Mastering a Bottom Line, Top Line Approach

mastering a bottom line, top line approachCollege isn’t easy.  You’re learning everything all at once, being tested on it, writing essays about it, organizing group projects about it, and then you’ve got to do laundry, make dinner and maintain an acceptable level of personal hygiene.  You may also have a job, internship, children or some combination of the three.  While your instructors may get mad about the question, “Is this going to be on the exam?” it might be the only way you keep your sanity.

So, here’s the bottom line: Just worry about the top line of your resume.  That’s it.  The average interviewer only looks at each resume for 6 seconds.  That’s nothing.  That’s why your goal is to have a top line that makes people want to learn more.  Something interesting and novel that no one else has. Deliver a cool project.  Put together a show.  Get elected to something.  Make a top line.

The same thing is true about each class.  Look at the top line of the course.  Could you hold a conversation for a minute or two on the title of the course?  If so, you have what you need for the interview.  Is there an exam coming up?  Write the top line of each section in each chapter on note cards.  That’s the most important material, so study it first.  You’ll never learn the whole subject, so get ready for the top line.

If you’ve got the top line approach down pat, it’s time to start thinking of the bottom line.  The bottom line is where everything gets summed up.  On your resume, how would you summarize your experience, education and personal goals?  Find a way to summarize yourself in a sentence, then a one-minute version.  Now you’re ready for an interview even if you didn’t know you were going to have one today.

Once you get the hang of top line, bottom line, it’s time to take a look at your money.  Top line – what is your financial situation?  “I have a checking account, which I try to keep above zero as often as possible” is a fine answer for now.  What would you like the top line to read?  How about: “I have a checking account, which hasn’t hit zero for six months” or “I have a checking account that stays above zero and a savings account with enough money to cover a minor automobile emergency” or even “I have a checking account, and I’m putting enough into a Christmas Club account to get a new laptop next year”?

Now for the bottom line:  Are you doing enough to get there?  What if you put away $25 per month? You’d have at least $300 at this time next year.

And, if you’re not sure what to bottom line or top line, go to the next job fair at your school. Ask them about the best resumes they see, then borrow those ideas and make them your own.  You don’t get a ton of points for originality, but take the same philosophy toward money:  You may not get extra credit for a novel budget plan, but come see us and we’ll set you up with a tried and true path.


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