The Truth About Resumes
Here’s the truth about resumes – there’s nothing in the world you can do to make me read your resume if your experience isn’t what I need right now. It is frustrating to see so many articles about how to get a resume noticed, how to guarantee that it gets read, how to separate it from the pack. Even worse are professional resume writers or services that charge candidates hundreds of dollars to write resumes. (I’ve never charged a candidate anything.) I get resumes from candidates who tell me they have used these services and just paid someone x hundred dollars for a phone call, some Q&A, and good formatting in MS Word or Adobe PDF and yes, their resumes are normally well written but it doesn’t matter.
I’m one of the people that all of these articles, guidebooks and professional resume writers target. Their pitch: Get your resume read by headhunters and hiring managers. The problem is that they are completely missing the point. I am not saying that they are con artists or that the articles are wrong – good grammar and proper punctuation are indeed important details. However neither address the fundamental issue: If your resume doesn’t land on the desk of someone who cares then all the fancy formatting and hundred dollar words in the world won’t get it read. In contrast, I can guarantee that if me or any of the hiring manager clients that I work with are looking for you then almost anything you write on your resume will work
Okay, not anything but the point is that the limited time and resources that most people have to spend on searching for jobs is much better spent finding appropriate people to contact. That means identifying people who need your experience and help specifically. If you find people who need your help all your resume has to do is show them that you can do it. It can be a single page with nothing but a bullet list – as long as the right information is in front of the right person at the right time.
Resume writing is not the first step in of a job search. It’s the third step. What are the first two? Figuring out your value proposition (number one) and finding the people who value it (number two). Writing a resume without doing the first two means ignoring your customers. What do we think of businesses that ignore their customers?
(Photo: “You talkin’ to me?” Tarifa, Spain 2012)