Mike's random thoughts and ramblings

Your Resume is Junk Mail

This is an assertion that I made in Forget The Parachute, Let Me Fly the Plane. In the world we live in, your resume is pretty much useless in the traditional way that we have always used the resume.

It seems I'm not the only one who thinks this. In her Fast Company blog, Jory Desjardins makes the point that resumes will become obsolete. From the article:

"When I was a college graduate in 1994... getting a job was a different proposition. Sure, it was still about whom you knew; in the end, that's how I found my first "real" job. But I also sent out reams of resumes, attempting to convince people who didn't know, care, or need me that my experience as Features Editor of my college paper meant that I was especially qualified to answer phones. Finding work that pertained to my limited background was besides the point, I thought. I'll just take what I can get and work my way toward the ultimate job."

This is the traditional way of using a resume, and, as Jory points out, the rise of job boards (like Monster and Craigslist have provided a wonderful market for sending out those reams of resumes. And, because of that, resumes have become almost useless for opening the door into a new job.

Anyone who has ever been a hiring manager with an unrestricted flow from the resumes sent in for a job they're hiring for understands this after the first couple of days. When you post a job as a manager, hundreds or even thousands of resumes flood in to your inbox in the first few days. And, generally, it gets to the point where you can't possibly read them all.

So, if you're not sending a resume, how do you do it? (I could just stop here and say read my book) Really, it comes down to two skills, which are the opposite sides of the same coin:

  1. Build a personal brand: as Jory says in the article, use social media, blogs, podcasts, industry groups, articles, etc. to get known.

  2. Meet people who are looking for people like you and find alignment between their needs and yours. This is really the key that leads most people to say that networking is an important job skill. If you know enough people (and enough people know you), you'll be top of mind when it's time to hire someone.

This is how most "successful" (defined by me as "people who are doing what they want to do") people are getting their best jobs.

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Michael Murray

Michael Murray