Towards the end of university I got interviewed for almost every internship I applied for after I added a very basic section to my resume. This feature caught the eye of my internship advisor as she proofed my resume, and seemingly every hiring manager who laid eyes on it afterwards.
“Little known facts about Jeff Graham,” my advisor said with a quizzical, but entertained, look on her face. “This is awesome!” She said as she scanned the list. “Is it ok with you if I recommend this to other students?”
A “Little Known Facts About You List” is Catnip for Hiring Managers
Each time I’ve used this “Little Known Facts” list, it’s either been the first or last line of questioning in the interview.
“Did you really give the American Ambassador to Canada a VIP tour and not know who he was?” Was a question I got immediately after first shaking hands with a hiring manager. “So let’s hear some of those celebrity impressions.” Is a request I got at the end of an interview once.
A lot of people try to stress how smart, qualified, friendly and hard-working they are on their cover-letters and resumes. I would argue that those four qualities can be conveyed relatively easily, but that it’s far more difficult to show what makes you a unique and engaging person to work with. A “Little Known Facts About You” list can do just that.
Here’s my updated list below:
Little Known Facts about Jeff Graham (Updated for 2014)
- I am one quarter Icelandic, and my Grandmother was able to trace our family history back to Icelandic nobility (pictured).
- I gave Paul Cellucci a VIP tour of Rogers Arena and didn’t realize he was the American Ambassador to Canada until I saw him on the Cover of the National Post two days later.
- I failed Grade One in rather dramatic fashion. My marks were so bad that my teacher remarked to my parents: “not everyone can be an academic.”
- I was 6’1, 190 lbs at 12-years-old and could grow a full beard.
- I am an excellent celebrity impersonator, and can credibly imitate over 40 voices, including Yoda, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Smeagol and Hulk Hogan.
- I met my wife at the same hotel where my dad proposed to my mom 28 years earlier (The Fairmont Palliser in Calgary, AB). What makes this even stranger is that my wife was living in Dartmouth, NS and I lived in Vancouver, BC at the time.
- I starred as “Aubrey 2” the man-eating-plant in a high-school production of “Little Shop of Horrors”.
- I was voted most humorous in my high-school graduating class.
- I once met Elijah Wood and didn’t realize who he was. If he had introduced himself as Frodo Baggins I would have clued in.
- I have titanium in my jaw, right elbow, and right femur from three different sports injuries.
This Type of List has Worked Well For Everyone I Know That’s Tried It
You might say “yeah, works great for you, but not for me.” The thing is, everyone I’ve recommended this to has come back to thank me and tell me how well it worked. The general feedback I get is that it’s playful, but not goofy. It cuts the tension in the interview, and provides some great talking points for the hiring manager.
In short, the list helps make you a more interesting candidate, and gives the hiring manager some important insight into you as a person… which is exactly what you want.
It’s really hard to differentiate your resume from the pack, and if you’re having a hard time landing an interview, this might help you stand out!