In the last installment of the fitting into my jeans series, I talked about how I needed to evaluate my career success from a more quantitative perspective. I decided the best way to do this was to start with something simple: create the recipe for an irresistible resume. A resume is a good way to evaluate career success because good resumes tell your story.
Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the details and forget what your story is. Your career isn’t a bulleted list of mundane tasks, it’s a story about who you are, and what you do.
Your career isn’t a bulleted list of mundane tasks, it’s a story about who you are, and what you do.
The Five Parts of a
The five parts of a recipe are as follows:
(1) Yield (2) Ingredients & Amounts (3) Directions for Mixing & Handling (4) Equipment (5) Temperature & Time
Yield: Cover Letter
The yield of a recipe tells you the number of servings and the size of servings. The “yield” of a
recipe resume will give the reader context into who you are – while giving the 30,000-foot view of your story. It should give readers a ‘taste’ of what to expect from your resume.
When writing your cover letter, it’s important to make it sound like you, it shouldn’t sound like me – or anyone else. Write it in your voice. Below is an example of a simple cover letter that I’ve used. I encourage you to take the essence of the message while adding your own spin to it.
The goal of the simple cover letter is to give the reader a good sense of who I am as a person. This cover letter doesn’t focus on the quantitative parts of my career timeline, it focuses more on my passion for marketing. My favorite part is how much personality I can inject into a few paragraphs.
A List of Ingredients & How Much: Your Resume
The second step in a recipe includes the ingredients needed – as well as the amounts (how much) you’ll need. For a resume, the ingredients are the parts that make up who you are.
Your resume should answer the following questions:
- How many roles have you had?
- What is your past experience made up of?
- How much experience do you have?
- What is your educational background?
- What certifications do you hold?
- How do you keep up with changes in the industry?
- How do you keep up with your role?
- What are the measurable actions you achieved?
Step By Step Directions for Mixing & Handling: Your Story
If your career is a recipe, only knowing what ingredients you need is not enough to know how it all fits together. How many, how much, and what does it look like in the end? When I was collecting my “ingredients” for my career, it was through the lens of my aspirations of wanting to be a lawyer.
When I was working on my undergrad thesis, I spent quite a bit of time researching and analyzing data. I didn’t think I fit the mold for someone interested in data, but I learned something about data during that time: data tells stories. After I graduated, I decided against going to law school. My heart just wasn’t in it. I spent my free time creating website side projects, writing more and searching for a full-time job.
Having the ability to be focused on data and statistics during my thesis project gave me a new perspective on how to tell stories, and that’s how I fell in love with marketing.
I always thought marketing was all about creativity and something for “the creative people”. At the time, I didn’t consider myself creative (even though writing has always been a passion of mine). While I was finishing my undergrad, I took on a part-time consulting role where I found my love for marketing. The role was creating a web presence for a pharmacy/gift shop that wasn’t as expensive as what they were paying for at the time. The old website was taken down and my fresh, modern design went live – all for a fraction of the cost.
I learned about social media, web development, advertisements, email marketing – and so much more. Most importantly, I was having fun. That experience helped shape me, the same way you would shape and knead dough.
…I was having fun. That experience helped shape me, the same way you would shape and knead dough.
Equipment: What do you need to be successful?
A good recipe includes the equipment you need. It’s important to know if you need an 8 x 8 square pan versus a bunt cake form. When it comes to your resume, there are so many parts that can be categorized as equipment. Anything from the tools you’ve used, work environment, departmental budgets, salary, etc. Equipment is everything you need aside from your brain to be successful.
Do you know how to use Salesforce, or do you have experience with HTML? Let that be known, it’s also important that you explain the depth of your knowledge. For example, do you have years of HubSpot experience, but not much experience with other marketing automation tools? Explain that, while also explaining how you would tackle the lack of experience with other marketing automation tools.
Equipment answers the question, what you need to be successful? Going through the “equipment” of your career will help you create an inventory and give you a more objective view on your skillset, and what you need to know (and do), to be successful in the roles you’re targeting.
Temperature & Time: Bon Appétit!
There are recipes that give you the exact cooking and times – i.e. bake at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes, while other recipes tell you how to cook the food – i.e. stir the onions until they caramelize. Temperature and time is when all of the individual steps comes together, creating something entirely new. This is the culmination of all that you’ve been working towards.
Step five is where your past and present meet. All of those steps can seem like siloed, but it’s true what they say, hindsight is twenty-twenty. Like I mentioned earlier, I started my career with the intention of being a lawyer. I saw all of these steps as individual parts and I didn’t know how it was all going to fit together.
I recently read the article on AdAge, Why More Brands Are Ditching the CMO Position. The article discusses how there’s been a shift in marketing. Marketing is no longer focused on only “being creative”. Companies are recognizing the importance of creativity mixed with data. After reading the article, I felt validated – I thought, “This is exactly what I love about marketing.”
The End: Writing Your Story
There’s one last step I didn’t mention, it’s time to write your story. Feel free to use my cover letter in this blog as inspiration. Tell me how you feel about your resume. Do you think it could use some work, or is it exactly what you want it to be? Either way, I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to ask me directly, leave a comment below, or leave a comment on social.
Do you want help with your resume and cover letter? Use the hashtag #caffeinenjeans letting me know what your two most valuable skills are and you’ll be entered to win a resume refresh!