This is the first in a four-part resume strategy series.
When you're in an awkward small talk situation -- even when it's with someone you're trying to impress -- what do you talk about?
My money's on the weather.
You talk about the stupid weather.
I will bet you $500 that, when pressed to make conversation with someone you don't know well (or at all), the very first topic one of you will throw out is going to relate to current or pending weather conditions.
I feel absolutely safe in this bet because, through lengthy, non-scientific research, I've observed this very phenomenon over and over and over again.
Hell, I've participated in more than my fair share of this very conversation.
You: Hey, how about this crazy rain? We're all going to have webbed feet soon!
Me : A ha haaaa (fake laughs)! No kidding! So much rain here, huh? It's just crazy! Haaaa.
You: I hear it's supposed to get sunny for the weekend, though. That'll be great. TGIF.
Me: Oh, that'll be great. I sure hope it gets sunny. Blah blahhh blahhh more stupid weather stuff blahhhhhh blah blahbitty blah.
The conversation, by the way? Is like 10 million forks across a plate to me. I experience the same tortured, "flight or flight" (that's not a typo) reaction to it every single time I'm forced to endure the weather conversation.
Why such disdain? Am I antisocial at my core?
No, I am not. At least I don't think I am. I truly enjoy meeting new people and enjoying interesting conversation with those around me.
I just hate the weather conversation, for three key reasons:
- It's awkward, and staggeringly boring.
- It's lazy, and tells me you aren't really interested in firing up a true conversation with me.
- It cheats me out of the opportunity to get to know you.
This is also why I hate a lot of the resumes I see.
I hate them because they have clearly been constructed by people operating to ingrained (and faulty) cultural norms ("the way it's always been done"), or by those who are simply living on autopilot.
They're cliche and boring, much like the weather conversation.
And they fail to allow me to learn something new, interesting or amazing about that person.
Is your resume "the weather conversation?"
If it is, can you really be surprised if it's not enticing people into genuine conversation (a.k.a. "enticing them to dial you up for an interview")?
The reviewer doesn't want to read a resume that says no more than "Hey, looks like we might get rain."
She reviews so freaking many of this exact resume that she probably just tunes out (and dies a little inside) as she passes you right by in her stack of candidates.
Hiring managers, HR people, recruiters and HUMANS IN GENERAL want meat.
They want compelling.
They want memorable.
They want effort.
They want to have their socks knocked off.
They do not, on the other hand, want to endure a stack of weather conversations.
Be genuine. Be interesting. Stop the stupid small talk.
On your resume, in life.
Photo: Flickr.com Creative Commons/Shallowend