How to keep your resume focused

One of the best things about being Indian-American is the exposure you get to multiple, vibrant musical cultures.

For example, please take a few minutes out of your busy day to watch this music video. I promise you’ll forget your life’s worries for at least a couple minutes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8Gx6AFMJ9U

Now, before I get to the point, I have to confess that I love Taher Shah. He gets a lot of heat for his music, but the way he simply continues doing what he loves is something that I deeply admire. And I honestly think he’s hilarious.

But I think the reason people don’t love him as much as I do is that he tries too hard to stuff his song with all the “ingredients” of a hit song, like fancy words, expensive cars, and dazzling jewelry, without doing any real work to appeal to our basic human instincts.

I think my favorite part is when he says “eye to eye makes happy killer love.” I mean, what? Haha.

And I see this problem every single day with resumes. I see far too many resumes that are sloppy, full of grammatical errors, and do not do the candidate any justice!

Instead of just stuffing your resume with keywords, appeal to the human beings who are going to be interviewing you. Make sure your resume should follow these three basic fundamentals of storytelling:

 

  1. Writing that hooks readers

Any writing that grabs your attention in the very beginning is paid more attention to. Use the top section of your resume to highlight what sort of problems you solve. As a result, your reader will read your resume a lot more carefully than they would have otherwise, and they will remember you over candidates who chose to go the generic route.

  1. Conflict resolution

It engages readers. When you redo your resume, make sure that each and every bullet talks about how you resolved challenges, closed gaps, or capitalized on opportunities.

  1. Writing structures

Parallel writing structures help readers follow along, while differently formatted text slows readers down. Use both of these rules to draw readers’ attention to your biggest strengths.

Here are some samples that follow these three principles.

 

Have a look at another one of his amazing videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoCrbuM8wmc

In this video, Taher Shah glides along in a purple velvet robe and silver brooch, singing about how he’s “mankind’s angel,” “heaven on earth,” and “like a mermaid.”

Like “Eye to Eye,” a lot of people do not like this music video, which is flabbergasting because it’s probably the most hilarious thing you’ll ever see.

People don’t like the lyrics in this song for two reasons:

 

  1. Lack of focus.

It’s not clear who Taher Shah is really singing about. Is he singing about his wife, his son, or himself? Furthermore, if he’s talking about angels, why does he keep digressing about mermaids, fairies, and various flora?

  1. Overuse of soft words.

The reason I’m sure you couldn’t watch this video to completion was because your attention was clouded by all the “fluff” words and phrases that don’t mean anything substantial — things like “Love is the soul of an angel,” “Like a mermaid lives alone,” “as I gained lovely heaven” all strung together haphazardly.

People make these mistakes with their resumes all the time:

 

  1. Lack of focus.

A lot of the resumes don’t make it clear what the candidate is specifically interested in. Worse, these resumes meander all over the place, for example, from operational to financial to sales tasks, without really making clear how their experience relates to their goal.

  1. Overuse of soft words.

Here’s an example of a resume with the such an opening:

Ambitious and results-driven natural leader who’s a confident, original thinker, and strong independently individualistic. Inventive, inspired, persistent, creative, imaginative and determined. Having developed myself as a unique & distinctive expert with a proven track record of influencing and executing strategy. In this constant disrupting global environment, I gained a great reputation for understanding how to lead innovative initiatives to challenge existing procedures and drive cross-functional changes to help maintaining clear competitive advantage within the market.

Did your eyes glaze over as you read that? When you use self-descriptors in your resume, you are stating your opinion. Show it, don’t tell it! Instead of saying that you’re results-driven, lift one of the stories in your resume to the top of your resume to prove that you are.

 

Whether you like Taher Shah or not, it’s indisputable that he gets full marks for trying. It’s just that sometimes, that’s not good enough. So, before you jump into anything, do a bit of homework, be yourself, and don’t overdo!

Explore our free resources to make sure your resume doesn’t make the same mistakes as Taher Shah’s epic music videos.

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