Your resume is not about getting the job (it’s something else)

By Scot Herrick | Job Search

May 11

The next post here on Friday is going to be an excellent infographic about the resume. It has great statistics, good pointers, what recruiters think…in, short, something you should take a look at. And you knew there was a but, right?

It’s this: the embedded title of the resume is about how your resume lands you a job. Have a great resume = get a great job.

It’s totally false. Unintended. But false.

Where is the resume in the job search process?

Think about what you have to do to get a job. The typical search process, greatly simplified, is that you create resume -> submit resume (business networking, job boards, or other) -> have phone interview -> have face-to-face interview -> get a job offer.

Yes, you can have 27 interviews and maybe some of them are on video, but what I want you to pay attention to is where the resume sits in this process. It sits at the beginning of the process. Getting a job offer is at the end of the process.

That “interview” thing sits between submitting a resume and getting a job offer.

The problem with resume = getting a job

Your resume doesn’t get you the job. And that’s a problem because too many people think all they need to do is have a fabulous one and the world is their oyster.

And while you need to ensure the resume represents your work compared to the job description, the next step after submitting a resume is…have an interview. Not get the job.

The resume serves only one purpose

When you look at the actual search process, it becomes clear that unless your resume can secure a job interview, you’ll never have the opportunity to get the job. And that is the only purpose: to get the job interview.

When you don’t believe that, you end up not paying attention to the other job search skills needed at this point: interviewing skills. Typically, both phone and face-to-face interviews.

Because we don’t interview for jobs very often, our interviewing skills are optimistically rusty or incredibly poor. We typically don’t know how to describe our job skills, accomplishments, and how we fit into teams — and especially don’t know how to describe these using stories that really get us to the job offer.

And if you count on your resume as the artifact that will push you over the top, well, you’ll lose.

Your resume, then, represents your work. You, however, need to be able to describe your work. You need to tell the story of how your work helped the business achieve their business goals.

Your resume is important; getting the interview, in my mind, meant I could get the job because I know how to interview.

But the resume never got the job. It, instead, opened the door to the job. Once that door opened, I graciously thanked it for doing excellent work and then started the interview process. The rest of the work was on me.

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About the Author

Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations.