In the Next 45 Seconds, Your Resume May Not Look So Hot


This is the 18th in a collection of newspaper ads written by Harry Gray, then CEO of United Technologies, that appeared in the Wall Street Journal from the late 1970s through the early 1980s.

You may be proud of how far you’ve come.
But here’s a tough old bird whose score you might have trouble matching.
He not only reached for the stars.
He grabbed a handful.
He was a lawyer.
A Congressman.
A Governor.
An Indian brave.
An Ambassador to the United States.
Commander-in-chief of an army.
President of a republic.
A United States Senator.
And the only American to have one of our ten largest cities named after him.
That’s an achiever!
Take your carefully worded resume out of your drawer and set it aside Sam Houston’s record.
Time’s running out.
You better get moving.

First, I must admit I know very little about Sam Houston, but I will admit he’s got quite an impressive resume.

Here are some other fun facts about Sam Houston, from Wikipedia:

  • Not only was he Governor of Texas, he was also Governor of Tennessee, the only person to have been a governor of two different U.S. states.
  • After moving to Tennessee from Virginia, he spent some time with the Cherokee Nation, and was later adopted as a citizen.
  • He was a leader of the Texas Revolution, and helped to secure its independence from Mexico. As a result, he was elected the first (and third) President of the Republic of Texas.
  • He supported the annexation of Texas to the United States, and in 1845 Texas became part of the U.S.
  • He was also the only governor within a future Confederate state to oppose secession and to refuse an oath of allegiance to the confederacy, a decision that led to his removal from office in 1861.
  • He not only has the fourth largest city in the U.S. named after him, but also a memorial museum, five U.S. naval vessels named USS Houston, a U.S. Army base, a national forest, a historical park, a university, and a prominent roadside statue outside of Hunstsville, Texas.

As Harry Gray notes, a very impressive individual.

But one of the problems Sam may have run into if he was looking for a job today with his resume – recruiters only spend an average of six seconds looking at a resume.

So here are some suggestions from Forbes magazine on how to grab someone’s attention with your resume:

  • call attention to keywords
  • use section headings strategically
  • maximize your company brands
  • don’t hide your quirks

In addition to having an eye-catching resume, it’s also important today to have the following:

  • a complete LinkedIn profile
  • a portfolio of your work, preferably online
  • a network, or in Seth Godin terms, a tribe

But certainly the most important attribute of an effective resume/profile/portfolio, is having accomplished something of note.

So as Harry Gray points out, we need to get moving.

P.S. While Sam Houston certainly has a resume full of impressive accomplishments, I wonder if could he juggle? I’m just looking for something…

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