The Crash Guide to

Building a
Better Resume

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In a few minutes, you’ll know exactly how to create a resume that will perform better for you than most job seekers ever dream of.

But first, let’s get clear on something. The resume itself is not what’s valuable—it’s simply a means to an end: your dream job. Or, at least, a good job.

That’s what you’re really after, right? Not the resume, I hope.

People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill bit. They want a quarter-inch hole.

- Theodore Levitt, marketing professor at Harvard Business School

Buuut, resumes are still very much a necessity in most companies. So, from this perspective, we can focus instead on what your resume should be doing for you, and work backwards to what it needs in order to get you that awesome job.

The goal of a resume is not to be like other resumes.

Start by putting yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager reviewing dozens of resumes that look similar, say the same general things, and try to “fit in.”

Out of a handful of nearly identical options, how do you pick one? That’s a busy hiring manager’s constant problem. Let’s solve it.

What if, instead, your resume wasn’t identical to the others? What if it jumped out at the hiring manager, demanding to be read?
Yes, rather than try to make a resume that “fits in” with all the rest, you’re much better off creating something that stands out far, far beyond the crowd. Your potential employers will appreciate this a lot.

Ready to dig in?

What your resume needs to do well


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In this day and age, your resume needs to do a few things well:
In short, for maximum results nowadays, your resume needs to be designed like a high-converting landing page.
land·ing page - noun

A specific page on a website, usually designed for a single purpose: to convert anonymous website visitors into users, or customers, or subscribers, etc.

Examples:
crash.co/how-it-works
apple.com/airpods-pro
to con·vert - verb

A marketing term that describes a person completing an intended action.

Examples:
   • You, creating a Crash account here on our website.
   • A hiring manager choosing to reach out to you after reading your resume.
Let’s look at what all excellent landing pages have in common:
nar·ra·tive - noun

A story, or story-like approach, to explaining something by describing a series of connected events.

More info: The magical science of storytelling (TED Talk)
   4.  They offer social proof in the form of customer testimonials, partner logos, etc.
   5.  They hit the key value propositions to convince you to sign up, purchase, convert.
val·ue prop·o·si·tion - noun

A promise of value to be delivered.

Examples:
  • When you job hunt with Crash, you will enjoy it more.
  • You, to a hiring manager: “When you hire me, you will get praise from your boss for making a good hire.”
   6.  They have a clear call-to-action to lead you to the next step.
call to action - noun

An instruction to take a particular action, usually a conversion action.

Examples:
   
Create a free Crash account today
   • You, to a hiring manager: Schedule a short phone interview with me [hyperlink to your scheduling tool of choice]
That’s pretty much it. Now let’s build you an awesome, professional resume that gets you hired.

Building a better resume

It’s gonna take more work than average, but then again, you’re no average job seeker.
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Remember, the top of your resume has only one purpose: to get the hiring manager excited about you, immediately, so they want to continue reading.

To do this, it needs to make a solid argument for why you’re worth spending more than seven seconds learning about. You can do this with a few resume sections:

Step 1: Writing your resume headline

This is what is typically known as your resume “objective.”

It’s no longer enough to simply have your name as the first and biggest thing on the page. Treat yourself like a product that can solve the hiring manager’s needs.

Be descriptive, but stay concise. Here are a few great examples:
John Brandt’s Crash pitch

Here’s the litmus test for a great resume headline:

If the hiring manager read nothing else on your resume, they’d still know who you are what you’re trying to do for them.

Here’s a great example of a headline that achieves that:
Michelle Filler’s Crash pitch

This headline lets you know that Michelle understands what companies truly care about in customer success: reaching customers, and building strong relationships with their customers.

And here’s an example of one that could be improved:
What does this person actually do? Thinking outside the box is nice, but do they understand it the same way I do? What do they know about my needs?

You get the idea.

Beginning your resume narrative

It’s powerful and effective to write your resume as a narrative, and you can look at your headline as the first sentence in your narrative. It must hook a hiring manager onto you (the “what”) and tell them why they should care about you (the “why”).

To do that, start by listing out the various “features” that you offer—your soft skills, essentially. Maybe you’re very outgoing, resourceful, curious, self-motivated, etc. Pick the one that feels strongest to you and makes sense relative to the types of jobs you’re looking for.

Then, put it into terms that matter to the person hiring. Speak their language. For example, for an entry-level operations role:

I’ll help your team maintain momentum and operate efficiently with my optimism, organized thinking, and problem-solving attitude.

Try a few of these for practice, then later come back and pick the one that feels strongest. And remember, you can always use a specific headline for a specific company. That is the beauty of digital resumes and tailored video pitches.

Ideas for headlines

Here are a few ways you can structure your headline:

      • {{Value}}. Without {{problem}}.

Hire me to make your customers happy now. Without a long ramp-up time.

      • The only {{candidate}} with {{value prop}}.

