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Stop Taking Bullshit Resume Advice

Many job searchers and career changers I’ve worked with start by asking questions about their resume. It’s like training for a marathon and asking what shoes to wear. The shoes are an important tool, but hardly the core issue. This misplaced effort comes from the advice we’ve been hearing for years...How to aesthetically design your resume, how to properly categorize the content, what to state as your “objective,” and the worst one: how to match keywords to the internet job posting.

Companies commonly include outplacement services in their severance packages, so the newly unemployed jump on the opportunity to get some so-called career coaching. They land in a high-traffic office happy to take their money in exchange for advice on resumes and interview skills...Sadly, unless you're crystal clear on the next position you're seeking, this is a complete waste of your time and, more importantly, your momentum.

The alternative I propose isn’t a quick fix. But it will ultimately save you time, money, and energy. Consider the amount of hours/days/months you might spend searching for an interview. And if somehow throwing spaghetti at the wall does land you a job, how much of your life might you spend in this unfulfilling position?

A few key points:

  • Internet job searches are black holes. Most of your resume building efforts aren’t being seen by hiring managers. Companies use a system called ATS (Application Tracking System) to weed out people based on subjective nonsense. The job descriptions rarely represent the jobs accurately as they are written by HR people and filled with arbitrary jargon. Many of the job postings are only there because companies are required to list them but aren’t actually considering hiring anybody from the internet. And if they do read your resume they have zero context and emotional connection to you in a pile of hundreds.

  • You need a foundational understanding of your goals before applying to jobs. You can’t decorate a house without a floor. It’s important to go through a discovery process to understand Why you do What you do, and be able to clearly articulate the underlying competencies in the How you do. When you present yourself from a Purpose Perspective, rather than filling a person-shaped slot at a business, you appeal more directly to the company’s purpose as well. You tap into a more fundamental solution for their problems, making it impossible for them to ignore you. And if they do turn you away, you’ll know with certainty that it’s not a good fit. The process should be about aligning who you are with what you do.

  • Networking is how you get a job. Not just because most available jobs aren't posted online, or because you're competing with hundreds of applicants when you do apply online. This starts deep in our paleomammalian brain centers. Evolutionarily speaking, we are wired to build relationships and communities with those we trust. We are naturally skeptical of outsiders, such as your random ass on LinkedIn applying for a random ass job posting. Networking isn’t a magic spell you cast; it’s a series of genuine conversations with a person who learns you are a trustworthy and valuable person to bring into the tribe. Even better if you already have a head start on a relationship, such as a common background, alma mater, mutual tribe member, etc. So next time you’re tempted to shrug off networking as shallow or exclusive to extroverts, consider that our entire existence as human beings was built on making connections with others.

If you want to learn how to apply these concepts to your career changes, give me a call for a free consultation. I’ll give you more practical info FOR FREE, and then suggest working together if it’s mutually beneficial. We have much to gain from connecting (see brain example above) even if you definitely don’t want to hire me. I’m interested in growing my tribe of trusted and valuable people, and helping yours grow as well.


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