You want a new job.
So you put together a resume (maybe with some professional assistance), fire it off in response to a job posting (or several), and expect instant success.
No sweat because that stellar resume will win you the dream job all on its own…. right?!
Yes, a modern and customized resume is an essential part of your job search arsenal. But resumes alone don’t win jobs – people do.
A large portion of the people that I assist believe their resume is going to do ALL of the job search work for them. They are eager to invest in a professionally written resume but refuse to invest in any other job search steps or tools. This is dangerous.
Often a resume doesn’t yield the anticipated results…and people become discouraged, lost, and confused. Resumes start to build a bad rap.
Ultimately, the only person who can win a job is you. And winning the job takes effort on multiple levels.
1. Career Planning
Do you fully understand your abilities and strengths? Do you know what positions are best suited for your skills?
Don’t fire off your resume to random and disjointed roles and hope a job will magically become a good match. Blind submissions to a wide range of roles will result in failure because they may not be a good match for your abilities AND your resume will not be properly targeted in content. Understand yourself first… and then align yourself with best-suited positions.
2. Researching and Networking
What jobs exist in your target area or field? What is the best way to apply for these positions? Have you researched the companies you truly want to work for? Have you reached out to people in your network for ideas or leads?
Good research and networking can identify better options, clearer paths, new opportunities, and eye-opening information. Save yourself time and energy; don’t pursue roles that are not a good match. Nurture relationships with people who can help. Referrals have high ROI.
3. Job Search Strategies
How do you plan to locate and apply to positions? What are your action plans to overcome challenges? Are you aware of modern job search approaches?
Online job postings yield the lowest ROI and one of the biggest job search hurdles is the dreaded Applicant Tracking System (ATS) that employers use to screen candidates. Reduce efforts on online job boards; diversify and modernize your approach. In addition, ensure you use the correct resume format for online submissions.
4. Career Documents
Do you have a snappy cover letter to introduce your resume (for those employers that are expecting one)? Have you spent time developing a robust LinkedIn profile? Did you prepare a provoking thank you letter or bio? Is your reference sheet ready to go?
Yes, a good resume is essential (and getting help to develop a modern resume is an excellent idea), but each of the above-mentioned materials will be scrutinized. Dedicate equal investment in all career documents, including building a solid online presence on LinkedIn, creating a modern cover letter, and having your references ready.
5. Interview Preparation
Will you be able to overcome the scrutiny of an intense interview? Are you able to articulate your skills with confidence? How prepared are you to speak about job search barriers (employment gaps, etc.)?
Don’t assume that once the resume gets your foot in the door the job is a guarantee. The hardest part of the selection process is still to come and you have to be prepared. Devote sufficient time to practice for interviews. Engage a professional to guide you through this process if you have any concerns.
6. Job Offer Negotiation
When the question of salary comes up – what will you say? Do you understand your value? What is the ‘going rate’ for similar professionals in your industry? Are you confident you won’t sell yourself short during negotiations?
Money is usually the most sensitive issue in the hiring process. Discussing compensation often causes anxiety for both parties, but negotiating salary is an expected and normal part of the job search process. You want to negotiate from a position of strength – therefore preparation is imperative! Negotiating a higher starting offer can also make a big difference in your pay long-term.
With these points in mind, it’s clear that a resume alone won’t win you a new job. As a job seeker, you must own and manage your career search, investing in stellar tools AND stellar strategies to land your ideal position faster!
Adrienne Tom is a multi-certified, award-winning Executive Resume Writer, Employment Strategist, and Interview Coach at Career Impressions. She packages executives and astute business leaders for high-level employment and career success.