just send their electronic resumes to the human resources’ email address. See the changes yet?
To convince you more that resume writing is changing, here are other resume types by presentation that you should know:
Resume Types by Presentation
1. Printed Resume Leonardo Da Vinci was the first person known to write a resume. Da Vinci wrote the document—which is actually more of a cover letter than a resume—when hes 30. His resume focuses on what he can offer for the Duke of Milan in the way of innovative technologies of war.
In 1940s resume transitioned to formality, from scribble on scrap paper during a job interview, to a job search requirement. When word processors came along in the 1970s, resumes became more professional and ‘salesy’, evolving into polished one-sheet profiles printed on high-end paper.
Traditional resume of a CSR applicant.
Printed resumes are generally accepted in job applications so make sure to create one for yourself. It should also be updated from time to time so keep the soft copy or the electronic version.
2. Online and Digital Resume With the help of the internet, your online profiles can strengthen your candidacy for a job. Online resumes may include:
Online portfolio. An electronic portfolio (also known as an e-portfolio, digital portfolio, or online portfolio) is a collection of electronic evidence assembled and managed by a user. Online portfolios are both demonstrations of the user’s skills and qualifications.
Personal website, interactive resume and blog. Your personal website is one of the most effective ways to promote yourself. With a personal website in hand, you can present your previous projects or write blog posts relevant to your industry. If you want to create your personal website, there are many free-hosting sites that you can avail online such as About.me, Flavors.me, Wix.com, and Webs.com. However, if you are serious in building a strong brand, you have to create a personal website using your name as a domain.
Social media profile: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc. If you do not have a LinkedIn profile yet, it is time to create one. According to Dan Schawbel, New York Times best-selling author of Promote Yourself, “Professionals are going to start using LinkedIn’s “Resume Builder” tool to turn their LinkedIn profile into a resume that they can use to submit to jobs.” Don’t be the last one to adapt.
Your online profiles will prove difficult-to-quantify traits like character, drive, creativity and social ability. Staying socially active online is one of the best ways to showcase your unique talents and personality.
Bad online credits can ruin your chance in getting the job. For instance, a Google search can pull up your LinkedIn, Facebook and other online accounts in a few seconds and results can be good or bad depending on your online activities.
The buzz is growing and video resumes are the next ‘cool’ thing to do. – About.com
Take a look at this video resume by Erin Vondrak that she used in her application for a video game company called Valve.
You can be as creative as you wanted to be in your video resume. You can add awesome introduction about yourself, record on different locations, incorporate music or collect testimonials from your previous colleagues, supervisors or employers. You can do anything that is appropriate for the job you are applying for but as you see, your resourcefulness and creativity is the limit.
Creating a video resume is effective if you are applying to a non-traditional media company; however, some employers are turned-off by video resumes because of the following reasons:
Length of the video resume. Some video resumes take 2-3 minutes to finish. According to an article by The Muse, your video resume should not go over 90 seconds.
Demeanor and unprofessionalism. According to human resources expert Susan M. Heathfield, “As an employer, my understanding from other employers, is that the video resumes they (employers) are receiving are fairly unprofessional and may turn them off to a potential candidate.”
Discrimination concerns. Attorney Dennis Brown is advising their employer clients not to accept or view video resumes because of the possibility for charges of discrimination based on age, gender, ethnicity, and disability.
My advice whether you have to create a video resume is this — know your audience. Modern companies will accept video resumes but traditional companies will not. You should also consider the job you are applying for. Video resumes are good for a creative position like marketing but not for extremely formal position like accountant.
“The video resume will never be a replacement for a paper resume, but it has the capabilities to show some intangibles your paper resume can’t—like confidence, professionalism, and presentation skills.” – The Muse
What are our key takeaways here?
You should update your resume as you learn new skills. Needless to say, keep a copy of your electronic resume copy.
Make your online presence as professional as you can. Start hiding negative results from Google and start building your credibility. If you want to attract employers, you have to adapt.
Although video resumes cannot replace printed or electronic resumes (maybe not yet), it is a useful medium in getting the attention of your future employer.
Going back to Matthew Epstein’s video resume, although he (Epstein) did not get a job from Google, he got hired in a start-up company in San Francisco where his imagination and wit are put to good use.
“It’s not fair to compare one artist to another because they all come with their own sort of elements to the picnic, you know.” – Annie Lennox
Life is not fair, it’s a given. Some people were born poor while other people were born rich. But even if this is the case, why does some successful people rooted from humble beginnings? Why does some poor people built better careers than the ones who were born from a rich family?
In her TED Talk, Regina Hartley–the VP of Human Resources at UPS–named the two types of people (applicants) as “The Silver Spoon” and “The Scrapper”.
Regina Hartley’s TED Talk According to her, the Silver Spoon is the one who clearly had advantages and was destined for success while the Scrapper is the applicant who had to fight against tremendous odds to get the qualifications and get to the same point.
In her TED Talk, she strengthened her point that those who don’t always look good on resume may be just the person best to hire.
What’s your key takeaway from her TED Talk
Hiring Officer. If you are the hiring manager, who would you choose? Regina Hartley says — hire the scrapper — the underestimated contender, whose secret weapons are passion and purpose. Choose the one with the imperfect resume.
Applicants. If you are an applicant, instead of complaining about your situation, believe in yourself. Believe that you can get the job. And how will you do that? Prove to the hiring officer that you are the best one for the job. Be proud to be a scrapper.
Who is Regina Hartley? She is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) from the HRCI. Throughout her 25-year UPS career – working in talent acquisition, succession planning, learning and development, employee relations, and communications – Regina Hartley has seen how, given the opportunity, people with passion and purpose will astound you. Today, Hartley is a human resources director for UPS Information Services, and makes human connections with employees immersed in technology.
About TED Talk TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world