The only SDR candidate with the compassion and empathy required to turn uncertain prospects into raving customers.

      • {{Solution}}—so you {{benefit}}.

Fast-paced learner passionate about doing the grunt work—so you can focus on strategy and trust the work is being done.

Step 2: Writing your resume’s short bio—and recording a cover video

The headline explains the what and why about you—your bio will describe the how. This part doesn’t always come naturally—you might want to overexplain certain things, or tell your entire life story. But this isn't the place to do that.

Instead, think of this as the next sentence in your narrative. Share just enough information about how you’ve come to have the soft skills you do, why you’re interested in the types of roles you’re seeking, and how you plan to apply yourself to the position.

Here at Crash, we make video a key component of pitches, because it’s often easier to explain all this by talking. It also lets a hiring manager (or recruiter) see you for who you are, and that’s a good thing.

Everybody's weird. I don't want that hidden, I want to see the kind of weird they are right up front.

- Thor Wood, Founder & CEO at Snapshyft, paraphrased

Better to be hired for who you are, than fired for who you are later on.

Once you’ve written your bio, use it as a template for what you say in your cover video. Remember to keep this short and sweet, and record as many takes as you need in order to be happy with it.

Step 3: Adding your social proof

Whether you have any kind of real-world job experience yet or not, you can find people to give you a strong recommendation. And this matters so much in your resume nowadays.

You want to list your testimonials/social proof as high up as possible, because it immediately tells a hiring manager that you’re trustworthy. It helps them believe in your resume and your narrative, makes it come across more authentically.

Here are a couple examples of great use of social proof on landing pages:
Homepage at DemandCurve.com. © Demand Curve, Inc.
Superhuman’s scrolling “Wall of Love” featuring actual tweets. © Superhuman Labs, Inc.
As soon as you see those famous logos like Microsoft, or how highly business leaders speak of a product, you know it’s gotta be true. That’s social proof, and that’s what testimonials on your resume will do for you.

Your resume will perform infinitely better if you can get even just a couple people to vouch for you. Here’s the top half of a resume I used to apply to Superhuman’s Onboarding Specialist role. Notice how I added testimonials that vouched for my friendly and helpful attitude—key soft skills in sales and customer success:
The first few testimonials are reviews from freelance and agency clients I’ve had, but the ones all the way at the bottom are recommendations I received on LinkedIn from coworkers at previous jobs. Again, these are incredibly powerful for getting a hiring manager to trust you.

Who to get testimonials from

If you have work/volunteer experience, ask your former (or current) coworkers and supervisors.

If you don’t, you probably have done school projects. Ask your teachers and school mates.

If you have never worked with anyone, go volunteer somewhere this weekend, do a good job, and then ask for a quick recommendation to help you get a job. Anyone worth getting a recommendation from will totally understand.

If you’re still not sure about this, reach out to us, and we’ll help you brainstorm something.

How to ask for testimonials

Former colleagues:

Hey, Steve!
I’m hunting for my next job opportunity, and would really appreciate a few kind words from you about our time working together at Acme Corp. Would you be open to recommending me on LinkedIn? If so, here’s where you can do it.
Additionally, I would like to provide people with a good phone number and/or email address to reach you if they want to know more.
Thanks in advance,

Teachers, professors, school project collaborators:

Hi, Mr. Scott!

I’m hunting for my next job opportunity and could benefit from a testimonial from you while I was in your government class in high school. Would you be open to that? If so, you could recommend me on LinkedIn here.
( Link to https://linkedin.com/in/ _YOURPROFILE_ /detail/recommendation/ask/ )

I’d also like to give my future employers a way to contact you by phone and/or email if they want to discuss it more. Would that be okay?

Thanks and hope things are well!

Just getting two to four of these testimonials dramatically increases your chances of winning a job. Don’t skip this part.

Step 4: Show your experience, tools, and projects

This is the part where you get to show off. It doesn’t necessarily have to be professional experience or a college degree—although these are great, too. You can use it purely as a skills section to list your relevant hard skills, or combine it with your work history if you have it.

If you have work experience

On Crash, your Work Experience section looks like this:
You can also list educational experience here, such as your high school or college, since you’re probably working hard to succeed in school.

If you don’t have work experience

You’ve certainly done creative projects, learned how to use certain software, that sort of thing. Follow the steps above for listing your portfolio projects and software tools you know how to use. Bonus points if you can link to projects that proveyou can use a tool, such as a Figma prototype or WordPress website.

On your Crash pitches, we have a special section for your “tech stack,” or software tools you know how to use. Bonus points if you add proof!
In the portfolio section, link to projects you’ve done, social media accounts, anything that makes sense to show your work. Don’t forget that you can customize the preview image and text, so if it shows up strangely, you can easily fix it.

