How to Write a Resume (for Teens) Part I

So you want a job.  And you’re not sure why you can’t get one, why nobody in the adult world (except maybe your parents) recognizes your “brilliance, work ethic, and deep sense of responsibility.”

Part of the problem is that you don’t know how to communicate who you are to others.  In other words, you don’t know how to write a resume that stands out.  It’s ok if you don’t know how to write an interesting resume.  Some of my best employees don’t know how to write a compelling resume.  It just means you’re not a good writer and you don’t know much about yourself and others. Writing a resume is about self-reflection, about knowing who you are and what others expect of you.

Here’s a resume writing guide I share with my callow employees.  But before we begin, let’s make sure you’re approaching this exercise with the right frame of mind.

Realize you produce negative value when you start work.  Most of you are too self-absorbed and self-centered to realize this.  (And I’m not sure why parents don’t make them realize this). Just because you think you’re working doesn’t mean you’re producing value.  In other words, you don’t produce enough money to cover the cost of training you. It costs businesses a lot of money to train new employees in hope that they’ll someday produce positive value and stick around.  A business is taking a chance on you when they hire you.  And businesses don’t like taking chances on the untested, especially when the state minimum wage is as high as it is.  Understanding why you can’t find a job is the first step toward finding a job.

Let’s begin.

Writing the OBJECTIVE.

The OBJECTIVE introduces yourself to the reader.  Who you are, what you want, and why reader should continue to learn more about you.  You have one or two sentences and fewer than 40 words to make the busy reader want to learn more about you.

To write a compelling and believable OBJECTIVE, you have to know who you are and what you want.  To begin, list:

1. One to five life goals.
2. Five qualities about yourself (eg. I’m hard-working, I’m smart, I’m lazy, I’m a dumbass)
3. Evidence of those qualities (I have a perfect SAT score, I’m All-State this or that).
4. Three reasons you want a job
5. Three things you want to get out of a job.

Be honest.  Grade yourself fairly.  Don’t write down what you think others want to hear.  You’re inexperienced, so you’ll likely be wrong about what you think others find interesting.

Does this exercise make you depressed?  Do you feel worthless, confused, directionless?  If you do, there’s hope. You may have an advantage over some of  those who don’t feel as you do.

Again, be honest.  If you don’t care about the whales or the poor and needy, don’t say you want a job so you can help them.  Don’t make up bullshit.

Still can’t write anything? You’re thinking too hard. You don’t need to write shit like: “Hard-working student passionate about animal welfare seeking a position that will utilize my awesome communication skills to provide stellar service to Petco customers. You’re trying too hard to impress. Start simple.  Focus on the basics.  Here’s an example.  Imagine a 16 year old boy searching for his first job.  He lists:

1. I want to get laid
2. I’m horny.  I’m hungry.  I’m bored. I’m really horny.  I’m still hungry.
3. I think about sex most of the day. I eat a lot. I don’t do anything when I’m not eating or thinking about sex. I watched porn for 12 hours yesterday. I also ate 5 large pizzas yesterday.
4. I want something to do after school and during weekend. I want money to help me get laid.  I want money to get a car so I can hang out with friends when I want.
5. I want to meet girls.  I want to go out with boss’s daughter, she’s hot.  I want employee discount so I can buy doritos at discount.

So, first draft of the OBJECTIVE:

OBJECTIVE: To find a job that will help me get laid.

It’s primal, it’s honest, it’s *believable.*  It’s better than most objectives I read. Send this out, put it on craigslist RESUMES, and you’ll get more responses than the usual trite bullshit people post. But we can do better.  This is just the first draft.

It’s that simple.  Want a job so you can get away from your mom?  Put that down.  Want clothes?   Sure, why not?  Just get something down.

In Part II, we’ll revise (or not) OBJECTIVE.

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Application Questions 4.0

Our baristas are self-managing, responsible for serving customers, managing bar inventory, prep work, cooking, cleaning, and making juices and smoothies. They’re known for being fast and tough and we aim to develop in them the attitude and work habits necessary for a career in management at other businesses.

They’re expected to develop cooking and customer service instincts rather than follow recipes and scripts. Search for us on Yelp to get a better sense of the quality of our service.  One to two weekend shifts, two weekday shifts.

