10 Things You Should Know About 'Traditional Resumes' & Why They Are Sabotaging Your Chances Of Getting Hired
As an active and very successful member of the LinkedIn Profinder, I’m asked dozens of times a day by job seekers to write a ‘traditional resume’ for them. This is because 99% of job searchers are programmed to think the ‘traditional resume’ is the key to getting interviews and getting hired. It’s not.
No matter how much everything else has changed around us – technology, the way we communicate, the cars we drive, the way we meet people, the foods we eat, even the coffee we drink - job seekers have this ‘stuck mind’ mentality that they must have a traditional resume to get a job.
Even millennials who attempt to fight ‘traditionalism’ at every step of the way succumb to them when in a job search.
So let's explore why the traditional resume actually sabotages more than it helps job seekers.
1. It doesn’t get you interviews
In working with thousand of job seekers from entry level to C-Suite executives, the common complaint is that they can’t get enough interviews for all the effort they put into applying for jobs. In nearly 95% of the case, most job seekers get less than a 5% success rate for jobs applied to using the traditional resume. So the tool designed to get you interviews, isn’t doing what it’s supposed to!
2. It sabotages your job search.
It actually hurts your job search efforts. Dates can eliminate you in a matter of seconds. It lets out that you’re too old, too young, too under qualified or too over qualified. You’re a job hopper. You can’t keep a job. You’re unemployed. You’ve been in the wrong industry. You have the wrong title. How does what you did, relate to what we do?
3. It’s a ‘carfax’
Just as you view a carfax when looking at a 5 year old used car, companies use your resume in the same way, viewing it as a means to find fault with you rather than see all the pertinent and amazing skills, assets and accomplishments you can offer the company. Like a ‘carfax’ they want to know the number of owners (companies you’ve worked with), the miles (your age), accidents (number of times you’ve been out of work), etc., all the factors that prevent you from getting interviews.
4. It takes away all your control of perceptions
At a time when controlling perceptions is the key to getting interviews, the resume takes away all your control. Why? Because once again, the reader is concentrating on all your negative attributes, and not what you can offer to the company. So you spend your time explaining and defending your past, instead of concentrating on how you can help the company with their needs.
5. It’s not ‘reader friendly’
Resumes are for the most part, extremely boring documents about one’s work history with a long lists of job responsibilities that often have little of nothing to do with an employers needs. They are all about ‘you’ and not about how they can solve a companies needs. Most resumes are skimmed over in a matter of seconds, forcing the reader to work very hard on how you can meet their needs. As a recruiter I skim through 100’s of resumes, and the majority of them, I cannot figure out exactly what the person does and how they can meet my clients needs. As a result, they are filed away … usually forever.
6. It’s not ‘user friendly’
Trying to edit a resume is perhaps one of the most excruciatingly painful processes of the job search. It is also extremely difficult to edit a resume to a specific position. As all jobs qualifications and needs of a company are different, it is crucial we tailor our materials to meet a companies needs. In the end, most job seekers grow so weary of the process of editing resumes, they simply just start sending out the same resume to different jobs hoping to get interviews; the result, very few interviews.
7. It doesn’t differentiate you
If everybody has a resume and the typical company is inundated with them, how does it differentiate you from the other candidates? Ask any CEO or marketing professional what is their number one concern in business, they will answer you, differentiating their product or service from the competition.
8. It limits you to the last 10 to 15 years.
As everyone knows that you should not go further than 10 or 15 years back in your resume, then what about all those amazing accomplishments, rewards, recognitions, and factors that create the professional you are today? They are eliminated. This hurts both the job seeker and the potential employer comprehending all the great assets a candidate can bring onboard
9. It’s a terrible marketing tool
The resume is the job seekers #1 marketing tool. Yet, in the world of marketing, unless it is federally mandated (alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceuticals), companies would never market their product or service in a negative way. Yet, the job seeker using the traditional resume is doing just that. Showing all kinds of facts that have negative connotations. Dates, titles, gaps, age, under qualification, over qualification, etc., etc. Marketing should give off 100% positive perceptions that address the needs of your targeted audience. In this case, the needs of the potential employer.
10. It is a lousy networking tool
When networking, the key is to get people to like you, trust you and hence help you. Real networking is all about the ‘other guy’ and not about you. When others know you care about them, there is a much greater chance of them helping you. However, if you produce a resume and give it to a person who can potentially help you, you suddenly are saying, “Help me! I need a job!” then in a flash it’s all about you and you turn people away. As a result, very few people land jobs by giving out their resumes to people they meet. In my experience, less than 5% of jobs are landed this way.
There must be a better way … with a track record of helping thousands of people land great jobs … without a traditional resume, there is.
Jay Lang has worked in conjunction with the New York State Department of Labor One-Stop and Orange County Training and Development to coach downsized professionals in a highly successful and proactive job search methodology. Since 2006, he has trained over 2,000+ professionals with 85% of them resuming their place in the job market - with better jobs and more compensation.