Busting the dead résumé myth

For years, the same rumours have been circulating on the internet that the résumé is “dead” – that you no longer need one. I wrote an article that goes into more depth about the so-called “dead” résumé you can read here.

From my perspective, that it’s a pile of crapola.

Saying you don’t need a résumé is like saying a business no longer needs a website or any other marketing collateral which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

While it’s true that a résumé won’t guarantee you the job and a website or sales brochure won’t guarantee the sale, they are all important in expressing the value of the candidate or the product/service.

Until some other type of medium is invented to replace what we know as a résumé, this important piece of career marketing collateral will continue to play a key role in your overall career progression – whether you like it or not.

In fact, a properly written and targeted résumé is arguably one of the most important tools you can have in your job search tool-box.

Most employers STILL want you to send them a résumé!

In fact, there are 12 reasons why that I address below, so keep reading….

If you are in a job search, you most likely have to submit a résumé, whether it’s direct to an actual human or applying to jobs online by uploading your (guess what?) RÉSUMÉ into the computer applicant tracking system (ATS).

I wrote an in-depth article about the ATS you can read here.  You can also download the ATS Checklist that gives you 40 ways to help you beat the computer bots and attract interviews.

Even if you can get through the company’s back door and convince the Hiring Manager to interview you and even if you have a strong Linkedin profile, in either case HR will surely require your résumé for their database. HR is just like that.

Since there’s no guarantee you will get the job in either of the above scenarios, the résumé you submit should be carefully tailored to your “target” – that means, a specific type of role ideally in a specific type of industry.

There is never a situation where you should just “throw something together” and hope for the best. If you do that, and the employer conducts a search for someone with your talent, but you haven’t optimized your résumé with keywords, specific and quantifiable accomplishments among other things, it will probably be passed over for someone who took the time to do that.

The simple fact is, your résumé gives the employer important clues about whether or not YOU are a quality candidate and a strong fit for the role.

This is precisely why you need to be careful of the kind of information you include and exclude and how you present it. You’re literally being judged on a “piece of paper” (even though it might not be a literal piece of paper).

The 12 Top Reasons Why Employers STILL Want You to Submit a Résumé

#1: Work ethic

When it looks like you’ve made the effort to present yourself well, the employer will get a sense that you have a strong work ethic. That you care. That it matters to you. That you strive for quality. That you didn’t slap something together at the last second in the hopes it would stick.

Nothing screams “I don’t care” and “This is good enough” more than a crappy résumé. Actually, it doesn’t even have to be crappy. Something that’s just meh isn’t any better.

Think about it – who wants to interview, much less hire, someone who’s crappy or meh?

No one. They want to hire someone who’s GREAT!

Solution:  You need to create a GREAT résumé that’s going to impress the pants off the hiring authority. Or at least their socks. 😊

Click here to get help creating an interview-generating resume.

#2: Level of interest in the target position

The care you take in tailoring your résumé to the position and creating a polished document that clearly communicates you are a strong fit for the role will show two things:

  • that you care enough to present yourself well (see #1)
  • that you actually read the job posting

Let’s face it – no employer wants to waste time, energy, and money interviewing (and much less, hiring) someone who doesn’t show a genuine interest in the position.

What shows your interest more than demonstrating that YOU took the time and energy to create a powerful resume that will give the human reader what they’re looking for as soon as they open up your document?

That’s what’s going to get you the interview.

Click here to get help creating a resume that actually shows you give a shit. Seriously.

#3: Communication skills

The language you use and how well you express yourself in writing demonstrates the level of your communication skills.

Communication skills are typically a requirement for virtually all jobs.That’s why you want to make sure that you use language that’s appropriate for the job function, industry, and level of your target position.

You might have to use larger, more impressive words. Or maybe it means that you use more casual language.

You need to use your best judgment on how to properly “language” your document so you get interviews.

#4: Attention to detail  

The amount of errors and inconsistencies your résumé contains and/or how many discrepancies there are between your résumé and Linkedin profile will show whether you are as “detail oriented” as you say you are. 

