If You Create the Perfect Resume, You Are 0.00025% of The Way to Finding a Great Job

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Suppose you were required to complete three equally important projects, how would you divide your time among the three? What if, after completing the project, you were required to give a one minute presentation for one project, a three day seminar for the second, and a nine month study for the third? Does this added condition affect your answer at all? Since all are important, the exact distribution of effort will depend on many other factors, but certainly it would be unusual to choose to invest most of the time only one project, especially not the project which you are required to present for only one minute.

Yet, when it comes to the job search, I am continually surprised that this is exactly what many people do. In general, the job search consists of three main activities:
1) Creating a compelling resume
2) Defining a job search strategy
3) Planning an interview strategy
Prospective employers, on average spend about thirty seconds to one minute on each resume they receive. Candidates spend roughly one day to three days in the interview process before being offered a job. A healthy job search process can require around nine months before finding an opportunity that is a mutual match of interests between the employer and candidate. Yet, many clients I have worked with spend an admirable amount of time crafting their resume, but really haven’t thought about their job search nor interview strategy.

A good resume, a good first impression

This is not to say that a powerful and well-constructed resume is not important. The resume, for most situations, is the first impression any prospective employer generates on a candidate. It’s important to ensure that the resume is crafted carefully to allow readers to understand the unique skills and perspectives you can bring to an organization. But let’s face it, in the internet age, your carefully constructed, well balanced resume is not necessarily the version a prospective employer may see. Many companies use their own recruiting tools that require you to reformat your information to conform with the fields in their online form. Some tools available for employers will extract only the text content and lose all the wonderful formatting and attention to layout you put together. Many employers are thus conditioned to overlook certain aesthetic detail and focus on key details that they believe will allow a candidate to succeed in the role.

The job search strategy is your battle plan

No matter how great a military force is, no general would engage a battle without having a very well thought out battle plan. In the job search world, your battle plan is your job search strategy. I am always surprised by how few people think about this. Often, people rely on techniques that have worked for them in the past or on advice they may have heard. These are all reasonable tactics to employ, but it does not replace a sound strategy. A healthy strategy should consider these three factors:

1) What you are looking for in a job? What are negotiable factors?
2) What timeframe you are looking to make a change?
3) What resources do you have available to conduct your search?

Most importantly, these three factors must be evaluated against each other to determine whether you have assembled a winning strategy. For example, an individual trying to find a comparable role to his/her existing role, who needs to find a job immediately, probably should make use of as many resources as possible to conduct his/her search. The point is that you need to be realistic as to whether your battle plan can realistically meet your expectations.

The interview is your opportunity to shine

What disappoints me most often is when candidates use the interview as a time to reiterate what they wrote on their resume. The point of the interview is for the prospective employer to find out about all those great things that really cannot be captured on a resume. For you to do this well, it requires a significant amount of introspection. This will require you to really think about your passions and what unique qualities will set you apart from other candidates – and of course, are relevant to the job. Don’t panic! We all have great qualities. Think about your past experiences and what situations felt very rewarding to you. Also think about moments where you achieved significant success. Think about what was going on for you internally in those days and it may give you a peek at how your own gears work.

A great resume is like a great wine

So invest your time in a great resume, but keep in mind – just like a good food pairing enhances a good wine, pairing your great resume with a great job search and interview strategy will give you an edge on your search and make the process more rewarding.

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