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June 23, 2015
Don’t Send Another Resume Until You Read This

This isn’t a resume contents improvement article.  Heaven knows you can find plenty of advice on that – all over the Web.  

For purposes of this cautionary advice, it doesn’t matter whether you have a professionally prepared resume or a standard one that you whipped up – because, as savvy job hunters know, employers use resumes mainly to screen you out, and not to find reasons to contact you for an invitation to an interview.


To solve the #1 problem in job hunting – which is, namely, how to get interviews with someone that can hire you, sending a resume is not the way to fly.  Why?  Simple.

Because, poison girls, it only takes a quick glance at your masterpiece (of hopefully) non-fiction,-mostly) to remand your resume forthwith to Resume jail.  Here’s how it happens.

If your resume shows that you aren’t currently or weren’t very recently, employed in the same or a similar position as the one they have open, that’s enough to screen it out.

Are you safe so far, if you are?  Well, no. Not really.  Here’s a short list of the excuses –pardon me – reasons, why your resume may not survive the screening ritual:


  • Unemployed or underemployed
  • Self-employed

  • Short tenures in recent positions aka job hopping

  • Age – too young/too old

  • Education – no degree/wrong degree

  • Not enough/too much/No experience in their industry

  • Trying to make a career change

  • Lack of a certain professional credential

  • Background in larger/smaller companies
  • No apparent/not enough experience in a particular software program or other technology they regularly use

If you need interviews with a hiring authority, don’t send a resume in your initial communication.  Rather, send a marketing letter (only) directly to the hiring authority.

That way, you control the information on which you want to be evaluated for purposes of getting a favorable response.  It also has the added advantage of letting you address the main question of the hiring authority: what can you do for me?  

If the hiring authority is impressed by what you say you can do for her or him, s/he is more likely to be forgiving of the confessions they may find, if and whenever they ask you to send them your resume.

In a future article, I will tell you how to write a resume that is capabilities-oriented.  It’s a superior alternative to most resume formats you may have seen, and for people who aren’t exactly sure how to write an effective marketing letter and/or have no intention of paying someone who does know how to, hey, it’s better than sending a cover letter to inform the reader that the enclosed is your resume (res ipsa loquitur)– and I sure hope you like it.

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Tom Kellum is a job hunting consultant, helping people's dreams come true since 1987. He specializes in providing a personal job-landing service based on proven marketing strategies and methods. For more information, email him at careerkeysman@gmail.com.
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