Updating Your Resume Is Not The First Step

Not surprisingly, I’ve had a LOT of conversations recently with people who’s employment status is in jeopardy. Most of these conversations start with the question, “Do you know someone who can help me updated my resume?” or “Will you take a look at my resume?”

No. Just no.

Why? Let’s break down what your resume’s “job” is for a second.

It’s “job” is to help you get into the consideration set of someone who might want to hire you. And the systems – yes, an algorithm is looking at your information first – and then the people deciding if you should be part of the consideration set are scanning. They are scanning for keywords and phrases. And if your keywords and phrases don’t match what they’re looking for, then in the “no” pile you go. Oh, and I hate to be a downer here, but the average job gets 250 applicants per job.

Here are some of the other slightly horrifying statistics about the current hiring process:

  • On average, each corporate job offer attracts 250 resumes. Of those candidates, 4 to 6 will get called for an interview, and only one will get the job.
  • Recruiters take an average of six seconds to scan a resume.
  • What recruiters want from job seekers:
    • Resumes Tailored to the Open Position – 63%
    • Skill Sets Listed First on a Resume – 41%
    • Cover Letters – 40%
    • Application Addressed to the Hiring Manager – 22%
    • Links to Personal Blogs, Portfolios, or Websites – 16%
  • 41% of employers say that they might not interview a candidate if they can’t find them online.
  • 50.5% of recruiters say social media has changed their recruiting results.
  • 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn to check candidates, but only 43% use Facebook and 22% Twitter

I could go on. But what do these numbers tell you? That you need a portfolio approach to getting your next job. Specifically, you need to think about the array of “marketing” materials customized to share how awesome you are and why any hiring manager would be lucky to have you join their team.

Your resume does a TERRIBLE job of sharing how awesome you are, the same way a nutritional label tells you how tasty the contents of the container will be. 

So what do you do?

Well, let’s start with a bit of a re-frame, shall we?

If you’re looking for a job, then you’re trying to get someone else to hire the Future You. And their decision to choose you is based on their confidence that the Future You will be able to take your past experiences and figure things out with the context of the new situation.

So the first thing you should be doing is figuring out who that person is. Who is the Future You? I know, such a simple question that is weirdly very hard to answer. 

And now you know who that person is, what could the Future You do?

And now that you know what the Future You could do, why would a hiring manager find that valuable? 

Now you know who, what, and why you’re awesome, you should create materials that tell people about who that person is. And I’m sorry, a resume doesn’t do that.

Do you know what can?

Another person.

If we know what to say, humans are brilliant at talking about others’ past and potential. We intrinsically understand the nuance of your value.

So, the first thing I think you should do before updating your resume is to teach other people to talk about why you’re uniquely awesome.

Just a thought.

Want to know how to do this through a LinkedIn connection? Take a look over at the other article for this week. We’ve got some advice there.