Killer Resume or Interview That Wows? Which Is Better?

Resume or Interview
Resume or Interview

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I recently decided to respond to a few recruiters about some work opportunities. I hate job hunting but they have a saying, “the best time to look for a job is when you already have one.” Surprisingly, I’ve almost always gotten offers or serious interest and it had me wondering about the reason for my success. I mean, some people look for work for months and aren’t able to get a single bite. I’m out here getting interest from recruiters left and right! Without even looking! So which is more important, the resume or the interview? What is the most contributing factor that’s helping me get noticed and picked up by employers?

The Resume
It has taken me years to build a good resume. What makes a good resume? One that shows that all your experience for the past 5+ years is related and not broken up or mismatched. You can see the professional growth on the resume. I’ve literally taken jobs that were a step back in money and title because the company hiring had such an amazing reputation in the industry and I knew it would look good on my resume.

I’ve always opted for a resume that was simple, clean and ONLY one page. If someone has to flip the page to see the rest of your experience, then it’s too long. CVs tend to be longer but, honestly, does anyone use a CV anymore? Generally, recruiters spend less than 10 seconds scanning a resume, so making it longer than one page seems ridiculous.

The role of the resume is to get your foot in the door so you can get to the next step, so having a solid resume can open a ton of work opportunities.

I think the key for me was to only take work that was related to my field, look ahead at what other more successful people in my industry did (Thanks LinkedIn!), and try to copy that. As a result, my resume became more niche, to the point where I don’t really need to look for work, the work finds me.

Check out my other post on how to structure a Resume.
The Interview

Interviewing also took me years to get good at and, to be honest, it hasn’t been something I’ve really perfected yet. I always got the feeling that US employers generally worship the “extrovert” and that specific type of personality that can get people up off their feet and excited.

Since I’m more of an introvert, most of my interviews have been good at best but not exceptional.

At the very least, I’m no longer the nervous nelly I once was during interviews. I think that has more to do with my experience level. Once you reach a certain level of experience, you sort of lose that uncertainty and voice in your head that asks, “Am I really qualified for this position?”

Things that I’ve definitely improved on are:

    Confidence

This has been key to capitalizing on work opportunities. I’ve noticed that I’ve no longer looked at the job I was interviewing for as something that I “needed” to validate me or take me to the next level. Now I’m able to come to the interview table and really ask hard questions like, “WHY is this position available now?” Or “What’s the company culture like?” I can take a stance where it’s almost like the company has to woo me in order to get me to move. No more groveling for the job with multiple thank you emails, no more hoping and praying for the job, none of that sh*t.

    Answering BS Questions

We all know what BS questions the interviewer usually asks. “If you were any animal what would you be and why?” “Tell me about a time you were challenged at work.” “Tell me about a time you made a mistake at work.” Those are the types of questions that come at the most random time and, at which point, you have to parrot an answer that the interviewer can agree with. Becoming skilled at these can be challenging. Especially if you’re nervous and not great at thinking on your feet.

For me, I just try to say what the person wants to hear while also tying it to why I should have the job. And ALWAYs spin it positively.

    Not Caring About The Outcome

Like I mentioned, “the best time to look for a job is when you already have one.” Having a job already and not moving without another one lined up has helped me TREMENDOUSLY. It helps me to not care and just carry on with the interview like I’m the prize. It’s allowed me to be picky about what work opportunities I’m willing to take.

I’ve seen people quit their jobs out of anger and then regret it because it’s only a matter of time before you run through your savings and then absolutely NEED a job, any job at any rate.
Side note: no matter how good you feel your interview went, NEVER quit your job until you’ve accepted their offer.

Overall having solid interview skills are important if you actually want to LAND the job.

So which is more important, resume or interview?
If I had to put my finger on it, I would say I think solid resumes are the most important to the job search. At the end of the day, the quality of your resume, your experience and the aesthetics of your resume are 100% in your control, an interview is not.

Resumes are also the way to get your foot in the door. Before the interview, there’s a recruiter picking out applicants from a pile of resumes. Only the most stellar resumes are able to proceed to the interview phase.

Not to say that interviews can’t be important, you can walk in with a semi-good resume and just blow the hiring manager out of the water by having an awesome personality and great interview skills.

Still, I find the the interview process to be pretty chaotic and arbitrary. Sometimes, companies aren’t even looking to hire but use the interview process to shop their competitors and get their employees to give off confidential information in the hopes of getting a job. Sometimes, you just can’t vibe with the interviewer. Interviewers can be rude, standoffish or downright inappropriate.

So even though you can’t always master every single interview, the right resume can almost always open the door to work opportunities that are the right fit.

Check Out My Other Posts
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Way of The Wolf By Jordan Belfort ~Full Book Review

Way Of The Wolf Jordan Belfort Book Review
Way Of The Wolf Jordan Belfort Book Review

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My company requires me to read two developmental books as part of my performance goals so I picked up “The Way Of The Wolf” by Jordan Belfort. It’s supposed to be a look at his sales strategy on how to increase closing. At first I was thinking, I hope this is appropriate for work, Wolf of Wall Street wasn’t rated PG and it was basically a movie about how these sleazy stock broker salespeople screwed people out of money. I wondered whether the book would have legitimate sales advice or technique on how to scam. Then I thought, well, he went to federal prison and then came out and wrote a book on his experience, then made it a bestseller, then sold the rights to the film, sooooooo he might actually know a thing or two.

And he does. I would describe his selling technique as a bit old school but it definitely works. If you’re a seasoned salesperson, you might recognize some of these tricks and maybe pick up a few new ones. I definitely did.

I liked how he made references to the movie to help me conceptualize his technique because it kind of ties everything together.

The main takeaway is that he uses what he calls “The Straightline System” for selling. The Straightline System is basically getting people from being uncertain about the thing you’re selling to absolutely certain. He shows you how to get them there in the most efficient fashion.

Jordan Belfort says that people can be emotionally certain or logically certain, but unless you have both a sale isn’t made. Looking back at all the deals that fell through for me, I always missed either the emotional aspect or the logical. But Jordan explains that it’s actually quite easy to get people to feel 100% like their emotional and logical decision is to buy what you’re selling. In this way, I found Way Of The Wolf as very old school. A lot of these techniques I’ve seen from very seasoned salespeople who are successful in their field.

Some of the highlights that I found useful:

That selling is more of an art. It’s more than just saying “buy this because of reason’s X,Y and Z.” It’s actually a very complex process, which Jordan Belfort breaks down for you, one with many layers.

Here he teaches you how to make a good first impression and stresses the importance of respecting the first impression and giving it your all. I used to be the type of person who thought that first impressions were a myth and that initial impressions can change over time. That is true, but it requires a LOT of work. Way Of The Wolf makes it easy to give an amazing first impression.

Tonality and Body Language was an essential chapter. Personally, I think that’s how Jordan Belfort really persuaded people to buy into his penny stocks and business ideas. He truly is the master on how to give off the right tone coupled with perfect body language. The obvious truth is that a majority of our communication is in verbal tone and body language. So how do we tap into this incredible communication resource?

Jordan Belfort masters this with his concept of future pacing and establishing an empowered state. Basically imagining yourself as already achieving a certain outcome and getting in the state you feel when you’ve accomplished something incredible. Once you achieve that and are able to tap into those two things on demand, your tonality and body language will reflect the confidence you need to persuade people to do anything!

To be honest, I used this technique before so it was nice to see that Jordan knew this little trick. It’s more than a “just fake it till you make it” ideology. The core concept is that you truly believe you’ve made it so that others can believe in it too.

Then he goes into how to prospect properly and touches on the ONE mistake all sales novices make.

