How To Write A Resume That Will Actually Get You A Job (And A Life)

Building a great resume is a difficult process. If you don’t make the correct layout, content, and design decisions, your resume won’t be looked at twice. Fortunately, this post will teach you everything you need to know about building a great resume.

First: Select a good stock of paper. Nothing turns off a hiring manager like regular computer paper! This is called attention to detail, and it really pays off.

The second step is to take a big, messy shit on that paper, smear it around, and then give it a shake to get rid of excess chunks. Congratulations! You now have a resume that will give you the best chance of scoring call-backs, interviews, and a lucrative and fulfilling career.

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Resumes Are For Losers

You might ask: How will this resume help me get a job?

The answer is that you will never, ever be tempted to give your shit-smeared resume to anyone. You will know that relying on this resume would be catastrophic for your job prospects, so you will be forced to rely on other job search strategies.

In the modern job market, the hard reality is this: Only losers make resumes. Any decent job that is publicly advertised, unless it requires highly specialized skills, will receive hundreds or thousands of applicants. I’m sorry to be the one to break this to you, but your bachelor’s degree from a mid-tier school does not qualify as a ‘highly specialized skill.’

Networking Is For Winners

Your resume won’t help you get a good job, but your network will. Every single worthwhile career opportunity that I’ve ever encountered in my life has come through a friend:

  • When I was 14, I got my first sales job and made over $20/hour, because a friend put in a good word for me.
  • When I was 17, I managed a restaurant, because a friend who worked there tipped me off that they had lost two managers in the past week and were desperate.
  • When I was 19, I started a tutoring company and helped rich kids pass their first-year courses. I barely advertised, because my friends and classmates talked me up to anyone who would listen.
  • When I was 22, I got a cool job as a marketing consultant because a friend hired me.
  • When I was 24, I got a lucrative and interesting (though ultimately soul-crushing) job because several friends worked to get me in front of the right people.

I’ve also had a few jobs that I found through the traditional ‘resume’ channel:

  • When I was 12, I delivered papers for three hours every Wednesday and Saturday morning for about $30/week.
  • I had a summer internship after my freshman year of college that sounded good on paper, but ended up being tedious data entry for $14/hour in a city that was not cheap to live in.

Of course, plenty of good jobs are still attainable through the proper channels. If you’re finishing a Stanford engineering degree with a 4.0 and you want to work for Google, it’s probably not a bad idea to go through the standard recruitment procedure – resume and all.

But if you’re not on an elite track with a degree from a top school, you are better off ditching the traditional application channels, and focusing on finding work through your network.

How To Network Make Friends

The ridiculous use of the word ‘network’ as a verb has created a generation of job-seekers who see their personal and professional networks as separate entities.

This belief is false and unproductive. Your professional network and your circle of friends are the same people. A professional connection who is not your friend will not want to help you professionally. A friend who would not help you professionally is not a good friend.

Most jobs worth having are advertised and filled through personal networks. Very few people will ever find a good job by going to special networking events and making it rain business cards, i.e. “networking”. However, many people find good jobs because their friends help them out and make the right introductions. For example:

  • I got my first sales job through a friend who was a senior on my rugby team while I was a freshman.
  • I got a tip about a restaurant management job from a freshman on my rugby team while I was a senior.
  • My tutoring company thrived because I had been “that guy” who was always willing to help friends and classmates when they were struggling.
  • I got my job as a marketing consultant because the guy who hired me was one of my closest friends in college.
  • I got my last job at 24, because I was sleeping with the right girl at the right time.

So forget about networking in the traditional sense.

Don’t ask: How do I get good at networking?

It’s a bad question. Instead, ask: How can I improve my ability to earn good friends?

The (extremely short) answer is that you must become the sort of person you want to attract into your life. So ask yourself:

  • Are you a good friend?
  • Do you like to help people?
  • If a close friend came to you and needed a really big favour, would you help them? Or make excuses?

Stop for a minute and remember your answers.

