Traditional Resumes Are Worthless

In almost 30 years as an executive recruiter, I have looked at at over 100,000 resumes and through our candidate university coached/instructed hundreds of candidates with their job search. One consistent theme in all of this is that candidates receive a lot of mixed messages on resumes. Too often candidates lose sight of the real purpose for this document or overemphasis its importance.

In a previous article,”Resumes Have Only One Purpose,” I wrote the only reason for a resume is to get an interview. That is all it is good for. It isn’t to get a job. Candidates forget this. As a result, they want to include a lot of unimportant and sometimes irrelevant information on the resume. You only need enough information on the resume to get an interview. Everything else is over kill.

This is why, “Traditional resumes are worthless.”

With all this extra information the important and relevant information is lost in the clutter. Most people only spend between 10 and 20 seconds on the first screen. If your resume doesn’t catch their eye in that time it is discarded.

I believe for this reason the important and relevant points have to stand out so they don’t get overlooked. There can’t be a lot of useless information cluttering up the resume.

The fact is every resume is simply a marketing document. Its purpose is to catch the reader’s attention, get to the reader’s underlying motivation, have them read it and invite you in for an interview. Sounds similar to any advertisement or marketing brochure.

Marketing whether in print or electronically doesn’t try and attract everyone with one advertisement. Companies well know as “marketing” companies, Nike, Coke, McDonalds, Apple have multiple ads each with a specific purpose to reach a specific customer. They are very targeted with the listener’s or reader’s motivations in mind. They rarely if ever assume one-size-fits-all.

Candidates resumes on the other hand often assume a one-size-fits-all. Most candidates put together a generic resume, all about them, with what they think is important and relevant, then cross their fingers and hope it gets to the reader’s underlying motivations. It rarely if ever does.

Change your paradigm about your resume. Begin thinking of it as a marketing document. Ask yourself, “Is this relevant to the specific needs of this hiring manager or company?” Have you targeted the reader’s motivation rather than yours? Do the bullet points hit the target like a bullet or more like a shotgun? Do the important and relevant points stand out? (Without highlighting or gimmicks). Are you helping them with their pain? Do the bullet points help them solve their problems? Is your resume about you or them?

For all those wondering, yes this means you may have more than one marketing document (resume). Just like companies do. There is no law that says you can’t. There is only one rule regarding resumes, everything on it must be completely honest and verifiable. That is it.

In summary, target your resume. Make it a marketing document instead of a resume. Get away from the generic traditional one-size-fits-all. Build a marketing document with the reader’s motivation in mind.

IMPACT Hiring Solutions is a retained executive search firm and best practices hiring company. For over thirty years we have been assisting candidates reduce their time in search. Our complete resume development system is available so you write a compelling marketing resume. You can view this complete system at http://www.impacthiringsolutions.com.

You can also download for FREE on our website our, “Job Search Self Assessment Scorecard.” Take the assessment and see how effective your search is and what you can do to improve in the areas you aren’t excelling. Go to http://www.impacthiringsolutions.com and scroll down to the What’s New section and click the link.

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