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Gone are the days of the BCS. The College Football Playoff is here, and if last night’s selection committee rankings were any surprise to you, you are not alone. Despite the surprises, the idea to implement a new playoff system, emphasizing the strength of each team’s schedule, makes perfect sense. However, it raises the question:
Are the top four teams really the top teams in the nation?
While stewing on this, an interesting question came to mind; like the top four teams, do the top job applicants always make the cut? We can all agree that they don’t, but they have a better shot than most. So how do you get that shot? How do you become a “top” applicant? To answer these questions, you need to think like a team battling for a spot in the College Football Playoff. You need to ask yourself:
Is my résumé strong enough to launch me into the interview playoffs?
Let’s take a look at some résumé tips and how they relate to the Selection Committee’s decision.
1. Make a great first impression. College football teams don’t have the luxury of stating their case in the same fashion applicants do. Still, college football fans are impressed by strength of schedule and wins-losses. Take Alabama for instance. Alabama’s sitting at 7-1, and Jeff Sagarin ranks their current strength of schedule at #3. Those numbers make for a great first impression.
Like Alabama, your résumé needs to jump off the page, or it’s going in the reject pile. Want to make a great first impression? Follow these 25 résumé tips to help make a great first impression.
2.Tell your story. Mississippi lost to LSU last Saturday, but here’s the story they’d tell the Selection Committee: “Yes, we lost a game, but we lost on the road to the (currently) #16 team in the nation. Plus, we play in the SEC West, arguably the toughest division in college football.”
If you think your résumé is simply a factually correct, chronological list of all your prior jobs and education, it's time for a revamp. A good résumé tells a story about who you are and why a job is right for you. Like Mississippi, you need to tell a great story if you want to be selected. Here’s how to tell a great résumé story from The Ladders: How Your Résumé Can Tell Your Story.
3. Highlight what’s most impressive. In making their case for the 4 team playoff, Oklahoma, which has two losses and five wins, might highlight their strength of schedule (#11) rather than their win-loss record. Michigan State might do the opposite, highlighting their seven wins and their one loss against (currently) # 5 Oregon, while downplaying their strength of schedule (#63).
When writing your résumé, you want to highlight the aspects of your background that will be most impressive to a particular employer. Check out these tips on how to best highlight your résumé skills.
4. Don't be afraid to make some “cuts” (on material that is). The top four teams won’t be shy about cutting their “lesser” games. For instance, Florida State has a 37-12 win against a 2-6 Citadel team. Putting that on Florida State’s résumé won’t impress the Selection Committee. The Seminoles would be smart to cut it from their playoff argument.
Similarly, most résumés need to be “cut” because they have way too much stuff in them. And when you cut, cut mercilessly. If you include extraneous junk, it distracts the reader from the good stuff. Start by cutting these 5 things from your résumé.
5. What can you do for me? Each week, a “team” of others ranks the best 25 college football teams in the country. These others include the Associated Press and college football coaches, both of which have a Top 25 Poll. Today, Mississippi State is ranked #1 in both polls, meaning it has two “teams” - the press and the coaches - advocating for its place in the College Football Playoffs.
In your job search, find a team of advocates. Trying to get into a new company can be disastrous unless you ask a friend or former co-worker. Pulling a few strings may help you better tell your story. As reported in Forbes, networking is still the best way to find a job.
6. Remember, the point is to WIN. For college football teams, the opportunity to “talk” is on the field. Right now, both Oregon and Michigan State have a 7-1 record so which team deserves to be in the College Football Playoff? Oregon’s answer, “We do because we beat Michigan State 46-27.”
A résumé is designed to pique interest. When you get an interview, you’ve won because you get to speak with the hiring manger. Once you’ve won with your résumé, try these 7 interview tips to help you win the job.