Silicon Valley Vet Explains Why You Should Not Focus On Beautifying Your Resume


Silicon Valley veteran Jenny Lefcourt has spent the last 20 years of her professional career in the valley. She has successfully crossed the river from being a startup founder to being a funder. Today she offers a great advice to young entrepreneurs who are starting up that applicants, aspiring founders and even young interns and job seekers would find useful. That great advice is to be wary of the downside of a beautiful resume.

As a founder, Lefcourt knows that while you're on a bootstrap, you have to make do with whatever you have to keep things going until you get funding. Once investors start coming in, things will change and you will want to build the best team for your business.

This is where she has often made regretful decisions that have been costly. In Jenny's opinion, there are big-company people and there are startup people, not to categorize their place of work but rather describes their attitude and motivation.

Startup people think more like the founder - they want the company to win. They value work for work's value and how it will help build the business. They don't really care much about earning the credit as long as the impact is felt by the whole team and it all drives them to work better and harder.

On the other hand, big-company people tend to focus on power, status and security. They value being better than their peers and not making mistakes, focusing more on their titles and the authority they have over others.

Lefcourt offers these pointers for startups looking to hire someone when they come across a really impressive resume:

Learn their story

Get to know the applicant and their story. Understand what motivates them and drives their decisions. Ask questions like why they left a previous job, or why they decided to change their careers or why the college major they took is not aligned with their professional experience.

Such questions will let the hiring startup have a glimpse into the applicant's personality. Does he blame circumstances for his decisions, how he handled difficult situations and even failure?

If you are the applicant, you have to expect and prepare to answer questions like the ones mentioned above, remember that more than hiring a new member of the team, the company is building its dream team. They would want to invest in people who can grow the business and take it to the next level. Convince them that you are the person they are looking for.

Understand their talent or skill

Hiring startups have to be sure they understand exactly what was the applicant's role in the big company he or she worked for and what are the exact contributions and achievements he or she has made for that business. 

Make sure that they have the capabilities to deliver on the claims stated in their resume and that it wasn't because of some stroke of luck that they were able to hit targets, meet quotas and exceed other expectations.

Now, if you're the applicant, be sure that you do have all the skills that you indicated in your resume. A fancy title and an established brand or company will not automatically get you the job.

You're going to have to present your work experience and accomplishments very well. If you've never worked before, make sure that you have substantial experience related to the job from an internship or from working as a volunteer.

Find time to look for the right hire

Startups are fast-paced environments and the list of things that needs to get done to build traction and keep the momentum going adds up each day. Lefcourt advises young entrepreneurs that while being methodical and going about hiring rigorously will definitely take time, founders have to make time for it.

Finding the right hire is as important to getting all those things in your startup to-do list done. The results of making the wrong decision of hiring someone can only mean more work.

As for applicants, whether you've worked for several years or someone who just finished college, take your cue from Lefcourt. The recruiters, hiring managers and employers are doing their job to find the right person.

Aside from crafting a really nice resume, you should also work hard to be that right person they should hire.

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