I will guarantee that 100% of you answered ‘yes’ to those three trick questions. Every man wants to see himself as a good person. Now, here are some real questions:

  • When is the last time you did an unsolicited favour for a friend?
  • When is the last time that you made a point of introducing two friends who would benefit from meeting each other?
  • When is the last time you offered unsolicited help to a stranger or someone you just met, for no other reason than that you saw an opportunity that would be be useful to them?

If you took more than a few seconds to come up with examples to the second set of questions, you are probably a leech. Don’t be surprised that you attract other leeches into your life.

Making high-quality friends is simple, if not easy: Put yourself in situations where you’re likely to meet new people, and focus on helping them and making their lives better right from the start of the relationship. If they don’t reciprocate, stop investing in them.

This is the mindset that successful people operate with. It’s easy to see how this leads to a Nash equilibrium in which value-givers form relationships and help each other conquer the world, while value-takers form toxic relationships with each other and fight over tiny shares of a smaller pie.

What Can You Offer?

When you consider this mindset, it’s easy to see why the typical job seeker is unsuccessful: He is trying to ‘network’ with people who have the power to help him get a job. But the young job-seeker has nothing to offer in return, so he is coming off as a value-taker and turning people off. He will feel like crap throughout the entire process, especially if he naturally has a generous and value-giving mentality in other areas of his life.

This is why networking and job-hunting sucks for most people. It feels slimy, creepy, humiliating, and debasing, because you are going in with a value-taking mindset.

The solution is to start looking for work with a value-giving mindset. Maybe that sounds crazy to you. You’re twenty-three with no work experience and a degree in basket-weaving from Podunk State. What could you possibly have to offer?

The answer – according to the skills and experience you’ve listed on your resume – is “not much”.

But you are not your resume. You have more to offer new friends and professional connections than your proficiency in Excel and PowerPoint. When you reach out to someone who has the ability to help you get a job, chances are that there is not much you can do to help their career immediately. But a connection to a job opportunity is not the only value worth sharing.

If you radiate high status, you add value to those around you by association. If you’re fit, well-groomed, well-dressed, and carry yourself like a winner, people will feel good around you and want to associate with you. Everyone wants to get coffee with a winner. Everyone wants to be seen getting coffee with a winner. Most of this effect is subconscious and irrational, but it is still powerful.

Positive emotions are valuable. Good jobs and money are as common as dirt. A nice chat with someone who makes you feel good about yourself, is genuinely interested in you as a person, and really understands you – that’s rare. Many of the high-level ‘networking connections’ who seem so intimidating, are lucky to have one in a year.

Information is valuable. As a reader of Thumotic, you are privy to a wealth of information that is inaccessible to the majority of modern men. You can help your friends and colleagues improve their health by eating like a caveman, taking the right supplements, juicing, and lifting heavy weights. You can help your friends learn game, improve their focus and productivity, and start saving money.

Of course you’re not going to start quoting Day Bang while having lunch with a forty-year old partner at your target firm. But you know the habits that make you a man, and you can gradually share them with the people around you.

(True story: I once helped a senior manager cure his gout by talking to him about this article, and he took an interest in me and had my back from that day onward.)

Women are another valuable resource that you can offer. Pretty young women are the currency that makes the world turn. If you bring cute girls with you wherever you go, no door will ever be closed to you. If you can introduce friends to cute girls in bars, get your own girls to bring their single friends outs, and generally be a matchmaker to the acquaintances in your circle, men will trip over themselves to help you.

Last of all, you can re-frame your current relationships as a reciprocal exchange of value over time.

You’re young, inexperienced, and unconnected – today. But you are a smart, hardworking, and upwardly mobile young man. Your mentality should be: “I may not be much today, but I’ll be running this place soon enough, and doing plenty of favours for everyone who helped me on the way up.”

Don’t feel guilty about accepting help today, because you know you’ll be able to pay it back tenfold in a few years.

Ultimately, the specific details of how you plan to offer value are unimportant. Think outside the box, identify how you can serve others, and start delivering value to those around you, regardless of their immediate ability to reciprocate. The universe keeps a ledger.

Your Entire Life Is A Job Interview

It makes no sense to get stressed about job interviews. Your entire life is a job interview. The people around you are constantly evaluating the content of your character, your work ethic, and how you perform under pressure.