That is, trying to close anyone and everyone without knowing if they’re truly capable of closing, without screening or qualifying them.

Jordan Belfort goes into detail on how to properly qualify them so that you know exactly whether they’re a prospect worth pursuing or not.

Way Of The Wolf also stresses the importance of having a good script. At first I kind of scoffed at the idea. I mean, seriously, a script?!? When I think of a script I think of canned words from a cold calling salesperson that doesn’t know his hand from his foot. But Jordan Belfort convinced me. Here’s what he said about it, “Since the day you were old enough to talk, every single movie or TV show that made you scream, laugh, cry, or shout or got you so deeply invested in the characters that you ended up binge watching the entire series in a single weekend, every last one of them was scripted.”

And it’s true, movies can capture our hearts and yet they require scripts to do that. The actors put in hours and hours, days upon days to perfect their lines and create the perfect scene. Now imagine if as a salesperson you could be as persuasive as those actors selling you those scenes? That’s why I think it’s time for me to come up with a sales script and give it a second chance.

Overall I found Way Of The Wolf as an excellent guide on how to sell, especially for beginners just starting out. Being able to think back on certain scenes of The Wolf Of Wall Street and see how he used these techniques really helped put his sales tactics into perspective. Would recommend for all novice salespeople and veterans refreshing on their sales chops.

My favorite quotes:
“Every word, every phrase, every question you ask, every tonality you use; every single one of them should have the same ultimate goal in mind, which is to increase the prospect’s level of certainty as much as humanly possible so that by the time you get to the close he’s feeling so incredibly certain that he almost has to say yes. That’s the goal.” Quote from Inventing The Straightline

“Either you’re being judged as a person who is sharp, on the ball, someone they want to do business with or you’re being judged as someone they do not want to do business with.” Quote from Advanced Body Language.

“When I say, ‘extremely powerful,’ what I mean is that once you become even reasonably proficient with this strategy you can actually get people to buy things they shouldn’t buy, and do things they shouldn’t do, without them even realizing that an extraordinary amount of influence was brought to bear.” Quote from Advanced Tonality

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What To Do When You Dislike Your Job

 

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I’m going back to work in less than a month, my maternity leave is over and I really wish it wasn’t ending. Though it would be nice to earn real money again, short term disability and paid family leave is really nothing in terms of compensation.

During my time of just being at home with family, I realized why I’m always so on edge and why I’ve been so unhappy with my career. I finally have the job that I’ve been looking for for so long, but it’s the people that make it miserable.

You see, I thought I would be happy doing challenging work with competitive pay but I was wrong.

There’s not a single one of my bosses that I’ve liked. You can follow all my blog posts and see just how miserable this job has made me. Yet I stay because of the benefits; because I have to put food on the table.

  • I’m Beginning To Realize It’s Just Me.

I’m not a team player and organizations don’t like that. They want someone who’s going to do what they’re told, follow the pack, play fair and be nice, all while being trampled on. And I don’t know how to be a team player in that kind of environment.

Ever noticed whenever you question something at work or you you realize that you’re taking on more work than you should, they always throw out “be a team player?” Like that propaganda is going to make me forget that I am being used beyond my compensation. If I already know that I have no chance of being promoted mainly due to the culture of the company, why would I do more and why would I want to be a team player on a team that doesn’t recognize hard work and excellence?

The truth is I work better on my own. I like to solve my own problems, have my own system and have autonomy over the quality of my work. With team environments, generally, jobs want a systematic approach that’s not necessarily most efficient, consistency across the board and groupthink where everyone has the same opinion. And that’s just not me and that’s not going to change, I’ve tried.

So here I am, a black sheep in a white flock, trying to stay inconspicuous.

I Haven’t Met A Manager I Respect

I honestly have rarely met a manager I can respect. Just because you’re above me in rank or in compensation doesn’t mean you own me; the corporate world kind of forgets that.

