Over the past year, we’ve worked with a number of clients who, to their surprise and dismay, are experiencing hyper-extended (12 months or more) unemployment.
Stated one new client: “I just assumed I’d land a new job in 4 or 5 months. I was sending hundreds of resumes and no one was calling. I’m working part-time at a grocery store in the evenings now, and never expected to be in this position. It’s been 14 months.”
While we spotted some fundamental issues with the resume that have helped our client start to see activity, the resume is but one branch of the entire personal marketing campaign of job search. We’ve outlined the 2 key misconceptions of what a resume does below.
2 Things Your Resume Won’t Do
1: Get you a job.
A resume gets you an appointment with someone to discuss a job. We have never heard of anyone who received a call from a valid employer saying,” We saw your resume, you start tomorrow.”
Think of your resume as a shortened marketing brochure, or expanded calling card. Outline your skills, your history of practical and quantifiable application of those skills, pertinent information that defines your abilities and cultural fit, key achievements, publications, patents – work-related value added information - and that’s it.
This is not to say that the resume is not a highly personalized document; it allows you to manage the interview and articulate more effectively by pointing to those topics on which you are an expert, however, the key here is “interview more effectively.” The resume gets you an interview, not a job.
2: Make up for a poorly written cover letter or lack of employer research
Excerpt from an interview with Senor Recruiter Paula Goodman of Columbia University (from SixFigureStart)
“…Cover letters are important here. They need not be long, but they need to be specifically tailored to the job.”
No matter how well-prepared your resume, a generic, “Dear Sir or Madam” cover letter just doesn’t cut it.
If you are mass emailing generic cover letters and resumes, stop it. It doesn't work.
If you are responding only to Job Boards, and while job posting boards are a good part of your overall campaign, this approach should be only a part of your search strategy, and you must still customize your introductory letter and resume to the position.
87% of new positions are found through a combination of deep research and networking; this is “active” job search as opposed to “passive”. A passive approach is when you put your information out there and hope for a call - it's a deceptive time-eater, and there is little ROI in passive approaches to search.
If you focus on very specific companies where you know you are a fit, and watch those companies for career creation events - recent employees who have left, top management changes, new product releases, new facility or leased space transactions, new funding, new contracts, etc.- and then approach with a highly customized letter and resume defining your skills, accomplishments, value proposition and cultural fit, you will not be competing against 500 other people. You may not be competing with anyone at all.
If you don't have access to a research database, start with LinkedIn Company information, Yahoo Finance and Google. Dig deep - don't just read the company's website. Study their competitors and approach them too.
At RescueResumes.com, we do offer an affordable subscription research service, but these types of full research/CRM databases may not fit in everyone's budget, so if your budget is tight, use the free services and dig.
Research the people, participate in a positive and professional way in the groups (face-to-face if possible and web-based) they participate in. Follow them on LinkedIn, Twitter & Facebook, and read what they are reading, understand their pain points and need.
Demonstrate your expertise, and watch for an event that signals new opportunities. Then make your case to the most senior level person you can in your functional area with a highly customized cover letter and resume.
While doing the above, certainly keep an eye on job boards, and keep in mind that there is often enough information posted for you to take the next step and not only highly customize your response, but do more thorough research on the target as well.
Please don't hesitate to ask if you have a question here in the comments section, or want us to write a blog article on a specific question - we love to provide helpful information. Invite us to connect on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook too.