Lessons from 50 mentoring sessions
This week I did my 50th session mentoring designers and PMs with ADPList. So many of them are talented and creative people who don’t know how to shine on a resume or they lack the confidence to tell us how great they are. My job is to be very direct and help them spotlight their potential. Here is the advice I’ve given the most:
Every time I see “Hi, I’m…” on a portfolio I can’t help but roll my eyes. I see that you are passionate about customers but we all are because it’s our job. What can you bring to the team? What is special about you? Why do we want you?
Let’s say you are transitioning from finance to product, I would target Fintech and show how you can get up to speed quickly and find opportunities others may not recognize. Are you a designer with a data science background? I want that, put it right on the top.
Clear the clutter
Indeed says recruiters look at a resume for six to seven seconds which makes me feel better about how little time I spend. Most resumes and portfolios I’ve reviewed are hard to read. We spend a lot of time reworking key points to make them short, clear and emphasize business results.
Focus on your audience and the decision they are trying to make
Sometimes recruiters know your function well. More often the same person is recruiting for design, finance and sales so they need help understanding how your experience lines up with the job description.
As a hiring manager the first decision I’m making is if I want to talk to you for 30 minutes and it doesn’t cost me much so if it’s a maybe, it’s a yes.. After the initial conversation I need to decide if there is enough promise to invest in a panel. Only after the panel gives the feedback does a hiring decision get made.
Peers and stakeholders often dive deeper and look for more specifics. I’m a softy so my team knows they need to be more discerning. They spend a lot more time on the portfolio, case studies or experience. They are looking for very specific, concrete answers and I’ve seen many of them mark a candidate down for not answering questions.