The only manager that I have ever been able to respect was one that looked out for their employees, mentored them and wanted to see them succeed. Plenty of managers will pay lip service to that kind of idea but actions always speak louder than words with me. And someone who doesn’t walk the walk is less than a manager in my eyes.

So right now my manager is someone who complains a lot, wants to get things his way, a brown noser and someone who pretends to be nice but really isn’t. I’ve worked with him for about a year and a half now so I have low hopes that things will get better. I just can’t get myself to respect him.

So what do I do? When I’m working at a job that has no growth with a manager I don’t respect?

My goal for when I come back to work is to just keep my head down and take it day by day.

I’m not going to pretend like I love my job or that I respect my manager or that I’m even friends with my coworkers, because I’m not. What I can do is control my attitude and realize that I’m at this job for a reason. I can quit any day I want. But I don’t. And that’s because I still need to keep this job for whatever reason whether it’s benefits or pay.

A lot of career advice will tell you to just talk it out with your boss or change directions at work or put everything in emails, but sometimes that advice is just full of shit.

I’m giving real world advice here and that is: work’s not fair and work’s not always right. You have to keep a long-term goal in mind even when you’re doing something you hate because you’re not going to be at that job forever. And I want to say that there’s nothing wrong with you just because you can’t fit into corporate culture; it’s really not for everyone. It’s not for me either but you need to use it as an opportunity even if it’s only a short-lived one.

Worst than being at a job that you dislike is being the person who’s constantly jobhunting for the perfect job, which I don’t believe exists unless you’re your own boss and can control your work environment.

So my main point is to make an exit plan, find out what you love and find a way to monetize that. Then make a deadline on how you’re going to make that your full-time job and do it. Your day job can just be a steppingstone, something that can get you to the next place in life.

Maybe I’m not corporate made, it’s not who I am but somehow I’m going to find a way to make my job work for me and help me grow into a career that I can be proud of and love.

It’s OK if you’re failing at work or just getting by, as long as you treat it like an opportunity and a stepping stone to help get you the kind of work you love.

How To Find An Attorney For Civil Suits And What To Expect

It looks like my mold saga is coming to an end. We seriously considered finding an attorney to help us negotiate with our landlord. It was a frustrating process, but my eyes are definitely more open to the reality of what it’s like to work with an attorney.

Last month I was at a kindergarten graduation and I was talking to one of the moms. The topic of lawyers came up because she had been through a divorce. She said, “all they want to do is bill you.” I didn’t think much of it but after looking for representation of my own I realized she was right.

I Learned A Few Things About Lawyers And The Law This Week:

  • The Purpose Of Tort Law

Tort law, according to Wikipedia, is a civil wrong that causes a claimant to suffer loss or harm resulting in legal liability for the person who commits the tortious act. Its purpose is to right a wrong that has been made and put that person who was harmed back as if they were whole again.

So if someone negligently drives under the influence and ran someone on the sidewalk over and then that person lost their legs, tort law tries to find a monetary amount that would be equivalent to losing your legs. In other words, how much are that man’s legs worth?

So even though we were exposed to mold in our apt, which could have dangerous health effects on us and our 2 month old baby, the fact that we weren’t dead or dying didn’t give us much of a case.

  • Lawyers Aren’t Going To Do All The Work.

I don’t know why I have this image in my mind of lawyers wanting to jump at the opportunity of righting some injustice, but that’s not even close to how they work.

They don’t want to have to prove you have a case. YOU have to go to them and prove that you have a case under the law. That means you have to do a bit of digging on what laws apply to your issue.

From there you might get a consultation and if the attorney feels you have a good enough case, then he’ll take you on and start the process of the lawsuit.

  • It’s All About The Benjamins

Even if you have a case, that still doesn’t mean you have a case worth taking on. Because attorneys need to get paid one way or another. It’s going to be either hourly billing or contingency.