If don’t have work experience OR creative projects to showcase…

It’s time to roll up your sleeves! It’s super hard to win an exciting startup job if you haven’t proven that you’re willing to do some work. Here are a few easy ways to start building up your skill set, tech stack, and portfolio right now:

Step 5: Create your call to action

All great landing pages—and resumes—make it easy for the reader to take the action you want them to take.

In the case of your resume, the call to action is usually to contact you via email or schedule an interview. On a traditional resume, you’ll want to make sure you include your basic contact information: phone number and email address.

When you create custom video pitches on Crash, this is super easy:
The white “Contact” button goes to your email, and you can customize the blue button to go anywhere you want. Our recommendations:

Bonus: Your personality archetype

This is an extra step that can help people understand you a bit better. In fact, it’s a great way to understand yourself. Head on over to our Discover quiz to find out which type you are. Once you create a basic Crash pitch, it will show up automatically!
There you have it! If you want a winning resume in 2020, learn from marketing: build it like a high-conversion landing page. And make sure you proofread it all the way through. Basic typos and writing errors are a huge red flag for attention to detail.

If you’re looking for an easy resume builder that offers a great resume template, request access to Crash and start creating pitches. You’ll be able to export it to PDF whenever you want.

Examples of resumes that win interviews


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There are tons of awesome examples of resumes out there. Here are some of our favorite Crash pitches that double as digital resumes:
They all have a few things in common, including:

Common questions about resumes


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How long should a resume be?
Do resumes have to be one page only?

Nah, dude! It’s common for printed resumes to take up two pages. In the days of paper resumes, we environmentally-conscious job seekers would print our resumes double-sided on a single sheet of paper.

In today’s all-digital era, forget about page count, and focus on concisely communicating how you can create value for a company!

Do resumes need references?

YES. Yeah. Yup. Do it. Add references. They function as social proof—like we showed you above—which makes hiring managers far more likely to trust what you say. Bonus points if you include a short testimonial that talks you up, such as:
“Nadia was a superstar, always going above and beyond to take care of our customers. I’d hire her back in a heartbeat, and highly recommend her as a customer-facing asset on any team.”

Do resumes need a summary / objective statement?

Yes, but not just any statement or summary. The top of your resume should have a short, clear explanation of your immediate career goals. Show your ambitious, and the general direction you’re hoping to head in! It’ll attract the right opportunities your way.

Do I need a resume writing service?

If you’re simply terrible with words, it might be a good idea to have some help here. The Crash team is always available via live chat to help you as you build your pitches. Beyond that, you can reach out to a friend with really good grammar, or even book a professional resume writing service like TheJobSauce.

What size font should I use for my resume?

Stop fretting over font size. This is part of the 80/20 rule: the 80% of stuff that isn’t going to make or break your job hunt.

Spend your precious mental energy on finding ways to improve the companies you are applying to, and communicate that potential value to them. Focus on what matters—if you prove you can crush it for a company, your resume’s font size will be the last thing they think about. 😉

What does the perfect resume look like?

No.

No, nope, negative, nonsense. Invalid question. 😀

“Perfect” is a subjective, impossible quality that we all sometimes get trapped in!

Forget about “perfect.” Focus on the principles we’ve laid out in this article, and go beyond a resume. Pitch the value you can create for a company, and why you’re so excited about them. You’ll have way more fun, connect with cooler companies, and get a great job much faster.

Beyond resumes—the real secret to winning jobs


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Have you ever thought, “I’m so much more than my resume”? How about “My resume isn’t nearly good enough to get this job”?

Here’s the reality about resumes in 2020:

Your resume is only a small piece of your job hunt toolkit.

Resumes and cover letters are table stakes nowadays—every candidate is sending them, and they all tend to feel the same. And they certainly shouldn’t be the first thing you send to a hiring manager, nor something on which you fixate your energy.

Instead, you need something that really captures attention.This is where custom-tailored video pitches come into play. When you pitch yourself, you’re showing your potential employer that you really care about the opportunity. You’ve done the research on them, and are pitching specifically to them.
Which of these is more likely to capture attention and win an interview? The pitch, all day. Check out this LinkedIn post from a “cool recruiter” that was so impressed by a pitch, she had to hat-tip the job seeker who sent it!
https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6666115604707106818/

Focus on quality over quality.

When you “spray and pray” your resume to large quantities of job postings, you’re bound to be disappointed in your job search. It’s like walking up to every attractive person in the gym and handing them a piece of paper on why you’re dateable.

Instead, hone in on a select few opportunities that really excite you. Research the company, research the job, connect with people at the company on LinkedIn, and get in touch with the department leader for the role you’re interested in.

Be your own credential, and forge your path into the future you want.

Your new job is waiting for you—not your resume.

Next in this series:

Create a better, digital resume with Crash. Win interviews faster than ever before.

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“The moment I saw him flipping off a trampoline, I knew I wanted to hire him.”

Nick Black, Founder & CEO, on LinkedIn