This is why personal networks are usually a manager’s first place to look for new hires. It’s not because of nepotism or corruption. There is just no better way to measure a man’s character than to watch him perform in a variety of situations, day in and day out, over a long period of time.

So how does a man succeed in the job interview of life? It’s simple. You have to be great, every minute of every day. People are watching you, and their observations will feed into their future decisions to offer you opportunities – or not. Make a habit of excellence, strength, commitment, and generosity, in every facet of your life.

Your college professors often receive calls from employers who ask questions like: “Jim ticks all the boxes on paper, but tell me: Should I give him the nod?”

Professors will make a point of calling friends in their industry and saying: “Hey, I’ve got a few students you really need to take a look at. John for example, doesn’t have the strongest GPA, but the kid’s smart, a hard worker, and a natural leader.”

Every minute of every day, your friends, colleagues, team mates, family, – they’re evaluating you. They’re asking themselves if they would hire you, partner with you on a business, introduce you to their sister, or bring you out with another group of friends.

They’re asking themselves: Is this guy the real deal? Or is he just some poseur? Is he going to embarrass me if I put my ass on the line for him? Or is he going to get the job done?

When a man is generous, honest, trustworthy, and has a strong work ethic, opportunities will rain down on him:

  • “I’ll pass your resume on to my manager.” Turns into, “I will corner my manager and I will demand that he sit down and meet you.”
  • “I’m starting a company, let’s celebrate!” Turns into, “I’m starting a company, and I want you to be a part of it.”
  • A personal network that believes in you will become your own personal sales team for whatever product or service you’re selling.

These sorts of relationships will be more valuable to you in your career than any prestigious degree or internship, but there is no shortcut. You must become a man who deserves the respect and generosity of others.

Conclusion

Clearly, this is a post about more than just resumes. My goal today is to give you an introduction to the practical applications of a generous, high-value, abundant mindset.

I want you to do more than just think about these ideas though, so I’m going to close with three quick exercises that you can do today. Try them out, and see what effect they have on how people treat you, and how you feel about yourself:

  1. Identify two strangers or casual acquaintances from your personal network who might benefit from an introduction. Send them an email and suggest they get together for coffee.
  2. Get together with a friend or acquaintance, and make it your goal to help them solve a problem before the end of your conversation. Find out as much as you can about the obstacles they’re dealing with in their life, and think about what you can do to help your friend overcome it. This exercise will help you be a better friend, and it will make you a better conversationalist (i.e. one who builds rapport on deeper topics, and who doesn’t talk about himself non-stop).
  3. Make a list of famous or semi-famous people whom you admire, and offer them your help and gratitude. This can be as simple as suggesting they check out an article relevant to their work, and expressing your thanks for the effect their work has had on you and your life.

Try each of these small exercises today. They won’t take long.

Further Reading

The concept of abundance and operating from a value-giving mindset are crucial in the teachings of the modern pickup artist movement. Yes, there is a lot of garbage in the PUA universe, but Real Social Dynamics on Youtube and the YaReally archive are both very good.

James Altucher writes: Give And You Will Receive

Danger and Play has a good post on Charisma and Building Rapport, and a podcast on Networking Like A Pro.

Stephen Covey originally popularized the importance of an abundance mentality in The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People, which remains a must-read book for any young man hoping to be successful in life.

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Happily employed readers: How did you get your job? What’s your advice to contemporary young job seekers?

  • http://dcllive.wordpress.com/ dcl

    Hey Frost.

    This was a great article and written very well.

    To answer those questions at the end of the post:

    How did you get your job? An old friend of mine that I made an effort to keep in contact with came to me, just over a year ago, with an opportunity to work at his new business, a Youth Fitness Focused Personal Support Gym, as a personal trainer.

    From there it sparked an interest in personal support work. Since January of this year I went through the process of becoming a Screened Personal Support Worker. I now have several clients of my own and just had a phone interview the other day for a potential new client. The Personal Training and Personal Support Work has put me in situations where I had to essentially “sell myself” during the screening interview process. I would like to think I am planting the seeds for my networking empire ha.