Application questions below. Research anything you’re not familiar with. Ask yourself what you don’t know about the world and yourself, question your assumptions about how the world operates. Look up unfamiliar terms and names. Don’t try to guess what we’re looking for. Just have fun with the questions. They’re meant to give you an opportunity to be reflective. Don’t try to “outsmart” the questionnaire. We’re just interested in how you think and your approach to solving problems. Bold face your responses. Make it easy for us to read.  Always think about your audience!

Don’t assume you know what we’re looking for. You may be surprised.  If you can recognize the patterns in the questionnaire and you’re interested in the position, then send in your responses. We’re not seeking a superstar.  We’re not superstars.  We’re just seeking someone who gets it.  The rest we can teach.

Also, owner has reputation for being able to detect bullshit very quickly.  Don’t even think about bullshitting.  If he catches you, he’ll break you.

Attach resume and a cover letter w/fewer than 100 words.
————————————–
Earthquake during math class! Big enough to topple bookshelves. Nobody is hurt, everyone is okay, just jittery. What do you, as teacher, do?
a) Stop class, act jittery and anxious because that’s how you feel.
b) Have students clean up mess and continue class as if nothing happened. Assign double amount of homework and quizzes for rest of the week.
c) Stop class, bring in school psychologist to discuss how everyone is handling the event and “post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Why are you so nice?
a) I’m hiding my incompetence by being nice so nobody except jerks call me on it. Nice people don’t get criticized. I can get away with a lot — whining, complaining — as long as I’m nice.
b) If I’m nice to others, they’ll return the favor.  It’ll help me get ahead in life.
c) I’m not, I’m just faking it because I sorta want to fit into civil society.

How many hours a week does the CEO of Walmart work?
a)110
b)70
c)40

How many hours a week does the CEO of Yahoo work?
a)110
b)70
c)40

How many hours a week does Eminem work?
a) 110
b)70
c)30

Your child comes home with a “B” on a Math test. You:
a) Congratulate him for doing a great job.
b) Berate him for not doing better because “B” is for Bitch.
c) Call teacher to ask why her tests are so hard.

Who is overpaid?
a) Microsoft Engineer making $150,000 a year, full benefits, 3 weeks paid vacation,matching 401k.
b) McDonald’s Cook making $10/hour, no benefits, no paid vacation.
c) Police Officer making $80,000 a year, full benefits, 4 weeks paid vacation, lifetime pension after retirement (20 years service).

What does the CEO of Walmart do all day?
a)Figures out new ways to exploit hard workers like me.
b)Sets strategy and vision, negotiates partnerships, builds company culture, and manages supply chains to ensure consumers get what they want when they want it.
c)Bangs his hot secretary.

How often do you experience road rage?
a) Once a day
b) Once a week
c) Never

Why are you so mean?
a) I’m impatient, I get annoyed at people easily.
b) I’m not mean, I’m nice, I don’t like hurting other people’s feelings.  Mean people suck.
c) If I’m not mean, I’ll get stepped on.  They’ll crush me.

Why are you so silly?
a) I’m not silly, you’re the one who is silly.
b) I’m stoned.
c) I don’t see the point in taking life so seriously.  In the end, we’re all going to die.

Why are you so lazy?
a) I’m not lazy.
b) I don’t have enough responsibilities.
c) I have chronic fatigue syndrome.

Why are you so lazy?
a) I get stressed out easily.
b) I’m self-centered and self-absorbed, so I don’t like making sacrifices for others. It’s too much work.
c) I like having fun. I need rest and relaxation.

Why do you work so hard?
a) I have a lot of responsibilities
b) I’m ambitious, I want to do something special
c) I don’t work hard, I’m lazy

Why are your friends boring?
a) They’re not boring. They’re a lot of fun.
b) They never want to try anything new. They talk about and do the same things over and over again. They’re really conventional.
c) I don’t know.

People should be paid based on:
a) Value they produce for business
b) How hard and long they work
c) How difficult and gross the job is.

How many years should you spend in jail?
a) 0
b) 1-3
c) more than 3

Why are you so lazy?
a) I daydream a lot.
b) I’m bored.
c) I make excuses and blame others when something goes wrong.

Who has the most stressful job?
a) Waitress at busy Olive Garden
b) CEO of Walmart
c) Police Officer

What was Eminem likely doing on October 23rd, 2007?
a) Getting high and smacking his hoes
b) Working alone in recording studio, repeating same three lines over and over again.
c) Getting his dick sucked by two of his dancers.