For contingency fees, they usually run 33% if you settle and 40% if it goes to trial. Zilch if the case doesn’t settle or win. So what they’re really looking for are cases that can settle or win.

For most attorneys, the question on their mind is, “If I take this case, how likely will it be to win and how much will I make.”

If they can’t make money off the case, they won’t take it.

  • Personal Injury Attorneys

Our first attempt to resolve this was to find a personal injury attorney. And they are the worst. I could not get a hold of a single one of them. They all had these bulldog secretaries that just took information and messages. Whether the attorneys actually got the messages, we don’t know, but I never heard back from anyone.

I thought it was really ridiculous that they spent all this money on advertising, to bring clients in, but they couldn’t be bothered to meet with us or respond. I guess we just weren’t dead or dying enough to make a case that was worth the money.

  • Find An Attorney That Specializes On What You Need.

At first it felt like we were taking shots in the dark. I would call personal injury attorney’s and ask, “Do you do mold litigation?” I didn’t have any referral attorneys that I could turn to. If someone said no, I would ask for a referral. It seems no one wants to give another attorney a referral.

None of the lawyers would help me so I had to rely on information from the legal secretaries. One straight out told me I would have to be severely injured for them to take me. Another referred me to the state bar association. The state bar can refer me for a $35 fee. Another secretary was more helpful and told me I would need a landlord/tenant attorney and to check AVVO.

AVVO is basically like the Yelp for attorneys, they sort by area and specialty and can help you find an attorney that has the experience you need. There are also a lot of reviews, so you can choose a top rated attorney.

  • Be Prepared To Drop Your Case Before It Even Started.

“I’ve always found the legal system to be disappointing” That’s what my dad said when I told him I wanted to sue over the mold.

Well, he was right. After I finally found a landlord/tenant attorney to meet with me for a $150 consultation, we learned we wouldn’t recoup much in damages. Maybe one months rent.

The attorney was very knowledgeable but basically laid it out for us that to pursue this in court would cost more than we could get and that basically we need to negotiate with our landlord to fix the problem permanently or to allow us to break the lease. I felt a little jipped, of course I can negotiate with my landlord directly and they already told us we could break the lease. What we wanted were damages for the costs of moving and furniture!

Our search for an attorney was long and stressful. In the end we did get enough information to make an educated decision on what to do about our apartment. I honestly hope I never have to consult a lawyer again or use an attorney’s services. Because at the end of the day, getting injured from mold or anything isn’t worth a large settlement.

We learned a lot from our situation. In case you ever need legal advice, here are the questions you’ll need to ask:

  1. Have you ever dealt with cases like this before?
  2. What is your success rate
  3. What is your retainer?
  4. Do you work hourly or by contingency basis?
  5. How will you keep me in the loop about the progress of my case?

Good luck and thanks for reading!

Top Lessons I learned In Business & As A Salesperson

The first “Job” Job I ever had

When I was 21, I started an online distribution company on Amazon.  I was working for this shady distribution company acting as their “Purchasing Manager” for like $15 dollars an hour.  They wanted me to get contacts for brands like MAC cosmetics, designer fragrances, coach bags, and other high end accounts.  My role was to buy at wholesale then ship oversees where the product was scarce and make a huge markup at the other offices.  It was super shady because we were dealing with an international Singapore office and selling goods that were unauthorized by the brands in certain locations.  Basically dealing in a gray market.  Turns out the whole beauty distribution industry is super shady in this regard.  Rather than discount certain goods to the public, companies like MAC cosmetics or Proctor & Gamble will sell to third party distributors old and unsold products, who will then sell it again to online sellers, third party shops and overseas.  So all those Ebay and Amazon stores selling cosmetics and goods are not necessarily fake, but are likely old product that’s been cycled through different distributors.

