Sunday, December 6, 2009

20 Job Search Answers You Need To Know | #5 What is the purpose of the resume?

A: To get the interview

In the next post, we’ll cover resume content in more depth, but this simple piece of information should help guide your approach to your resume. Primary among these is avoiding the screen-out and crashing the interview

Many times, the hiring manager may not be the first stop for your resume. For example, it may be a 22 year-old HR intern that who is wadding through 262 resumes (especially in these demand challenged times), comparing it to the requisition, and then picking the top 20 to go to the next level (usually a phone screen). This is the argument for customizing the resume to fit the requisition.

I know some folks disagree - such as Kerry in her (always well-written) post Why You Shouldn’t Customize Your Resume For Each Job Opportunity. The opposition stance is:

  1. that’s what the cover letter is for
  2. it takes a lot of time to do this if you are applying for a boat-load of jobs (time you should be spending networking and other higher return activities)

I certainly agree – spending hours to customize shotgun resumes is not a good use of your time. But, I would counter:

  • For the shotgun resumes, in 5-10 minutes you can do a few minor tweaks to words and phrase to better match the requisition
  • But highly desirable positions you really are fighting hard for (the Glengarry leads), the extra time (at most 15-20 minutes) is worth it
  • If you are networking and working your targeted companies hard, you’ve already gotten your resume in the hands of the hiring manger (and have avoided this screen out phase)

Up next: What should be in a resume?

Disclaimer: As with all job search advice you receive (from here or elsewhere), results may vary – use at your own risk. You must be the captain of your own career. The last thing I say to all my career coach clients is “ignore what you want, use what make sense to you – and if something works for you – pass it on”.

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