In this article, I will be discussing “What is the reason for a resume?” This is the first post of a 10 part training series called “Right Your Effective Resume”. Let’s get started… This is what we’re going to cover in this post:
- What A Resume Is
- 5 Common Resume Misconceptions
- What Your Resume Is Really For
- What You Can Do Today To Change Your Point Of View
A LITTLE HISTORY
First, where did resumes come from? Well, a little-known fact here… Leonardo DaVinci is credited with drafting the first known resume more than 500 years ago for the Duke of Milan. So what might have Leonardo DaVinci had in his resume?
It is believed that Leonardo DaVinci had listed his unique qualifications as an inventor of wartime technologies that he presented to the Duke to showcase his skill sets in this field. Isn’t this essentially what a resume is? What were some things do you think that perhaps DaVinci had in his resume?
Take a look this modern-day recreation of one of his inventions. Known as the areal screw, this early design is the foundation of what will later become one of the most decisive wartime machines, the helicopter.
This next invention is slightly easier to pick out. This recreation depicts the early technology that will later become the modern day machine gun. Quite ahead of his time, if he only knew what his inventions would later become.
Finally, let’s take a look at something truly remarkable. This invention almost resembles a childhood top or a carnival ride of some kind. This, however, is the early take on what we now know as the modern day battlefield tank.
Personal fact: When I served in Operation Iraqi Freedom II 2004-2005 I belonged to 1st Cavalry Division, 1st Brigade Combat Team that was commanded by Colonel Abe Abrams, the Abrams Tank is named for his father, former Army Chief of Staff, General Creighton W. Abrams Jr.
As you can see, DaVinci had the right idea. He captured his unique skill sets that could benefit the Duke and presented it in an organized document. This gave DaVinci a clear advantage over anyone else that either didn’t do it at all or did a poorer job than DaVinci…… Well done Sir!!
WHAT A RESUME IS
So what else is a resume? A resume is a tool of communication, remember communication is done by the reader. That reader could be a multitude of different people, including:
- Hiring manager
- A Recruiter
- Human Resources Representative
- Someone within your own organization looking to hire you for a different job
- Project Manager looking to see if you are a good fit for a team
- Job Boards like Indeed or Monster
Your resume is meant to convey your message to others. You highlight what you want others to know about you. It reduces life experiences down to highly focused accomplishments and highlights what you have done AND how well you’ve done it.
I can’t stress enough how important this part is, there are many people out there that have no problem putting bullet statement, after bullet statement on their resume of things that they’ve done. It is easy to say that you did this thing and that thing, and when you were in this position you did this and this and this…. so on and so on.
However…. very few folks (in my experience of reading thousands of resume’s) do a poor job of also communicating effectively how well they did all those things listed on their resume.
Open a new Tab on your computer, go to Google, search “Resume Examples”. Take a minute and look over a few examples. How well did the authors of these resume examples convey “How Well They Did” what they did?
A resume begins a dialogue, I call it the revolving door. What do I mean by this? Simple, you can’t get, if you don’t ask, and your resume is at its simplest form, the most basic form of asking.
Your resume lets people know that you are open to other opportunities, looking for a change in your life, in your career, and invites the beginning of that dialog, whatever the case may be, the resume is really the vehicle that starts that dialogue.
Finally, just like DaVinci, your resume is a collection of skill sets. Both soft and hard skill sets.
SOFT SKILL EXAMPLES:
- Verbal communication
- Ability to work well with others
- Problem Solving
- Conflict Resolution
Hard Skill Examples:
- Working knowledge of programs like MS Excel, Word, PowerPoint
- ERP Systems like ORACLE, or SAP
- Data Mining
5 Common Resume Misconceptions
- I need Just One really great resume for all my job applications
- The More Information I have in my resume, the better Job I will get
- Only My Resume will determine if I land my dream job or not
- I only need to update my resume Once A Year to be current
- I need My Resume to get the job
Let’s take each one of these 5 and dig a little deeper. As you read keep asking yourself, “what’s the reason for a resume”. It will help open your mind to a different perspective.
1. I need Just One really great resume for all my job applications
Granted it is faster and easier to put together and in a pinch is definitely better than not having one at all, but it is just like all others and when you are trying to differentiate yourself, a boilerplate resume is not going to do you any favors.
