Your Resume is Mostly Useless
Many job-seekers spend time, worry and money on their resume, trying very hard to make them perfect. They agonize over each line and each word. What makes it worse is everyone thinks they are a resume expert. Headhunters say one thing. HR professionals say something else. Your brother-in-law thinks he has the perfect resume style. There are thousands of templates on the Internet, in bookstores, and even on MS Word. How can you know which one is right? A dirty little secret that nobody wants you to know is that your resume is mostly a waste of time. Very few positions are obtained with resumes. Most of my clients very rarely even pull their resume out of their briefcases. And this is how it should be if one is looking for the very best jobs. Now, at some point in the job search process, the HR people are going to need a resume, so you’d better have one. They, being the ticky little linear thinkers that they are, want to have a resume nicely arranged in standard reverse chronological order. Have a copy of that ready to give to HR. But don’t use it for real people. In fact, if you’re an executive, you should very rarely give out a resume to anyone but the HR people. Here is why you should very rarely use a resume in ten easy lessons.
- Using a resume gives an employer a chance to reject you before they’ve even seen you. A resume is very rarely a good reflection of you as a person. Many very good people are rejected on their resume.
- Your resume cannot give a good picture of your professional career. A resume is a snapshot, not a video. It only concentrates on certain areas of your skills and knowledge.
- It goes to the personnel people. HR is your worst enemy. For more explanation as to why, read my post in ColoradoBiz Magazine. HR isn’t happy when I say this, and I’ll get nasty emails and comments, but it is true. If you can bypass HR until after you’ve spoken with the person who will be your boss, you’re going to be much better off and have a much better chance of getting the job!
- Sending out resumes gives you the illusion that you’re doing something about your job search. This will often keep you from doing things that are actually useful for your job search.
- Posting your resume everywhere is a really good way to lower your offer. You will get to be known as someone who is desperate for a job, and will take any money that you are offered.
- You get to be known as someone desperate for a job. In addition to the above, being known as a desperado does not help you get a job. People rarely want to hire people who are desperate for a job.
- You waste time fiddling with it. I know executives who have spent whole days messin’ with their resume. These are wasted days!
- You have tons of competition for any job you have to send in a resume for. And there are a thousand other people just like you, who have the illusion that they have the “perfect” resume. It’s like playing the lottery. Too many people count on winning the lottery to “make them rich.” If they put as much energy into learning and practicing the tools for creating wealth, they’d be wealthy other ways that don’t count on buying a little ticket and competing with millions of others to chase a state-sponsored gambling racket. It is the same with sending resumes. You’re gambling and hoping that you’ll be the lucky one.
- A resume lets companies bypass human beings. All they often do is feed your resume into a document scanner and search for keywords. If you haven’t happened to put the right keywords in the right place on your resume…you’re dead. Your resume then goes to line a birdcage or be shredded for hamster bedding or some other useful function.
- A hiring authority will probably never see it. Even if you address it to a hiring authority, it is likely to be either sent to a) HR (see above) or b) discarded by an admin. The chances of a hiring authority seeing it if you email it to him or her is even lower.