You must triple check your résumé for grammatical, spelling, and syntax errors as well as any mistakes you made in terms of the format and design.

Make sure that the font size/styles, spaces between sentences and sections, and all design elements (shading, borders, font effects, etc.)  are consistent throughout the document.

I know this seems trivial but honestly, it’s not. The human reader is INUNDATED with résumés and is looking for any reason to filter you OUT of the process so they can drill down to a select few and go take a coffee break.

To be one of the few who gets the interview, click on this link to create an interview-worthy résumé,

#5: Potential problematic work history

Hiring authorities like a clean work history. The minute they see career issues like job hopping, work gaps, and a career trajectory that makes no sense (like you zigged when you should  have zagged) they immediately get suspicious.

The fact that it’s hard to hide these things in a résumé is one reason employers like them – you don’t have any choice but to include dates and where you worked, so things like work gaps and job hopping are often immediately visible.

If you exclude things or “doctor them up” (code word for lying), the truth will likely come out during reference checks or some other way and you won’t get the job. Plus, you’ll be put on the infamous “black list”. You don’t want to end up on that.

There are ways to downplay these problematic situations in the résumé which is discussed in Résumés That Convert.  Click on this link to learn more about creating a résumé that’s designed to convert into interviews.

 #6: Personal values

The personal information that you include in your résumé (such as hobbies, interests, affiliations, etc.) will give clues as to whether your values align with the employer’s.

They want to know if you would be a good “fit” for the company and the inclusion of certain kinds of personal information is one way that helps them determine that.

It even goes beyond determining if there’s an overall fit with the company. Often times, the hiring manager uses the information to decide if they want to work with the candidate in question.

For instance, if you mention in your résumé you’re into goat yoga and transcendental meditation, the hiring manager might think you’re too “woo woo”. That might be enough information to disqualify you from the process altogether.

This is why it’s usually a good idea to not include any personal information that can be taken the wrong way. I wrote a blog about this very thing you can read here.

#7: Ability to follow instructions

If the job posting contains explicit instructions and you don’t follow them, it looks like you either chose to not read the entire job posting or you read it, but you chose to ignore the application requirements. Neither are good.

Employers want to hire people who can take direction. So, when the job posting asks for 2 pages, don’t send them 4.  If they want certain information to be included – include it.

This is why it’s important to read the entire job posting from start to finish. The employer might bury an instruction near the end as a filtering mechanism. The people who follow the instruction get filtered IN and the people who don’t, are disqualified from the process.

Morale of story? Read the entire job posting and follow the instructions to a “T”!

#8: Ability to sell yourself

If it’s a sales/marketing job, the employer is looking for someone who has strong sales ability. They might assume that if you can’t sell yourself on paper, you won’t be able to sell their product or service.

This is why it’s critical for a sales professional to have a knock-out résumé that sells them as a “perfect fit”.

The way you sell yourself for the position is to uncover and articulate your unique value proposition. Your UVP goes beyond just talking about your education, skills, and experience. You’ve got to take it one step further.

If you continue to write a résumé that just focuses on what you’ve done, you will likely get few to no interviews. You need to be able to provide some evidence of your value.

Click on this link to be shown how to craft a résumé that delivers your UVP in a way that makes hiring authorities reach out to you to learn more.

#9: Organization skills

The employer might judge your organization skills based on how well your résumé is laid out.

If it’s a disjointed mess that doesn’t flow well and isn’t easy to read, that can be interpreted as how you will approach your work – disjointed and messy.

No one wants to hire someone who isn’t organized, so don’t send the employer a résumé that looks like a dog’s breakfast.

What you need is a résumé that is polished looking, flows logically from section to section, and is easy on the eye. 

Résumés That Convert will show you how to create a document that the hiring authority will actually want to read which is half the battle in getting the interview.

Click here to learn about Résumés That Convert

#10: The ATS isn’t going anywhere anytime soon

Companies have invested way too much money in computer applicant tracking systems, so as long as they are being used, you are going to have to submit a résumé.

