The Resume… Not What You Think It Is
Years ago, I began one of my business presentations with
this statement: “A resume does not get you a job.” The room of professionals
looked at me like I was an idiot.
While I did get their attention, it was probably not the attention I should have tried to get. I was immediately on the defensive, and I spent the next hour trying to restore the trust that I had immediately broken. As I write these words, I feel as if I’m reliving that moment all over again. Why? Because I feel the same way about the resume as I did then… but my opinion has grown even stronger.
A resume does not get you a job!
Yes, I said it. I’ll say it again: a resume does not get you a job. A resume is supposed to get you an interview. A job offer and an interview are two very different things. If you write your resume trying to get an offer, then you will never get an interview; and let’s face facts, if you do not get an interview, that means that your resume was sorted into the “no pile”- aka the career graveyard.
So what’s the difference between writing a resume for an interview versus writing a resume for a job offer? Simply put- resumes written for interviews focus on the position requirements… and resumes written for job offers focus on the individual person.
Aren’t I Supposed to Show How Special I am as an Individual?
· No! 100% of your resume should be focused on the job, not you. The employer is looking for a “best fit”. The employer does not want someone special at this stage of the competition. The employer is not looking for an individual. The employer is looking for (a) a profession on paper who is the same type of job title as the job he/ she is trying to fill, and (b) someone who fully meets the requirements of the job. If that profession is evaluated on paper, then that piece of paper goes into the “yes” pile. You get to be an individual at the interview stage. That’s when you dazzle the employer with how special you are.
What Do You Mean by “Position Requirements”?
· A job requires education, experience, and skills (i.e. job requirements). When an employer is hiring to fill a position, then he/ she advertises the title and the requirements… and hopes that a whole bunch of “qualified” people apply. Simply out, a job requires x, y and z, and he/ she is then evaluating resumes to see if a person has x, y and z. Remember, if your resume does not clearly and easily show that you have x, y and z…. then you will be going into the “no” pile. Employers do not hire potential. Employers hire “best fit”- which means that resume “checks the boxes” in terms of meeting the requirements of the job.
How am I Supposed to Stand Out from the Competition?
· This is where you have to trust me that if you focus on writing a resume that clearly and effectively shows that you meet the x, y and z of the job… you will stand out from the competition!!! 95% of resumes that I evaluated in my career either (a) were so muddy with unclear information that it was impossible to assess, or (b) showed so much individuality that the person eliminated themselves from meeting the job requirements. Your resume is meant to get an interview! You get an interview when you meet the requirements of the job. The resume is all about the job. If you make your resume about you… you muddy the waters. Keep your resume focused on the job and only the job.
Did I convince you? I hope so. But if I didn’t, I get the only true test of a resume is if when you apply to a job, you get a phone call for an interview. If you are reading this article, I’m betting that your phone stays silent more than it rings. And if you’ve gotten this far in the article, maybe its time to turn your resume into a “job profile” versus a marketing tool of your unique skill set. Make the employer have to call you because you check every box that the job requires!!! Then use that old resume you created as a great study tool to help you prepare for the interview- which is the perfect time to show your individuality, your uniqueness, and your value to the employer.
If you’d like a free evaluation of your current resume, email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Take care, happy job hunting, and may I wish you every success in your career.