    What’s your advice to contemporary young job seekers? Make an effort to keep in contact with good friends, you never know when they might offer you a job opportunity. If you must go the resume route make sure to always have three-four up to date job references and about five character references. The character references should not be hard to obtain if you have developed good people skills, made some friends and have not burned to many bridges in your youth. Do not hesitate to recognize what you`re skilled at. Find a way to exploit your skills to make money. Realize that any advice you`re given, when it comes to health, fitness, women, finances and career opportunities, you should take the time to to let it sink in and understand what you`re being told.

    Anyways, thanks for sharing, looking forward to more. -dcl

    • Frost_25

      DCL, thanks for sharing your story.

      I don’t know how common it is for people to ask for character references in most industries. Certainly not mine. IME, people take recommendations from people they know and trust, not strangers.

      Although nowadays with social media like LinkedIn, it’s easy to separate BS references from quality ones.

      Definitely keep in contact with old friends, I have made a lot of good friends in my late twenties, but very few whom I share as much trust as my high school/university crews.

      Also, don’t take a superficial view of which friends are “high value” or not. Sometimes you need friends with money and connections, but sometimes you just need a guy to help you bury a hooker, and then there;s no substitute for old friends.

      • http://dcllive.wordpress.com/ dcl

        I should clarify – the character references I have got are from people I have known for years. I agree with you, no strangers.

  • RedPill Going Galt

    Awesome and very true article. Another excellent resource is “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrrazzi

    • Frost_25

      Thanks – I agree, that’s an excellent book. I believe it’s on the GBFM page.

  • http://aboutlifting.com/ Ironthumb

    I really believe in that way of attraction and the importance of building “connections”.
    Another thing to add, my father taught me to prepare a christmas bucket every year to give to people you tend to ask favor from.
    I also learned from him that I should secure three friends:
    1) a good lawyer
    2) a good doctor
    3) and an honest butcher who will give you good meat
    People who complain that hiring of relatives and friends of employers don’t know anything about how human nature works – its just the way it is as long as HUMANS hire people not robots
    great piece you have right here!

    • Frost_25

      Thank you.

      I’m a strong believer in the law of attraction too.

      Is it supernatural? Almost certainly not. But magic of the law of attraction, karma, auras, etc are all useful maps to describe the territory.

      Also, good advice on building the wheelhouse. I would add, for the young guy starting out – tailor, barber, and a PFM or someone who works where you do your household banking, to help you get your finances in order.

  • Eric S.

    Fantastic article! I am a freshman trying to look for summer jobs. I sent my resumes to tons of companies , but I never heard back from any of those companies I applied. I always thought it was because the resume doesn’t look good enough, however in reality like you said it takes much more than just a good-looking resume to land a job.
    Thanks for your article and the references you listed! You really changed my perspective on job-hunting.

  • Stephen

    I always had a similar mindset but you put it in to words for me beautifully.

  • Graham

    I’ve had these exact same thoughts for a while. The way you articulated this idea was great! It just feels unnatural spitting out resumes and trying to rely on degree alone. I’ve always considered myself as having above-average intelligence (as everyone does), but I’ve noticed that “dumber” people than me who I graduated with are getting decent jobs since they’re more social and confident.

    I can relate to a lot of what you wrote above. I’m 23, have a biz degree from a mid-tier school with a good GPA, but not many valuable skills. I’ve decided to start going to Toastmasters, join an improv class (scares the shit out of me just thinking about it), and begin Krav Maga while I’m still “job hunting.”

    I’ve never really had good friends since I’ve had pretty bad social anxiety and depression my whole life (which I’m just now starting to get some leverage on). It follows that I probably won’t get a good job since I’m not too “likable” at the moment. Instead of wasting my time at a shit job so I can afford to live away from home working 50 hours per week, I decided to move back in with my parents, work part-time at a laid-back job, and develop myself doing the things above (and doing a lot of reading as well).

    Like you said, developing myself as a person in terms of character will get me further than my degree will.

    I’m definitely sending this article to my friends who feel that they’re in the same boat as me. Your blog is becoming one of my favorite resources for self-development. Glad I found it!

  • http://www.huntgatherwrite.com Hunt Gather Write

    I’ve just come across this site. Really enjoyed this article.