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Bad Examples From Real Job Seekers

February 6th, 2014

liz_handlin_ultimate_resumesI follow my Austin buddy Liz Handlin, owner of Ultimate Resumes, on Facebook and am entertained by her experiences with job seekers. Here’s something she shared on Facebook recently…. see my comments below the box. (I [edited] some of this to try to protect anyone who needs protecting, although I imagine this plays out dozens of times each month)

Stupid things that people do when interviewing for a job #4,000:

[Someone] called to tell me about a guy she interviewed for a job at her company yesterday. She … never would have chosen to interview him because he had a 1 page resume with a colorful timeline in the middle of his resume and little useful information.

Interviewer: I see that you have a 1 page resume. There isn’t much information on here so it’s hard for me to assess your accomplishments.

Candidate: Well I am really trying to push people to look at my LinkedIn page and not my resume. That is where you can see the bulk of my experience.

Interviewer: (looks at resume and notices that his LinkedIn address is NOT EVEN ON THE RESUME) Hmmm.

Two main problems (these are Liz’s observations and advice):

  1. if you want interviewers to see your LinkedIn profile put the address on your resume, and
  2. your resume should be comprehensive enough that an interviewer doesn’t have to go anywhere else to get a good sense for your accomplishments. Don’t create more work for interviewers.

Folks, seriously. The MAIN issue here is that the job seeker (aka, the marketer, or person marketing their services) made it HARD for the decision-maker (buyer) to make a decision. What’s worse, they intentionally made it harder!

I get that you want people to get to your LinkedIn profile, but consider your audience, and the situation.  If you are in an interview, the interviewer usually has their resume in front of you (so they don’t mix you up with the fifty other people they are interviewing/considering).    If your resume doesn’t have any meat, what are they to do?  Remember how awesome your LinkedIn profile is?

NO!

Give them the information they need when they need it, which is on the resume.

I know you want your LinkedIn profile to be your resume, but for now, until people catch up to your vision, you need to play the game.  They expect a marketing document from you that has sufficient information (aka, your resume), and they use this marketing document to compare you with your competition, who has a similarly formatted marketing document (aka, resume).  If your formatting is not close enough to the rest, you might be discarded.  If your information is not deep or broad enough, and the others are, you might be discarded.

This is called “the game.”  For now, the rules are established, and they have been for decades.  You can try to make a statement and change the rules, and it might work with some companies and some people, but you risk losing out to others who know the rules of the game.

I don’t need to talk about the one-page thing, or the graphic in the middle thing, but I do want to address the “go to my Profile” issue.

On my webinars I tell people that they need to understand the concept of channel and destination.  This job seeker was using his resume as a channel to get to the destination (the LinkedIn profile).  He did it poorly, by not putting a link, but still, that was his intention.

Are you sure you really want to send someone to your LinkedIn profile as the destination?  Or, are you hoping the LinkedIn profile is one more step in the channel to get to the destination? I can’t answer that for you, but for me:

MY LINKEDIN PROFILE IS NOT THE DESTINATION I WANT YOU TO GET AT.

When I was finishing my basement the heating and air guys came in.  We talked about where we wanted vents, and they said every time you put a bend in the duct work it decreases efficiency (after they bend) by some crazy amount, like 25% or 33%.  In other words, every time the air has to bend (usually at 90 degrees), you lose efficiency.  Put a bunch of bends in one line and you won’t get much air out of the vent.

This is the same for the channel/destination concept.  Each time you give someone something with the hope that they will go somewhere else, you lose a part of their interest.  Just send them to where you want to send them first, without having them jump through hoops, go around bends, and ultimately get distracted!

 

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3 Responses to “Bad Examples From Real Job Seekers”

  1. Liz Handlin says:

    Jason

    Great post and great additional tips to enhance my 2 very basic ones.

    Liz

  2. Barry Groh says:

    Jason,

    You come up with some very good points on this topic. I thank you for that, but also wonder. The idea is to give the interviewer just enough information to leave them wanting more, but not so much as to have them throw out your resume because it is too laborious to read through. I also remember somewhere that at one point the idea was to be as brief as possible, so the one-page resume was the idea.

    Has the playing field changed? How much is too little or too much? I don’t think we need to tell our life story on a resume; that is for an interview if requested. But I also want to make sure they want to read what I have on my resume.

    I still support the KISS ideal, but has that too gone its own way, and is no longer necessary?

    Barry

  3. Jason Alba says:

    Hi Barry, I would suggest a lot changes and a lot stays the same.

    I’ve heard the “don’t give too much” when talking about a 30 second pitch… but not in a resume. The length of the resume, imo, has to do with communicating the right information for the opportunity and audience, not a booklet with everything you’ve done since you got out of middle school.

    I’m not a resume expert, but as someone who has been a hiring manager, I want to have as much information as I should have about you before the interview. If you give me a sparse resume, I’m going to think you are either unqualified or trying to play a game with me.

    The difference between this baiting concept in a 30 second pitch and a resume is that in the face-to-face pitch, we can have that back-and-forth dialog… it’s part of the conversation. You wouldn’t give EVERY bit of your history when it is your “turn” to talk, because it is back-and-forth.. it is a conversation.

    A resume, though, is not a conversation. It is a marketing document… and it has to have enough information to get to the next step.

    Finally, regarding the length of a resume, this is disputed on all kinds of second-rate articles online… but you have to consider your level and industry before you let a sweeping generalization dictate the length or content of your resume.

    Just some random thoughts…

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