I love resumes. They’re a very important part of your job search. They allow you to brand yourself. You can feature your past work experience. A resume allows you to highlight accomplishments, such as awards and education. It allows you to share who are you, and who you want to be in a future career.
But, if you had one hundred hours to use on your job search, how exactly would you divide up your time?
Many job seekers would devote ninety-five percent of their time to their resume. It makes sense, right? If your resume is perfect, then you ought to get a job faster. Because, job fit is determined by experience. And, experience is outlined in your resume, right?
Well, sort of. But, not exactly. In reality, many job offers are determined by other factors – like who you know. Look back at your own resume and think about how you got each job. If you landed every job by applying online with the perfect resume, you’re an exception to the rule. Most people find jobs through other people.
Does that mean resumes don’t matter? No, they’re important. But, it does mean that you should update your resume and then move on to other job search activities. For example, spend more time researching the companies you want to work for. Devote time to meeting new people and networking with people you already know.
One of my most successful friends has a six page resume. For years, I’ve had a burning desire to update it and shave it down to two pages. But, before I have ever been able to get my hands on that resume, the friend has already landed a new job. He has both unique skills and a strong network of contacts. Most likely, his resume is a complete afterthought. It’s a formality. After a company has decided to hire him, he submits the resume to complete the hiring process. It’s simply a checkbox.
What’s the lesson in this? Is it that you should forget your resume completely? No. The resume remains an important part of your job search materials, along with your cover letter, your elevator pitch, and your LinkedIn.
But, your resume is not the ultimate destination. If you feel that your resume is high quality and you’re still not landing interviews, step back and look at the bigger picture. Take a look at your entire job search process. Aside from updating your resume, what else could you do?
Consider spending more time at networking events. Ask more friends to have coffee meetings with you. Connect to new people you want to know (but don’t yet know) on LinkedIn. Volunteer for nonprofit boards.
If you spend your time looking for ways to connect and to grow your professional network and your business skills, you will go much farther in your job search than if you stay behind your computer screen.
Angela Copeland, a career coach and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.