 I eventually had a contact for MAC cosmetics and decided to be bold and use it for my own use and become an Amazon pro-seller.  The money was just calling me.  I couldn’t help but think if I start selling this stuff people would buy it.  This was my first experience working for myself and being an entrepreneur.   My online store  was for cosmetics and our main item for sale was MAC Cosmetics. You wouldn’t believe how popular MAC is online, we had this wholesaler who would sell it to us. (I swear it was authentic). That was literally the only thing we would sell. I sold 80k worth of it within the first year.

Well I guess we didn’t tip the wholesaler enough because he stiffed us on the product and wouldn’t sell to us any more.

All the other product out there to buy was pretty much garbage and not giving us a high enough profit margin to make the effort.

After that I closed the business but I learned a few good lessons about owning a business:

  1. Never go into business with a friend.
    1. It sounds fun at first but it’sa recipe for disaster. I had worked with her at the distribution company and it was a lot of fun.  I felt guilty for taking the contact and profiting on my own, when my best friend was sitting right next to me.  We had very different approaches to the business though.  She wanted to cash out too early so we were never able to reinvest or grow the company. If our orders were growing, it would have been more worthwhile for the supplier and he would have been less likely to drop us like that. We were unknowingly wasting his time by making him fill our small orders twice a month.
  2. Always tip the people who help you make money
    1. It’s just good karma and it good at relationship building. You won’t believe how good “You’ll scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” strategy works.  I was so stupid to not give a nice Christmas bonus, like it’s such an obvious thing to do. When when your young and trying to start a business with absolutely no money, every dollar counts, but the dollars you spend on the people who help you be successful are the most important to spend.
  3. Never rely on one source of income or client for your business.
    1. When the MAC supply ran dry so did our business. We never bothered to diversify. We could have done videos on makeup or promoted our own products. But we never got that far.
    2. I’ve also read about other people making this mistake like YouTubers and Insta Influencers using only one platform to make their connections.  This is obviously risky since you are not in charge of the overall platform and if they decide to shut you down because of a “policy violation,” well then you’re SOL.

Lessons I learned From Being A Salesperson

When I stopped doing what the other salespeople were doing that’s when it clicked and I started to do so much more business.  There are 10,000 licensed real estate salespeople in  NYC.  There are only so many rental and sales deals for all those agents.  The reality is that not everyone will be successful in this industry and many are living hand to mouth and deal to deal.

They say 5% of salespeople make 80% of deals. To be the top sales person you need to do things other people aren’t willing to do or are too lazy to do.

In real estate that meant doing a mailing list. Many agents were too preoccupied with finding their next deal, they didn’t think ahead to do long term prospecting like email blasts and promotions.

I also prospected by cold calling leads for exclusives and following up relentlessly. All I needed was to have one door open and then I would snowball that opportunity into other opportunities.

Over time you want to create a snowball effect of success. Promoting yourself and showing off your accomplishments helps you get the confidence and business you need from new customers.  The snowball effect is probably the most important lesson I learned.  The more time you spend on a business, the more it should grow.  It should never be stagnant  unless there is a catastrophic economic collapse or recession.  The issue is that no one teaches you how to start the snowball.  In the beginning, it looks very small and almost useless to keep rolling.  Maybe a piece breaks off here and again there but over time all the cumulative effort you made over the years will be worth something, it will get stronger, and next thing you know you have a giant business! (Snowball!)

Once the snowball is huge, that’s when people notice you and give you more business with little prospecting.

Things that will help you grow your snowball:

  • Mailing lists and email blasts with all the contacts you’ve ever had
  • Cold calls
  • Holiday cards
  • Quality business cards
  • Neat  work space
  • Requesting referrals
  • Gifts at closing
  • Following up with service, doing surveys
  • Having a business plan and marketing plan
  • Being consistent with the above items

I hope you’ve found this post really useful. It was actually a discussion that I first started on Quora but it was so popular there, I decided to expand on the discussion.

Let me know your thoughts and feedback and feel free to follow, share and like.

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