The “Mind Control” Resume: How to Make Your Readers Like You
Suppose you could get inside your readers’ heads, move them to action, and make them do what you what them to do – NOW!
Does that sound crazy?
Actually, the power to remotely control the human mind already exists – we call it “advertising!”
Companies have scientifically perfected this form of “mind control” for at least 120 years.
But few have dared to apply these mind-control principles to their LinkedIn profiles and resumes. That’s about to change – there’s a new sheriff in town!
1. Background: Let’s all agree we need more than a resume to win this game
Before diving into the branded summary, let’s agree on 4 prerequisites for a successful job search:
PREREQUISITE #1, Burning Desire: When you’re fired up – obsessed with achieving a particular job – you’ll burn through all resistance and succeed. Even a lousy resume won’t stop you – I’ve seen this firsthand, many times. But If you lack that fire, your search will probably falter.
Prerequisite #2, a network contact: You need an inside connection, or at least a solid referral. You don’t need 3,000 followers on Twitter – although that would help – but you do need a pathway inside the target company (just like a salesperson penetrates a target account).
Without a human contact, you’re flying blind. No amount of tweaking the resume or outsmarting the ATS can help you. In that case, you might as well forget the resume and play the lottery!
PREREQUISITE #3, Personal-Branded Resume: For an internal move – or a job change involving people who know you well – your resume is less critical.
- But when you approach a target who does not know you well – with or without a “warm referral” – your resume must work very hard to stand tall above the competition.
- The reader will browse you for 6 seconds – but the first impression happens at the very top, i.e., your headline and branded summary. So if you blow the intro, it’s “game over”!
WARNING: Right here on LinkedIn, I’ve read some confused and foolish commentary about resumes. The root cause of this confusion is context. You can’t pontificate about resumes (or LinkedIn) without citing the reader’s context – i.e., a total stranger? a warm referral? This article assumes the reader doesn’t know you well.
PREREQUISITE#4, LinkedIn: For job search purposes, your resume and LinkedIn profile are two different configurations of the same thing – you need both.
2. The Branded Summary: “How Can Anybody Not Want to Interview This Person?”
I browse about 100 resumes each month. All of them have a summary paragraph at the top, but hardly any are memorable. A great “branded” summary – ONLY 3-5 LINES MAX – does 4 things:
Entices the reader to keep reading
Triggers a subtle emotional response inside the heart of your pre-selected target reader – “I like this person, and I don’t know why” – sometimes called a “dog whistle”
Plants a hook that makes you memorable for a few days.
Shows your “unique of promise value” – how you make money, save money, provide some value for employers or clients.
3. The Art and Science of Mind Control
MIND CONTROL: If you can stimulate the right emotion within a reader, your “vibe” will resonate – you’ll seem likable – and maybe that gap on resume for 2008–2010 does not look as bad.
FULL STORY: Use everything in your background – sports, awards, excellence in any area – and weave your best items into a story of contribution for employers or clients. You must tie your personal items to business, otherwise you’re wasting readers’ time with a “vanity” story.
EXAMPLE: One of my clients played football with the NY Jets – 40 years ago! Hello? But no matter how old, it’s a great piece of resume material. A professional resume writer told him to delete this tidbit – too old and irrelevant to mention on the resume. All wrong! Yes it’s old, but mentioning it in summary – only 5 words – makes his resume indelibly memorable.
4. Three Examples – Before and After – “Brand” versus “Bland”:
5. Two Tips for Writing a Mind-Control Summary:
LIVE INTERVIEW: I interview clients for 2-4 hours and record everything. Later on, I mine the notes and recordings for raw material. Without a live interview, you’re wasting your time. You’re just pushing the same dead verbiage around the page. Ugh!
“COMPRESSION”: I start by drawing a box – the physical size of the summary – and keep editing until I compress the message into ~60 words.
6. Bring Your Resume to Life – But Don’t Overdo It (Video)
WORST MISTAKE: For resume purposes, a tiny amount of personality – just a little emotion – goes a long way. Worst mistake is to overdo it, which often happens when I demo the power of emotional triggers in a resume or LinkedIn profile.
7. Six More Examples: Memorable Headlines and Branded Summaries