Why are you so stupid?
a) I’m lazy and obedient, so I don’t ask questions.
b) I’m confused and bored, I don’t see the point.
c) I’m not stupid, I’m brilliant!

Why are you so smart?
a)I’m not smart, only stupid people think they’re smart
b)I’ve always worked hard and set the highest standards for myself. I took the most challenging courses and tasks and wouldn’t accept anything less than an “A” at school and at work.
c) I’m naturally smart, it’s God given.

Why do you hate poor people?
a) We hate those we’re afraid of becoming. I’m afraid I’ll become or am one of them
b) I don’t hate them. I want to help them by showing them how to become better, someone more like me.
c) They’re lazy and have bad habits that are ruining society. They’re hopeless.

Why are you not special?
a) I am special. My mom thinks I’m special.
b) I haven’t done anything extraordinary.
c) Everyone is special. We’re all unique.

Why do you get stressed out so easily?
a) Growing up, I was coddled so I never developed mental toughness
b) I don’t like working under pressure
c) I’m not getting enough rest and relaxation.

Why are you so mentally tough?
a) Growing up, my parents never coddled or rewarded me when I got hurt or sick
b) I grew up poor. Humiliation makes one tough.
c) I’m not mentally tough. I’m sensitive, it’s easy to hurt my feelings.

What was Tupak Shakur most likely doing during a typical evening?
a) Reading Dostoevsky novel
b) Drinking his 40 and smacking his hoes
c) Having a threesome and some cocaine.

How many people do you hate?
a) 0
b) 1-5
c) More than 5

What would you do to someone you hate?
a) Fart on them.
b) Get Dark Ages on them, dungeon style
c) Pee on them.

Are you good at researching facts?
a) Yes
b) No
c) Don’t know, you tell me.

OPEN ENDED QUESTION
Person A from age 5 to 25, attends school 6 hours a day, studies 4 hours a day, spends 6 hours of leisure time learning to build and building, with like-minded friends, random things, like a tree house, a bridge, a dog walking robot. A also spends an hour per day daydreaming of building something that will improve world’s standard of living. At age 25, he graduates with a Masters degree in electrical engineering and is offered a salary of $150,000 to work as a product developer for a green tech company. He gets 3 weeks vacation, full benefits. He accepts the position and works 60-80 hours per week, and is expected to be available for phone calls and e-mails during his vacations. He pays Federal Government 30 percent of his earnings.

Person B, from age 5-25, attends school 6 hours a day, studies 1 hour a day, spends 6 hours of leisure time passively watching TV shows and films like Jersey Shore and Twilight, 3 hours a day daydreaming about being wealthy and pampered and adored by everyone. At age 25, he graduates with a degree in Socks, Drugs, and Rock and Roll. Unable to find a job in his field of study, he takes a job as a cashier at McDonald’s, making $10 per hour, 40 hours per week, or $20,000 for the year. He doesn’t have to pay taxes.
Let’s assume one of them is “underpaid.” Which one and why?

Multiple Choice
What did Walmart founder Sam Walton drive?
a)Beat up pickup truck
b)BMW
c)Hummer

I am (choose one):
a)Polite and Obedient
b) Responsible and Dignified
c) Agreeable and Nice

Why are you envious of rich people?
a)I don’t have it in me to work as hard as they do
b)It’s not fair. They screw people over and kiss ass to get where they are.
c) I’m not envious. I admire them.

Why are you so stupid?
a)I don’t know what I don’t know.
b) For the last time, I’m not stupid, I’m brilliant!
c) I don’t ask enough questions.

Open Ended Question

Mary hires Peter and Paul to dig two ditches, assigning one to each. Peter finishes in one hour because he used his latest invention, the super-duper soil remover zapper. Paul, using a shovel, finishes his in 8 hours. How much should Mary pay Peter. How much to Paul? Whom should she hire if she wants a third ditch?

How do poor people talk?
a) They brag about themselves, make themselves seem better than they are.
b) They like to talk a lot about their problems.
c) They talk like desperate victims, begging for help.

How many hours did Peter spend developing his latest invention, the super-duper soil remover zapper?
a) 2, genius comes naturally to him
b) 200, he got a lucky break
c) 2000, innovation is hard work

Why are you so lazy?
a) There’s no point in working hard. Life is unfair, it won’t get me anywhere.
b) Most of my friends are lazy. It’s contagious.
c) I’ve never been exposed to those who work hard, like 100 hours a week.