A unique resume is more accurate, it’s specific to that particular role or opportunity, it resonates more with the recruiter, it stands out in the crowd and it is more memorable. A uniquely written resume is far superior to all others. Don’t worry, in this course I will break it down shotgun style and show you how to generate uniquely written resume’s quickly and easily.
2. The More Information I have in my resume, the better Job I will get
This is one that has a ton of debate surrounding it. It really depends on who you ask, and what source you read out there, but I can tell you from experience that a resume that is more than 1-page is not going to have the same reach “eyeballs” as the well-written 1-page resume.
Instead of just making this blind statement and expecting you to just agree, let me pull back the curtain of most corporate companies out there. I’ll share my experience and let you decide for yourself.
Human Capital (fancy way of saying employees) are the most costly resource a company can have, but would fail without. Because employees are so costly, there are processes in place to avoid highering too many people, and hiring the wrong people.
In order for a company to hire someone, the department manager, or hiring the manager (in most cases) will submit a request either to their manager, or Human Resources, or both.
This request is clearly stated what the position is (is it a replacement position to fill the spot of someone who recently left the company, or is it for a new position). It will have an associated job description, and salary range.
If and when this requisition is approved, it usually comes with conditions. Some of these conditions can be, will relocation reimbursement be offered, is there a minimum education requirement, is there a minimum experience level needed, the list of contingencies can be quite extensive.
The big one, however, is that most Req’s have an expiration date associated with them. The requisition may get approved, but it does not stay open indefinitely. The hiring manager/recruiter are under extreme pressure to fill this open position within the deadline, but they need to fill it with the best possible candidate.
So, they cast a huge net to get as many fish (that’s you) as they can. They use job boards like Indeed, Monster, ZipRecruiter, Linkedin, The Ladders, the list goes on forever. They may post ads in papers, bulletin boards, Craigslist, radio stations etc.
This will drum up a lot of interest which is good and exactly what they want. Now, this is where it gets fun! That hiring manager/recruiter now has the exciting task of sifting through hundreds, if not thousands of resumes to find a pool of qualified candidates to bring in for an interview.
Put yourself in this hiring manager or recruiter’s shoes for a min. How much time would you spend reading each resume? To complicate matters there is absolutely no standard for how a resume should be structured, so every resume you pick up you have to orient yourself to that unique structure. Is it in reverse chronological order or not, is the education at the top or bottom, where is the contact info and so on.
Remember you have to fill that position as quickly as you can and it needs to be with this right person. You quickly find reasons to just say no to widdle down the stack. If it’s too confusing to decipher, garbage. To hard to read, garbage. Too over the top with 8 font types and emoji’s as bullets…….ummmmm.. garbage. and yup you guessed it… more than one page… GARBAGE!!
I have literally pulled all resume’s with a staple in them out of the stack and tossed them. But that’s not fair you say, what if I accidentally through away the best candidate for the job you say. Well, I’m sure I may have at times, but keep in mind, my task wasn’t to read every resume top to bottom, cover to cover. My task was to fill a position and identify a handful of potential candidates to interview.
3. Only My Resume will determine if I land my dream job or not
This resume misconception baffles me to no end. I have met so many people that for some reason think that their resume is the only thig being considered.
In today’s world, there is so much information out there. Many would argue that there is too much information out there. The fact it, if you are seriously being considered for a position, or if the company you applied to is thinking about bringing you for an interview, it is soo easy to for them to hop on Google, type in your name and get all kinds of information.
Perhaps they find your Facebook Page, Linkedin Page, or Twitter Page. They might even find an article you’ve written on Reddit, or uncovered your Instagram Page. Don’t get me started on what they might find on Google images.
Try this yourself now. Open a new tab, navigate to Google, and type in your name. Try different variations of your name too. Don’t forget to look under images. What did you find?
The fact is we all leave a digital breadcrumb trail all over the internet and hiring managers and recruiters are savvy to this and take advantage of it all the time! But wait a minute, that’s not fair, they should only be restricted to the information provided in the application process… I’m not telling you what is right or wrong, I’m telling you this is what happens regardless!
Flip the script! Take advantage of this fact and use it to your advantage. Did you really want to submit a 4-page resume but thought better of it after reading this post?
I’m glad you reconsidered, but guess what, you can have your cake and can eat it too. You can have everything you wanted in your resume on your Linkedin Page…. This is hands down the number one place hiring managers and recruiters go next to learn more about you. You must make sure your name on your resume is exactly what is used on your Linkedin page, or you may not be found.