Over time, the ATS systems might become more sophisticated and be able to scan and rank résumés more accurately. Until then, the whole ATS thing is pretty hit and miss for most jobseekers which is why most of them don’t get the interview.

To get interviews, you need a résumé that will get through those nasty computer bots that kick out more résumés than they accept.

Click here to be shown how to create a résumé that’s designed to appeal to both the computer ATS and the human reader to attract interviews.

Click here to download the ATS checklist that shows you 40 ways to help your résumé get past the computer ATS and onto the hiring manager’s “must call” pile. Yes, there’s a pile – and it’s usually a big one.

#11: The application forms aren’t enough

Even if companies use web-based application forms, in most cases the employer still wants you to upload a résumé.

The reasons they want you to do that is they want to see how you present yourself in writing. How do you sell yourself? Does the information in your résumé match the answers you provided in the application form?

Theoretically, the résumé is the document that is supposed to sell you for the job. The application form is often used as a way to filter out candidates who don’t possess the minimum supporting qualifications.

To find out how to create a résumé that sells your value, click here

#12: Linkedin profile isn’t enough

Even though you might have a strong Linkedin profile, it’s not targeted to a specific position.  Employers want you to send them a targeted résumé that addresses their specifications.

While a Linkedin profile and résumé are similar, they do serve different purposes.

A Linkedin profile functions more like a business card that is promoting your services to a broader audience. However, to attract the kind of attention you want, your profile should be tailored to a specific job function and /or industry.

A résumé on the other hand, should go much deeper than that. It should be designed to address the job requirements of a specific position. The more targeted the résumé is, the better.

The fact is, you need both a Linkedin profile and a finely-targeted résumé.

To find out how to create a résumé for your target position that boost your chances of getting interviews and landing the job, click here.

But here’s the catch….

You can’t apply to jobs with just any résumé – the traditional, task-oriented, generic document doesn’t cut it anymore.

What I’m talking about is the simple reverse chronological and functional résumé formats. Chances are, your résumé is one of those.

Recruiters and hiring managers HATE these formats with a passion (especially the functional résumé) because they tend to read more like a generic job description which doesn’t tell them anything about the kind of positive results the candidate achieved.

If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, I wrote an article about the traditional formats you can read here.

What you need is what is known in the industry as the “hybrid” or “combination” format which I call the “modern résumé”.

It’s essentially a blend of the reverse chronological and the functional with some other components added to it to make it deliver your unique value proposition in a clear and compelling way.

You can download a sample résumé template that is an ATS-friendly, modern résumé format by clicking on this link.

If you want to learn how to create a résumé using this effective format, click on this link to enroll in Résumés That Convert.

There’s more help below…

Create a résumé that converts into interviews

The scary fact is, only about 2% to 3% of résumés actually result in interviews. To boost your chances, you need a résumé that has a higher rate of converting into interviews. Click on the button below and get started on creating a higher-converting résumé.

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If you’d like to schedule a call with Diana to find out how she can help you stand out and get noticed (in a good way) so you can land interviews and get hired sooner than later, click here to set up a free discovery call.

Hi! I’m Diana.

I draw from over 15 years recruitment, career/job search coaching, and sales/marketing experience to help all kinds of jobseekers stand out, get noticed, and get hired for their dream job.

Need help? That’s what I’m here for!

Are you in the midst of a job search and not getting the results you want? Or, are you employed and not actively looking but want to “get ready” in case your situation changes and you need to launch a job search?

Don’t get caught in the endless cycle of applying to jobs, hearing little to nothing, and becoming more frustrated.

I offer both “Done-For-You” and “DIY” options to help you overcome the obstacles and get you on the right track to accelerate your job landing success. You choose the level of service you feel you need that fits your budget.

Maybe all you need is a quick résumé critique. If your search is complicated, a more comprehensive package might be the solution. Or, it could be something in between. You’ve got options!

You can learn more about my professional background here and about how I can help you here.

To find out how I can help you, email me here or set up a quick chat with me here.