How to have a Rock Star Resume & Ace the Interview

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resumeAre you ready, ready to rock 'n roll?

Presenting your résumé to a potential employer is not unlike auditioning for a band, so I thought it would be fun to get a few pointers from the Bonnie Raitt of resume-writing, Dayna Steele.

Steele is a former top rock and roll radio deejay and the author of the fantastic how-to book I just read, Rock to the Top: What I Learned about Success from the World's Greatest Rock Stars. A professional motivational business speaker and media consultant, the dynamic Texan entertains live audiences with "Find Your Inner Rock Star: Build a Stage for Success" - based on lessons she learned from personal experience with The Rolling Stones, Van Halen, Def Leppard, and more. (Encore, encore: She is also the creator of Smart Girls Rock and Operation National Anthem.)

Steele's paperback (with backstage photos!) has so much info in it that's broad and all-encompassing, I wanted to bring it down and narrow the focus for this interview; so right here, just for AOL readers, Steele riffs on the "Rock Star Resume".


In the introduction to Rock To The Top, written by none other than Gene Simmons of Kiss, the gist is "work hard." That's like saying "eat less" to those wishing to lose weight. People really don't want to hear that, do they?

Nope – they don't! They really think cool jobs like deejay and rock star just happen...


...But part of working hard is doing your utmost to present a really solid resume. What are your top three tips for a standout rock star resume?

1) Be honest and state the facts

2) Be neat and organized, try to fit it all on one page and,

3) DO NOT use cutsie or designed paper, only good stock resume paper.


I loved the chapter in your book about "Confidence" - the part where you say no performer walks into a room and mumbles, "I'm just a rock star," had me laughing out loud. So, what's the one thing you see on the typical resume that makes the applicant look as though they're auditioning for Wayne's World, scraping at Alice Cooper's feet and chanting, "I'm not worthy"?

Something along the lines of "This is the job I want but I am willing to do anything and negotiate for less money." Well, you know what, you aren't going to get the job you want and whatever you do get, I guarantee it will be for less money. A lot less.


Another big theme in your book is following your passion, and doing what you enjoy. But when you are applying for a new job, you can't always be sure you're going to love it. So, what's a good way to convey passion on your resume without going over the top?

List the facts that are relevant to the job you are pursuing. If you are right for the job, your facts and figures should mirror your passion(s).


Technology is another thing that's essential to know. In Rock to the Top, you talk about rock stars making the most of the advent of downloading music and how the most savvy of them embraced that technology and made it work for them. Any tips on online resumes?

In the contact information, list your Twitter, Skype, IM, Facebook, etc., addresses – if they are relevant and you don't have pictures of you falling down drunk at a party and smoking a bong. The majority of posts on my Twitter page are business articles, comments, advice and the occasional tweet that makes me laugh. I use Twitter as a calling card into my thought process – it gives potential clients in my speaking and consulting business a look into how I think and work.


Now that the resume is rock steady, interviews are sure to follow. You have a lot to say about this, having interviewed hundreds of musicians in your time on the radio. These often come up at the last minute, but you need to at least look as though you know your stuff. So let's suppose I'm applying for a receptionist job at Capitol Records; what could I say in my interview with HR that would make me stand out from everyone else?

You would Google the company and read as much as you could about currents artists and company news as well as the history of Capitol Records and previous artists. Like studying for a final – know it ALL. Then during the interview, you certainly don't want to sound like a know-it-all idiot, but should a subject come up, you can comment intelligently. Or if HR asks you some hypothetical questions, you have company examples to answer with. ALWAYS do your homework before any event, interview, meeting, even a party. You have no excuse with Google. I have a speech to give this afternoon to the Greater Houston Society of Health Care Risk Management professionals. I have spent the last hour looking at their local website, national website and reviewing exactly what health care risk management professionals do. It is not what I do, but when I hit the stage later to speak to 300 people, I will be speaking on their terms but using my rock stories and pictures to make specific points.

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