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
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.