Resume Tip Tuesday: Lessons From Steve Jobs' Resume

Posted April 28, 2015

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Steve Jobs' Resume

Can you sum up your career in just one page? What about in one line?

If not, check out Steve Jobs's resume for inspiration.

Steve Jobs is famous, of course, for co-founding Apple. But his real genius lay not in coding (he couldn't write code), or engineering (he had no college degree in any technology subject).

He was, however, a phenomenal marketer. Jobs spearheaded the most impressive turnaround in corporate history for a brand, taking the almost-bankrupt Apple and, through a strategic marketing plan, turning it into one of America's most profitable companies to date.

Boosting Apple's advertising budget from $15 million to $100 million at a time when the company's profits were at an all-time low must have sounded like madness to both employees and investors. Yet Jobs' plan succeeded, reinventing Apple as a Lifestyle brand and sending competitors running back to their ad-teams with their financial tails between their legs.

His goal was to make Apple into a product marketing company, rather than a pure technology company. And he succeeded. In the words of Guy Kawasaki, who worked at Apple with Jobs: "Steve was the greatest marketer ever."

So how does this apply to resumes? Creating a resume is, in essence, all about marketing yourself. You are the product: your resume is your advert for you, written by you. You have just one or two pages to sell yourself.

But what to write?

Let's take a look at Job's resume, and see what we can learn from it.

Steve Job's Resume

(Originally posted on Mac.com to show what you could publish with the web app HomePage, part of the iTools suite).

OBJECTIVE:

I'm looking for a fixer-upper with a solid foundation. Am willing to tear down walls, build bridges and light fires. I have great experience, lots of energy, a bit of that 'vision thing,' and I'm not afraid to start from the beginning.

WORK EXPERIENCE:

Apple Computer, Inc, 1997-Present. Helped company to once again create phenomenal products such as iMac, iBook, G4, Powerbook, iTools, iMovie, Mac OSX, iTunes, iPod, iPhoto etc. Part of the team that helped the company to trail-blaze (once again) onto the internet, into 2002 and beyond. We create computers that are fun, powerful, and easy to use.

Pixar Animation Studios, 1986-Present. Discovered a little animation studio that needed a vision. Liked the product so much I bought the company. Pixar is now "the" digital animation studio. We have created and produced half of the top grossing films of all time, including: Toy Story, A Bug's Life, Toy Story 2, and Monsters, Inc.

NeXT Software, Inc, 1986-1997. Founded NeXT Software, Inc, which created really cool hardware that exploited the full potential of Object Oriented technologies. NeXT technologies make programmers' (and users') lives a whole lot easier, thus giving them more leisure time to go catch the next Pixar release. Sold NeXT to Apple in 1997.

Apple Computer, Inc, 1976-1986. Invested heavily in funding start-up company (sold my VW mini-bus). Apple ignited the Personal Computer revolution with "insanely great" products such as the Apple II. Took the company public in 1980 at $22 per share. Later, in 1984, we reinvented the personal computer with the Macintosh. Learned many things, including the 'Dos' and 'Don'ts' for building executive teams. Left in 1986 to decide which step to take NeXT.

EDUCATION:

Reed College, Portland, Oregon. Studied Physics, Literature, Poetry.

SKILLS:

That "vision thing," public speaking, motivating teams, and helping to create really amazing products.

* * *

Steve Jobs' Resume Secrets

1. Keep It Simple

The first thing that really strikes you about Job's resume - like his products - is its simplicity. No yard-long lists of personal skills, no in-depth job description. No boasting, trumpet-blowing or flashy language. Instead, what we get is a compact overview of each company and his place in it, focusing on how he contributed to it's success.

There is genius in simplicity, and this resume is the very epitome of simplicity.

2. Use Humor

Jobs' resume is injected with a healthy dose of self-depreciating humor, which makes him come off as likable and charming. Lines like "Discovered a little animation studio that needed a vision," and "Invested heavily in funding start-up company (sold my VW mini-bus)," hint at a person who sounds - on paper at least - like a fun, feet-on-the-ground person who would mesh well with any company.

3. Inspire Your Reader

Third, Job's resume is inspirational. A person who says that they are "willing to tear down walls, build bridges and light fires" hints at a personality who doesn't fit neatly into the corporate ladder, one who may well break rungs off that ladder to build his or her own. A phrase like this, strategically placed in your resume, will go far to make the hiring manager sit up and pay attention.

4. Express Complex Ideas Simply

Lastly, Jobs has the knack for summing up a complex idea or business in one short, deceptively simple line. Consider the following examples next time you write a paragraph-long summary of exactly what it is that your HR company does:

  • Apple: We create computers that are fun, powerful, and easy to use.
  • Pixar: Pixar is now "the" digital animation studio.
  • NeXT Software: NeXT technologies make programmers' lives a whole lot easier.

Of course, there are few out there among us who are as well-known or globally accomplished as Steve Jobs, who (after all) would never have needed a resume to get a new job. But years after his death in 2011, the lessons he taught the world remain accessible to everyone, ironically enough preserved as digital ghosts in the very machines he created.

That, surely, is the legacy Jobs would have wanted.


Natasha Rhodes is a careers expert and writer for CareerBliss, an online career community dedicated to helping people find happiness in the workplace. Check out CareerBliss for millions of job listings, company reviews, and salary information.

photo of Natasha Rhodes

Natasha Rhodes

Natasha Rhodes is a careers expert and writer for CareerBliss, an online career community dedicated to helping people find happiness in the workplace. Check out CareerBliss for millions of job listingscompany reviews, and salary information.

Other Articles Written by Natasha Rhodes

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