SPLICE | It’s Not Your Resume, It’s You!
recruiting, employer branding, agency, talent acquisition, staffing
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It’s Not Your Resume, It’s You!

It’s Not Your Resume, It’s You!

You spend hours changing, editing and preparing your resume that will surely land you that dream job!  It is sent out through every job board, imported into your LinkedIn profile and scattered to the 4 corners of your geographic preference!  Then, after all that – NOTHING!  You are confused, baffled, angry and blame everyone else for not seeing your talents and abilities.  Guess what; it may not be your “resume”, it may be the YOU!

When a recruiter or hiring manager reviews a resume their eyes are trained to scan and pass judgement on your background in a short period.  Outside of education, key words that match the job description and current/ previous job titles they are looking for key indicators of success.  These key indicators include:

  • Duration
  • Progression
  • Innovation

If these 3 things suck, then goodbye dream job and hello to resume black hole!

Are you a job hopper?  Don’t answer that with what you think, look at your background.  Have you held a different job every 6-12 months?  Do your short-term jobs outweigh your long-term?  You may be selling yourself on this as “career progression”, but it will be viewed as instability.  You will be hard pressed to convince anyone that you have held so many roles because you are such a superstar and highly coveted asset.  The first few jumps may be explained, however after a consistent pattern, hang it up!  Most recruiters will PASS on this resume and never tell you why.

I make it a policy to tell people this if it is the reason…..you can imagine how well this is received!

How have you manged your career?  Have you grown and progressed over a reasonable time or held the same role and duties for 10+ years?  Have you held multiple jobs and titles with no clear progression path or advancement?  Perhaps you have jumped around to many departments of the company that are in no way related to a career progression.

Here is what goes through the mind of the resume reviewer when they see this type of resume:

  1. Why is this person not a ______ (manager, top performer, Staff etc…) by now, they must not be _______ (motivated, driven, smart, good etc…)
  2. Let me get this straight, you have moved between sales, accounting, HR and engineering in a 3 year period and been a key asset in the organization?  “Yeah, right!”
  3.  Is this a problem employee?  I realize that many organizations do not cut poor performers, they simply move them.

What have you done that is different? Unique?  What have you created, built, imagined and delivered?  Every person, every career and every role has the opportunity to innovate. Is your resume the same song and dance “accomplished ___”, “achieved _____” or “delivered _____”?

Let’s use an example of sales;  This resume will be filled with above 100% of goal (never seen a sales resume, no matter the duration that was below goal achievement).  What have you done differently?  How have you built and maintained a repeat customer base?  Tell me this story in your resume, describe what you have done past “completed 75 cold calls” or “visited 15 customers per week”.

The most important thing a resume can do is tell a story.  This is your opportunity to write the “Odyssey of You”!  If your story has too many chapters, is short in duration or simply does not capture the imagination of the reader…..then your odyssey will simply lead to a black hole!

  • Holly Bail

    December 10, 2012 at 9:39 am Reply

    Alex- you are spot on with with your perspective and experience. There are many out there that just don’t get how your resume tells an important story… it could be a best seller or as you said fall into a resume black hole. Personally, I’m going to share your message with talent looking for new gigs as it’s the perfect self reflecting message.

  • jackwbruce

    December 10, 2012 at 10:35 am Reply

    I particularly agree with the section on “Duration.” When I review resumes and see a lot of job hopping, I typically will reject the resume unless they take the time (in a cover letter or in the resume) to explain why.

    Thanks for a great post. -jack

  • Kathy Earle

    December 10, 2012 at 12:55 pm Reply

    Great post Alex!

  • Patrick McFadden

    December 10, 2012 at 2:13 pm Reply

    I read an article that said, “Changing jobs early and often, job hopping, isn’t the liability it once was, says Allen Salikof, president and CEO of Management Recruiters International, Inc. It might even be a plus. Traditionally, employers who saw a job-hopping pattern on a resume would pass on that candidate in favor of one with more staying power. But job-hopping isn’t necessarily the kiss of death anymore, says Salikof. More and more we find employers actually favoring a candidate who has moved around. Some are even put off by candidates who have stayed too long in one job or one company where their skills, particularly technological skills, have not had to keep pace with the marketplace. “If the candidate’s history shows consistent increases in salary and responsibility, job hopping may tag him or her as a hot property”. In some industries you may have to explain why you stayed around so long.”

    Talk about a reversal in traditional thinking!

    • Alex Putman

      December 11, 2012 at 11:13 am Reply

      Hey Patrick, I agree that staying to long at a company (20 years at x) can be viewed the same way. Also job hopping may be viewed differently by industry i.e a software developer in Silicon Valley can have a different job every 4 months and it is ok. Great discussion points as nothing is ever “all or nothing”. Thanks for the great points!

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