During the course of summer 2019, I helped 3-4 incoming first year MBA students rewrite their resume and more importantly coached them on how they should ‘approach’ their resume. Building a resume is a boring activity among most students. Students feel compelled to do it because either career services asked them to or because they are actively applying for jobs and need to. However, an important thing to note is that students take up this activity either in the last hour or during their most ‘unproductive time’. In an activity that sparks little interest, they find themselves rewriting sentences, making tweaks here and there, and adding new points that first come to their mind. Result?
Their resume screams for want of motivation, creativity, appeal and everything else under the sun!
Traditional advice for writing resumes has not changed for decades! Every resume looks and feels the same and contains the same error:
The same marketing principle that is applicable everywhere else, applies here: ‘look at your product from the eyes of your consumer’. Who is the consumer here? It is Human Resources (HR)!
It is said that a resume typically gets 90 seconds of attention. HR then decide if they want to move to the next one in the pile or continue to spend more time on the same. So, what job are you trying to make the HR do in those first 90 seconds? Think about it!
In the same vein,
A few weeks back, one of my classmates reached out to me. He was seeking help to make his resume look like a marketing resume. He had a Supply Chain focus in the program and now wanted to widen his scope. I worked with him to go over one of the most important problem-solving skills I have ever learned in the Business School – Toyota Production System’s 5 Whys approach! Even though 5 Whys is an old manufacturing principle, it is timeless! I realized over the last summer how I could use it to extract the real value a person brings to an organization.
I had often heard people say, “you learn more when you teach.” I sure can see how! Even though I had learned about 5 Whys right in my first semester of Business School, I had hardly paid attention to its usefulness. But when it came time to coach incoming 1st year MBAs, I stumbled upon this very technique. One fine morning, as I kept insisting on a student on how his resume should show impact instead of work, he remarked, “how do you do that?” I paused at first because he had asked a very valid question!
Everyone around us advises to show real impact on our resume, but no one really tells us how to effectively think about it!
How on earth can a techie or a non-business background student show impact on their resume in a business(y) manner, when they have hardly been taught about impact in that particular fashion?
As I was racking my brain to answer this student’s question, out of the blue I said, “let’s try the 5 Whys approach. Ever heard of that?” And then I went on to tell him how this is a principle I had learned in the first semester and that we could use here because it could help. Honestly, I had no idea it would, except for a sudden gut feeling that told me this principle could bring forth something of real value. Boom! It worked wonders! And, it still does each time I share this technique in the resume workshops I hold in my MBA program. Remember:
If you want to work with #GOTR to revamp your resume, let's get in touch.