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Writing A Resume - Don't Forget Its Role In The Process Of Finding A New Job

May 29, 2008
Too many would be job applicants get overly worried about the quality of their resume (curriculum vitae). Although I'm not advocating a sloppy document, in my experience, too many people spend a disproportionate time on it.

Most would-be candidates I speak to will spend 10% of their time looking for jobs, 10% preparing for the interview and 80% making their resume look perfect.

Worst still, once they've perfected the resume, they keep it static, regardless of the role they've applied for (but that's another story).

At the risk of sounding like I'm talking to a dog, I'll spell this out as simply as I can.

A resume won't get you a job.

Don't confuse yourself. Nobody got a job just by applying. Ok, I'll admit maybe one or two have, but for 99.999% of roles, it simply moved them one step along the process.

Recruitment is a numbers game.

Simply put, the more applications you make, the more interviews you will get. The more interviews you get, the more job offers you will receive.

You could strike it lucky and submit one application, get interviewed and offered the job. This is rare and not to be relied upon. The more applications you put out there, the better your chances of being interviewed.

It sounds so obvious, doesn't it? Yet most job seekers would rather rely on the immaculate resume that does all the work for them. One application, a killer resume and the job is theirs before they even turn up for the interview. Meeting the employer is just a formality.

Despite the numbers aspect, I would like to add that if you have a choice between 100 standard applications for jobs or 50 tailored applications, I would say your chances of getting an interview would be greater with the 50.

Me? I'd go for 100 tailored applications. Cover the numbers and the quality. Unfortunately, we live in an age where we want something for nothing. We all want to be millionaires and work only a few hours per week. In reality, fortune favours the hard worker.

So how would I recommend the division of labour? Well as the recruitment process is a funnel i.e. wider at the top than the bottom, you need to spend most time looking for jobs. You'll need to find more jobs to apply for than potential interviews. And in turn you'll need plenty of potential interviews to generate the job offers.

I wouldn't like to be prescriptive about percentages, but if you spent 50% of your time job-searching and then 30% of your time tailoring your resume, that would leave you 20% to spend preparing for interviews.

This is some way away from my prediction of a typical job seeker at the beginning. Yet the numbers make sense. Armed with this knowledge, the question is, what will you do with it?

My father used to laugh at my shyness with girls. He once told me that if I asked 100 girls out, at least a few were bound to say yes. A simple numbers game.

I agreed with his logic but, do you know what, I never followed his advice. The question is, will you be as stubborn as I was?
About the Author
Mark Walton is the author of 21 Ways to Build the Perfect Resume, a self-help guide for people looking for a new job. If you want to improve your chances of getting a job offer then go to: http://www.jobhuntingresults.com/Resumes.htm to see how you can ensure you'll get short-listed for an interview.
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