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Resumes are Advertisements November 6, 2007

Posted by Darth Sidious in Resumes.

Think of a resume as your advertisement, and the interview as the sales pitch. What would appeal to you more, an ad for a Star Destroyer that does nothing but dump diagnostic information (ship weight, number of bolts, fuel capacity, etc…), or an ad for a Star Destroyer that talks about how you can dominate in battle and crush your enemies?

Treat your resume like an advertisement, not like a biography. The purpose of an ad is to get the viewer interested – not to land the deal. The goal of the ad is to generate enough interest to make you want to find out more.

It’s same thing with a resume. It’s not about your life story; it’s about generating enough interest to get you called in for an interview.

What is the longest advertisement you’ve ever seen? Even the longest ones are short, and most have about 3 seconds to capture your initial interest, and another 27 seconds after that to capture some mind share.

You have the same thing for resumes. When a hiring Sith is looking, at least they’re committed to making a purchase (i.e. hiring someone), unfortunately for you you’re up against many other competing ads (resumes).

So your advertisement has to standout from the others, and it has to do that within a handful of seconds. This is very challenging!

Here are some guidelines to help:

  • Humanoids are only capable of processing a small amount of information quickly.
  • Make EVERY WORD count. If a word doesn’t add value, it takes away value. Make sentences concise and short as possible. Do not add unnecessary qualifiers!

Bad: Personal Sales Average of $23M compared to an estimated Company Average of $12M per Sales person.

Good: $23M Personal Sales Average (Company Average: $12M).

  • Stick to 2 pages. Some have a feeling that they’ll provide the most important stuff up front, and if the reader is interested they’ll keep reading on… No, it back fires. The reader will see your entire set as too much information to absorb at the moment (because they’re busy) and move on. As well, no one cares what you did 10 years ago, they care what you’re doing right now. And what you were doing 10 years ago was a lower ranking position anyways, so unless you’re interesting in downgrading to that why would you waste valuable resume and mind time on it?
  • Focus on ACCOMPLISHMENTS and not DUTIES. Everyone knows what a System Administrator does, or a Project Manager, and so on. So why would you waste space highlighting the exact same duties that all your competitors have done as well (and most likely will be putting on their resume)? It doesn’t differentiate you; it makes you the same as anyone else in that profession. What distinguishes you are your accomplishments. Write about how much money you’ve brought in on sales, or time saved through process engineering, money saved, operational margins, level of quality of your software, etc…

Darth Sidious



1. JAlpino - November 16, 2007

Completely late comment (I just discovered your blog).

I totally agree with your opinion in that a resume is an advertisement to get you in for an interview, however many technical recruiters I’ve spoken too prefer that I spell out a lot of boring detail. I went back and forth with a few of them but in the end I fell victim to the Dark side and tailored my resume to look like a corporate biography. I guess my initial efforts of advertising myself through my resume worked and landed me on the the desk of the technical recruiters, but when they wanted to pimp me out to their clients, they expected that I had more boring details.

I would suggest having two copies of your resume if you plan on dealing with recruiters.

2. Michael Holley Smith - November 17, 2007

Sith should check out bioblogs if he is to guide others on how to stand out. Words alone just don’t cut it anymore, and the English language is as weary as Mother Nature from use, abuse and overuse.

3. Resumes - Space Management « Sith Sigma - December 3, 2007

[…] they’re not even going read all your words if there are too many – your resume is an advertisement as we’ve written before. You have 2 pages max to generate enough interest to cause them to call you in for more. So […]

4. Darth Sidious - December 3, 2007

Jalpino: I hear you; I think from a management perspective the art of hiring is a challenging one. It’s so easy to find someone who can put on a good show, and then once hired you find out it’s all fluff… and it’s difficult to get rid of someone. Not everyone has the ability to shoot electricity from their fingertips, or have panna monster’s on deck.

And even if you do, like bounty hunters, recruiters aren’t cheap. So it’s very costly to make hiring mistake.

So this makes technical managers really paranoid. They want someone who can talk the talk, but also walk the walk.

But I like your suggestion of having multiple versions of your resume on tap.

5. Idetrorce - December 15, 2007

very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

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