Telling Your Story with a Mini Resume
This is the fourth in a series of posts on how to use AngelList and tell a better story at scale.
AngelList is an ocean of activity and opportunity. People see emerging market trends, find a co-founder, raise money, recruit team members and discover partnership opportunities. AngelList’s graph is the connective tissue across all of these activities. This post extends my thinking on company profiles to people and their personal stories.
Two features make the AngelList graph incredibly valuable. First, the graph is transactional. Companies sell shares and investors buy them. AngelList makes money by sharing upside with investors. Talented developers and designers look for jobs and startups pay AngelList for premium services and access. AngelList is both a social graph and a marketplace. They feed on each other and create a powerful network effect.
Second, the graph is validated. When someone says that she worked at Company X, the founders of Company X get an email and are asked to confirm. Same goes for investors and their portfolio companies, and advisors and so on. While imperfect (especially for large companies), the validation maintains integrity.
There are two parts to your personal story on AngelList: a profile and your mini-resume. Filling out your profile is just a matter of porting your LinkedIn profile over to AngelList. This post focuses on the mini resume because most people overlook its importance.
After writing our mini resume, we never see it, yet it is our driver’s license on AngelList. You carry it everywhere on the site to succinctly impart context. Like sailing in open waters, everyone on AngelList is looking for landmarks and waypoints to make decisions about where to click next. Writing a good mini-resume will connect you to more interesting people and companies.
A good mini-resume explains your role, shows that you get sh*t done, and lets people know that you are intelligent. For founders, it should also convey founder/market fit.
If you are early in your career and feel like you are missing pithy achievements, do not fret. The Y Combinator application popularized the fact that many great ideas begin as hacks outside a formal workplace. Describing side projects or hacks requires a little creativity, but there are couple of tricks to help.
Make sure you quantify what you’ve achieved. Without a recognizable company name, numbers are great validators. Avoid the bigger is always better trap. Be honest and make sure the magnitude is intuitive. Another trick is to attach a time period to it. Having done something for a longer period of time suggests a deeper interest and higher level of mastery.
The last part of a short-bio is letting people know that you are smart. I think we over-value college rankings, but that misses the point. Having a college degree from a good university still carries weight and, more importantly, attaches you to a network. Also, if you are technically trained it makes sense to mention your major.
Good luck telling your story. Remember to update your profile regularly and stay curious.