Resumes and a False Sense of Security

resumeI had to write about this today (even though I promised a while ago I’d write about it) because just today I received a shockingly bad example of why I hate resumes (yes, I think they are very, very ineffective).

Here’s another reason I hate resumes — very few people land jobs because of one.

If your head didn’t just explode, read on…

I look at about 20 resumes a week. On average, one of them is content appropriate and well-done. Most are off the mark — usually too generic and not focused enough. Bland, bland, bland. And I’m not talking about boring fonts or visually unappealing. There’s just usually nothing distinctive about the person’s experience on paper. A boring, trite statement (if I see “people person” or “team player” one more time, I’m headed to Starbucks for a double Americano).

Usually, it’s just job title, company and a brief, generic job description or “accomplishments” that are difficult to decipher because there’s no context. But I digress… I was just going to talk about why resumes give the job seeker a false sense of security.

Most hiring happens less formally than we’d like to admit. Right place, right time. Or you find out the hiring manager is the former soccer coach of your former boss’s daughter’s team. Yeah, that kind of “less formal.” What I notice is that many job seekers are so focused on the resume, they ignore raising their visibility (aka networking). They put hours and hours into crafting their resume, rewriting it, borrowing content from others’ resumes, and trying to figure out the right “resume magic” that will get them hired.

Sorry folks, no magic formula for a great resume. Its 90% common sense (that includes great content) and about 10% style and form.

If you’re curious — of the 17 resumes I reviewed this week, seven were truly awful. And of those seven, two had very recent interviews. I know, I know – just doesn’t make sense. People landing jobs with bad resumes. I have to get over it. I hope you will too.

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