The Resume

5 Things Your Resume Won’t Do For You

5 Things Your Resume Won’t Do For You

1. Get You A Job
Too many people think their resume will get them a job. Others mistakenly think that their resume is what got them a job in the past which is why they refuse to revise it. It is very frustrating to coach a client or student and provide critique on their resume only to listen to them say, “Well, my resume can’t be too bad – it got me my last several jobs.” No, your resume didn’t get you a job because a resume doesn’t get anyone a job. Resumes are print advertisements designed to entice employers to invite you to an interview. A resume is simply marketing collateral that helps you progress to the next phase in the hiring process. Does anyone actually have a story in which an employer hired someone because they saw a resume? Does it sound reasonable that an employer would never meet or speak with a candidate until they called to offer that candidate a job simply because of a resume? It’s an absurd notion. Thinking a resume will get you a job hinders your ability to identify the true effectiveness of a resume which is to get you interviews. If you think your resume has gotten you a job in the past, it also can prevent you from being open to critique and revising it.

2. Make up for not Being Qualified
A well written resume with no typos, nice use of bolds, italics, and a great summary still won’t make up for you not being qualified for a job. Even an award winning writer, an expert in resume writing, or a print ad genius can’t write a resume that will make up for the fact that you don’t have the experience, skills, credentials, past achievements, or education an employer is seeking. If you just graduated from school with mediocre grades, no job experience, and a week portfolio, what makes you think Google, Apple, or Microsoft is going to hire you? You may think you’re awesome, that you have great “ideas,” or that top companies should hire you because you have a degree, but if you’re not qualified, they won’t. Your resume can’t hide your lack of qualifications no matter how well written it is unless you have filled it with lies. If you lie, you will be found out.

3. Hide Your Reputation
No matter how well written your resume is, it won’t hide your reputation. Employers will likely ask for references and they will conduct background checks. You may be thinking, “That’s fine, I don’t have a criminal record and I have some references so I’ll be good.” That’s where you’d be wrong. Some employers won’t ask for references so you can give them who you want them to call; they may simply call people without telling you or specifically ask you for the information of people at your last company who are not on your reference list. Employers are smart and they are becoming increasingly careful with who they hire. Additionally, employers will Google you and search social media. If you don’t manage your online reputation, employers may find something you forgot existed or didn’t realize was searchable.

4. Make up for a Poor Portfolio
A well written resume is great but it is only one marketing material in a suite of marketing materials that helps you become employed. Employers don’t just want to read claims of greatness, they want to see proof. They don’t want to just read about skills, they want to see demonstrations of skill. Your resume won’t make up for having a weak portfolio or no portfolio. A portfolio is simply evidence of competency. If you are trying to break into a creative or technical career such as Graphic Design, Software Development, or video production, your portfolio is particularly important. In fact, your portfolio is more important than any resume you can write.

5. Make up for a Poorly Written Cover Letter
You may have a well written resume, but it won’t make up for a poorly written cover letter. Both your resume and cover letter need to be tailored to the specific needs of the employer. You can’t submit a generic cover letter with a very well written and targeted resume and expect that your resume will make up for the poor cover letter.

Most employers realize that the most important decision they can make for their organization is to hire the right people for the right job. When employers hire, they definitely aren’t basing their decision on a single document. Your resume is about 10% of the entire picture and arguably less. It is important enough to get you in the game, but it isn’t what gets you to the finish line.


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