Thursday, February 16, 2012

Resumes: Not hip but a good start

I know writing resumes and using job boards is not the cool thing to do these days. Pretty much any person giving you job advice in this "new economy" will tell you to network, network, network. But I'm actually a little tired of this advice. Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You to be Rich fame was on one of my favorite podcasts this last weekend, Marketplace Money. Sethi was clarifying some comments he made on the week previous about it being essentially a waste of time to send out a bunch of resumes:

Now, let's take Person B. They say, "You know what, for the first two weeks I'm gonna do a little bit of homework. I'm gonna really figure out what company I want, what job title I want. I'm gonna do a little networking. I'm gonna take some people out for coffee for informational interviews." And by the time I send out my first 10 resumes, they're going to be highly targeted. They're gonna use the language that the hiring manager himself or herself uses. And I'm going to have an inside connection to that job. So, this person who sent out 10 resumes, odds are they have a better chance of getting a job than the 80 resume submitter.

I agree with Sethi in principle. But I do think a resume is a good way of organizing your own life's bullet points. It's also very necessary as social lubricant.

Over at Ask a Manager this last week many of the commenters focused on what they felt was the scam of job sites. I feel like it's worth pointing out that's how I got hired at my current company. I found the job on one of the major online job boards (Monster, CareerBuilder). I can't remember if I applied there or I went to the company web site, but I did send my resume into a black hole, was called later for an interview, and was eventually chosen for the job. Granted this was pre-recession, but honestly the job market was not fantastic at this particular time either.

So will networking and targeting your resume probably give you a better chance at getting a job? Of course. But sometimes you just don't know anyone. Sometimes you are a fresh college graduate coming from a family background where your family members do not have professional connections. There's also no way that I as a young college graduate could have networked my way to my first professional job. I just did not have the confidence for it or the experience to even talk with folks. So I don't blame anyone for going the 100 resume submission route. We just hired someone this week and he was not a referral. We got his resume in a bin with thousands of others and now he has a job. Turns out it's a small world and he knew quite a few people in my department, but that's not what got him on our radar to begin with.

Now I like to help people. If I know a qualified person I would love to get them a job at my organization. But if you know my beefs with folks trying to network with me than it won't surprise you that very little initiative on your part will not inspire me to help you. If you ask me about jobs, and I know folks in the department you would be a perfect fit for, I am going to need a copy of your resume. It's awkward to contact someone with the intro, "I worked with Joe on a project and he is very intelligent and capable. I would recommend his work and if you are hiring suggest you consider him." The hiring manager if they are so inspired by my introduction is going to turn around say, "great, send me his resume." Will he look at it for more than 5 seconds? Probably not. But I need it to get things started. So definitely network with me and ask me about what you might want to do or who I know who you can talk to. But please don't neglect the resume.

(Photo via El Caganer)

1 comment:

  1. I have a friend who is a recruiter; every time I ask her if she’d be interested in assisting someone I know she asks me to send her their resume. Creating a good readable resume is still a must.

    Though I do agree with the advice on Ask A Manager - paying to post a resume is a waste of money, I do think posting your resume for free on a job board can’t hurt. When you are unemployed you need to take advantage of every job search avenue you can. Even if Alison’s statement that the really great recruiters don’t use these sites may be true, when you don’t have a job, a good network or experience you aren’t in a position to be choosy about what recruiters are reading your resume.