On Amazon there is no less than 2,190 books on writing a ‘job resume’. You’d think they were the key to getting a job. It’s just an illusion. You are told that a resume prepares you to go and charm a recruiter, convince a head hunter, inspire awe in the HR executive.
Well, this dream is a crowded one! It is shared by all the qualified individuals who are after the same job you are pining your hopes on!
“When it comes to effective job-hunting, a resume is not your best tool.”
Fact or Story?
Let’s take a moment to think about what is the purpose of a resume.
- Is it to land a job?
- Get an interview?
- To sell yourself?
- All of the above?
Regardless of the purpose of the resume, your goal is to further your career, let’s never lose sight of this.
Wikipedia defines a resume as a document that contains related job experience and education. Unfortunately resumes have become the de facto standard in job-hunting. There are significant assumptions that come with the use of resumes that should be questioned.
- Do resumes effectively demonstrate how, through out the career, a candidate will solve a problem at a new employer?
- Does past experience in one work environment necessarily predict the future performance in another?
- If a candidate wants to transition industries, will their resume hold back the career switch or benefit?
- Are resumes factually precise or stories designed to sell?
The art of crafting a resume is like the polishing of a diamond. We all want to look perfect, but none of us are. This is why interviewers spend hours chipping away at the facade of the resume to accurately assess the candidate sitting across from them. While a resume can be useful in some situations, it’s a tool that’s been stretched to fit too many purposes and has subsequently lost its value.
Why job-hunt in a puddle?
Recently a job-hunter approached me to review his resume. The first thing I asked was, “Why?” He looked stunned. “What do you mean?” he asked. When someone uses a resume to look for a job, it’s an indicator that they are looking for jobs in the smallest, most competitive part of the job market – the market of advertised jobs (4%). Job-hunters spend most of their time on job boards, company websites and job fairs, not knowing that they are looking at a fraction of the total jobs available.
Did you know that 46% of men and 39% of women find their career boosting jobs through networking? The greater the income, the more effective networking becomes.
Since we are rarely taught the best practices of job-hunting, it’s no surprise that most of us do it the same way. Even though there are thousands of book on “resume writing” and “job hunting” the majority seem to push in the same direction, beat the same beaten path, and get stuck in the same rut!
We are led to think that the advertised job market is the total job market.
We are led to think we need to compete for jobs.
We are led to think the ticket of entry to the job market is a well-crafted resume. Yet, not long ago both the Wall Street Journal and Forbes wrote that 50-80% of the jobs available are unadvertised.
“50-80% of the jobs available are unadvertised.”
With the majority of the job market not posted online, an unconventional job-hunting strategy is required. One that is easier than the traditional approach. One that doesn’t involve competition, rejection, a network or even a resume!
Job-hunting without a resume
If a resume isn’t the key to landing a job what is? Hiring managers are looking for candidates that can solve a specific problem and do it well. They want to know about a candidates talents, interests and work environment preferences. They want to know if a candidate has the required qualities and that they are exceptional at doing them. Why bury this in the white space in a resume? Instead I recommend highlighting it in a one-pager called the Career Outline.
The Career Outlines summaries the talent a candidate brings to a role and what will make them become exceptional in your role. I’ve often been told by hiring managers that the Career Outline is the interview notes that every employer wishes they had.
The Career Outline is your key to easily getting meetings with hiring managers in the unadvertised job market. It works particularly well if you’re uncertain about what your next career move should be. I recommend students of my approach, to use the career outline to ask contacts for advice not for jobs. By presenting the Career Outline to hiring managers during these advice meetings, my students get access, insights, and referrals that resumes prevent.
If you’re still not convinced a resume has met its end. Consider these statistics:
- There is an average of 118 applicants who apply for every job opening posted
- 58% of Employers Have Caught a Lie on a Resume, according to Career Builder.
- Average time spent looking at a CV is 5-7 seconds
It’s important to use the right tool for the task of getting a job. Take the time to step back and assess your job-hunting strategy before selecting the tool, your career depends on your next moves. Chances are you’ll see the resume isn’t the right one.
Thanks for reading.
– Ian Jenkins