As a job seeker, it is easy to get swayed by all “the résumé is dead” kind of posts you see online. Adding to that the differences of what is taught in many of the universities and technical colleges today about what a résumé is and should look like adds to the job seeker’s confusion and often, frustration.
As a professional résumé writer, you might expect me to defend the traditional résumé and not even look at any options. However, you would be wrong. I do believe that the résumé is a critical element in your job search, but it is just that, one critical element, one part of a job seeker’s arsenal which needs robust companions such as savvy use of social media, networking, and excellent job search research strategies.
Why I believe you need to start with the résumé
When you think like a professional résumé writer, you will be looking at the résumé and the development of the résumé as an opportunity to fully explore the target for your résumé and what attributes you have to fit the target. This process of self-discovery you use to develop the résumé helps you build the base for the rest of your job search.
Common résumé mistakes
- Many job seekers try for a one-size-fits-all résumé and fail to realize that the résumé should be tailored to meet the role you expect to play. If you are only looking for Operations Management positions in a specific field, you can repurpose that résumé for different applications. But when you change your focus to another field or industry, you may need totally different keywords and accomplishments.
- Duties versus value. Just this afternoon, I was talking to a student who was working on her résumé as a class assignment. The sentence or two that she had written to detail her job did little to capture the 14 years she had worked in manufacturing. She wrote down duties but it didn’t take much probing to discover that as a quality assurance inspector, she had a near perfect record throughout her tenure. Suddenly she started to see her value and that put writing her résumé in a totally different light.
- Focusing too much on the automated side of the résumé application and not enough on the writing side. When you concentrate on creating your résumé for the automated systems, rather than creating the résumé story, you find yourself missing other opportunities to create the value-infused stories that will get you hired.
How the résumé will impact the other elements in your job search
Once you have created a rich résumé to showcase your value and accomplishments, you will have even more information about what you bring to the table to use when you create your LinkedIn profile and other social media profiles. You will also have stories to use in reaching out to networking contacts to explain how you can be a solution to a company’s problems and find a back door to the job you want. When you are called for your interview, you can reference the résumé as well as the additional research you did to prepare for this position and give quantifiable and detailed specifics to demonstrate your value.
By creating that résumé that everyone seems to think should die, you started yourself thinking of your value, your contributions, and how you can be an asset to a company. You have started the journey to thinking of yourself as the product in this career marketing journey that you have begun and it all began with the résumé.
What are your resume problems?