Perhaps your name is Robert Marcus Adams Jr. and that is what is on your resume, but you go by your middle name, and you drop the Jr. so your Linkedin Page reads: Marcus Adams. You have essentially crippled the power of Linked in and have limited yourself.
Perhaps you don’t have a Linkedin Page at all…. Ooops. I highly recommend getting one, but that is for a different post.
4. I only need to update my resume Once A Year to be current
If you only update your resume once a year, you are probably better off than 90% of people out there so Kudos to you.
However, if you want to be agile and ready for any opportunity that may come your way, consider a more frequent approach.
Some of the biggest concerns regarding only an annual update is that a lot can happen in a year. Let’s take a look at some I have personally seen:
- Contact information obsolete. People’s phone numbers, email addresses, and physical address change all the time. People get married and their names change.
- Irrelevant to the position. You want your resume to be written for a specific position in mind. Annually updated resume’s are generic and too broad.
- Not industry current. A hiring manager wants someone that is up to date with their industry. I once had someone in an interview reference her My Space Page. Who has a My Space Page anymore?When I asked her about it, she stumbled over herself and admitted that the last time she updated her resume was when she had a My Space Page and that she meant to remove it but forgot. Ouch.. That hurts you in an interview.
- Not open to opportunities. Perhaps you are not looking for a job. You are perfectly happy in you company and in your role. You’re in the break room one day and a manager in a different department approaches you and tells you that they have been keeping an eye on you and they have noticed all the great work you have been doing.They tell you that a position in their department has opened up and it would be a promotion for you. They ask you to send them your resume because they want to add you to the short list of individuals being considered for the position. Sound like a stretch? It’s happened to me, and I’ve done it myself.
5. I need My Resume to get the Job
I saved the best for last. Hands down the most common misconception of all. Most people I have met and spoken with believe that the resume is designed to get a job.
This just isn’t the case at all. If you are confused right now and think I am totally off the deep end, give me a chance to explain. This will, however, require me to tell you a l
ittle story first. The following are two scenarios to help describe this. As you read these scenarios, asks yourself… “does this make sense”.
Let’s pretend for a minute that you walk into a grocery store grab yourself a cart and begin walking up and down the sails filling your cart with all kinds of food, vegetables, canned goods, stuffing and even a frozen turkey. You then walk to the checkout, pay for everything, bag it up, and head for the door.
This is where it gets interesting. As soon as you walk out of the grocery store….. voilà you immediately sit down with your entire family to a fully cooked Thanksgiving dinner. Not sure about you, but it doesn’t work like that in my house!
Here is your next scenario. You buy a run down fixer upper ’57 Chevy. You walk into an auto parts store to grab a few things to aid in your restoration, pay for them and walk out of the store to your fully restored, showroom condition Chevy.
Now, if neither of these previous scenarios makes any sense to you whatsoever, then please help me understand why so many people think this last scenario makes sense.
You write a fantastic resume (same as walking into the grocery or auto parts store).
You submit your resume to a job board, or to a position online (this is the same as paying for your stuff at the check out).
Finally, you land your dream job, (the same as walking out of the store and immediately have a fully cooked Thanksgiving dinner, or fully restored ’57 Chevy).
This just isn’t how things work.
So if these scenarios sound a bit far fetched and rather unrealistic then you are not alone. Most would probably agree that these are very unlikely and unreasonable expectations.
What Your Resume Is Really For
Creating your awesome resume is still a key ingredient here, and I will go into more detail about how to do this in a later post.
To cut to the chase, the sole purpose of your resume is to obtain an interview. If you write your resume with any other objective in mind, you will be missing the mark, and worse wasting your time.
I want you to be as successful as possible and that starts with being brutally honest with you. The interview is the goal, the objective. but it doesn’t stop there. To take it one step further, the sole purpose of an interview is to obtain the job offer.
Once you achieve the coveted Job Offer, the power of the negotiation now resides with you.
What You Can Do Today To Change Your POV
- Locate your resume (hard/soft copy) Can’t find it? That’s OK
- Identify the last time you updated it.
- Look it over-
- Is it more than one page?
- Is it written for the recruiter?
- Is it written to get a job, or an interview?
I hope this helped you understand the reason for a resume. Check out the following Posts to learn how you can create your own highly effective resume. Leave a comment below and share with me any other resume misconceptions you have heard.
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