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The RODEO Resume

Updated: Dec 9, 2020

The steel bars of the chute are the only things keeping 1500 pounds of muscle and horns from destroying everything in its path. The cowboy adjusts the strap of his helmet and his grip on the rope, prays to God that he can hang on for 8 seconds and nods for the tornado to begin. CLANK!!! The gate opens and the monster bull rages...


While the reading of your resume by a recruiter may hold slightly less drama than a PBR event, the results are maybe even more important. If your resume doesn't have the right keywords and tell the right story of accomplishment, character, skill, leadership, and progression in the 7.4 seconds scientists say recruiters and hiring managers give our resume, then you might end up in the dirt of the arena.

There are 5 key areas to creating a winning Rodeo Resume. Here they are:


  1. Superpower. This is what you do. Leaping buildings in a single bound. Developing teams to perform. Translating complex Vision Statements into executable operational plans. If I can't see your superpower from your resume, I might not be convinced you are my answer.

  2. Keywords. Both the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) used by most companies to manage the incoming applications of candidates and the search terms used by recruiters to find you on sites like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Ziprecruiter are driven by keywords. Those keywords need to be relevant, early and often in your resume to "out-score" other candidates to give you a shot at an 8-second ride.

  3. Title Call-out. This is the area directly below the contact info and name at the top of the resume. It should have a clear, bold title which explains exactly what you do. It doesn't matter if your company calls your position "Grand Poobah of Fantastical Ideas", you need to call yourself whatever it is that most closely aligns to industry and the company you are applying to. Following the title is a 4-line summary, which includes size/scope of your position and leadership, distinguishing characteristics and accomplishments, credentials and certifications. Include keywords. Don't inflate.

  4. Highlights. These are 3 or 4 specially curated bullet points (best in the SILVER Bullet (TM) format, contact me for details) featuring a challenge, actions, methodologies/tools, values/characteristics and quantifiable results ($, time, process, awards, etc.).

  5. Interests & Affiliations. What?! How could these fit the 8-second Rodeo Resume format? The secret that many experienced recruiters and hiring managers haven't told you is that the stuff at the very end of your resume is a great opportunity to connect on a personal level. "Oh, you went to State as well? Oh, you were a college athlete? Me too! Hey, I serve at the food bank too!" These connections humanize your application, and can make the difference between the short list and the circular file.

If you can master these 4 areas of your resume, then I think there's only one thing left to say...


COWBOY UP!!!!




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