Every day I’m asked,
“Is my resume any good? Will my resume get me an interview?”
Just such an email arrived today from “John” so I took a peek. The resume was ok. Perfectly adequate. No formatting to speak of, no colour, no branding, but it was neatly presented. Nicely written. No typos. Outdated format.
For some resume writing firms, this is the time to launch into “the pitch”. Many of these firms have an emotion-laden sales script that make people fear joblessness, bankruptcy and certain apocalyptic failure by submitting a resume that doesn’t adhere to ‘their rules’.
Well that’s not me. I said to him:
“My thoughts on resume writing are this. I’ve seen some of the most appalling documents presented to me by jobseekers throughout my career. Poor spelling, even worse formatting and yet miraculously, these jobseekers have managed to get interviews! For those lucky few, it has been their reputation that has heralded the way into a job interview.
People simply know who these people are—either by reputation or in their network, and generally these fortunate, highly connected individuals have a clear way to the interview short-list (despite the laughable state of their resume!)
Conversely, I’ve seen people with absolutely amazing resumes get nowhere. Sometimes it’s the jobseeker’s poor reputation that has preceded and precluded them from receiving an interview. Sometimes it is the person’s inability to assess the job market accurately; their lack of insight into how things really work (you can’t skip from Junior Accountant to Chief Financial Officer in the course of a couple of months), or their reluctance to do anything proactive other than pressing a “submit” key on a job site.
So, when someone asks me to review their resume, there is no easy answer.
It’s more like “It may work, IF…”
When I look at resumes, I ask myself, would I be awestruck with this if I received it? In most cases, it’s “I guess not”. From a purely technical standpoint, my perspective as Master Resume Writer, and in a perfect world, this is not going to make a recruiter tingle with excitement.
But you know what?
It’s not a perfect world. You’re not applying for a resume-writing award with a technically perfect document, and slavishly following a set of resume ‘rules’ will not automatically place you in the running for your dream job.
For all the reasons listed above, you may or may not get an interview with your resume. It doesn’t mean that it’s good, or not good. It just means that it’s being reviewed by a human who has something specific in mind that you don’t know about, if you don’t touch base first.
The way you are most likely to get an interview, is if you:
- see and apply for an advertised position you’re qualified for by title, job tasks, years of experience, achievements and industry
- call the contact person and talk about your skills in relation to the job
- build a rapport with the job search consultant.
At some point, you’ll both see that you’re a match for a particular position, and he or she will request you send your resume to their private email account.
If the resume says what the job search consultant or employer wants to see, you’ll get an interview, regardless of what I think, what anyone else thinks, or who has written it.
Better still, would be for you to leverage the goodwill of the people you know and have worked with, and let them be your cheerleaders; your unpaid sales force. Your resume, sent to a friend “in the know” along with a coffee, a chat and shared experiences, could have them recommending you. Suddenly, you’re in front of a real-life interviewer—sometimes before they’ve even realised they want you or have a job for someone like you! It’s not the resume that did the work. It’s you!
How to tell if you’re hitting the mark? Results!
The best way to see if you’re hitting the mark, is when you send your resume to someone and they call you in for an interview within a couple of days. With your LinkedIn profile, you’ll know you’ve hit the mark if you’re getting recruiters wanting to talk with you at least once every two weeks.
If you don’t get calls for jobs you’re made for, and you’ve been calling the contact person first, establishing rapport and discussing the available position, then there’s a good chance that you’re not putting yourself out there, and that’s the biggest change you need to make.
Get your resume written by me if you believe you:
- Are the full package and you want to to show it. From your career background, to your bespoke suit, your car, your sound system and your resume. It’s part of who you are.
- You place your faith in professionals; you’re not a do-it-yourselfer.
- You are proud of what you’ve done and you want every single part of your career to reflect who and what you are.
- Your personal brand is to impress in all areas of your life, and you want to showcase to others that you’re the best at what you do.
- You’re in a highly competitive industry or job type where you really have to put your best foot forward and you’ll be competing against people who will also be pulling out all stops to get ahead
- You’re a career changer who really needs to explain why you’re taking this unusual step in your career.