Your Résumé is Simply Not Enough

Your résumé is simply not enough

[ Why looking for a career change or a new role requires more than just sending out your résumé or uploading it on various ATS* ]

6 seconds.

Time is not on your side

That is the average amount of time recruiters spend reviewing an individual résumé, according to a study released by TheLadders, an online job search site.

Now ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do you know what the recruiter is looking for specifically?
  2. Are you aware of how they make hiring decisions?
  3. What do you think they consider to be relevant criteria for an effective résumé?

Do you know who you are dealing with?

The fact is you will never know, with any degree of certainty, what various recruiters are thinking about any of these issues. But it makes sense for you to spend some time wrapping your head around these difficult issues, even if you believe you don’t have the answers.


Because when you put yourself in your reader’s shoes, you will do a better job of addressing their needs or issues and get closer to your intended goals.

Why do we do what we do?

In reality, why don’t we actually do the above more often?

What would you do if, as a recruiter, you had 466 résumés to review today alone?

Because it is hard work.
Because it is so much easier to just slap together some paragraphs, put all our history together chronologically, follow blindly how everyone else is doing these tasks and just hope against hope that your reader, the recruiter or potential hirer, will be able to see you the way you see yourself in your head.

You’ve written a 10-page résumé. It looks solid with detailed descriptions of every responsibility you’ve ever held.
Do you think the recruiter is going to go through, with a fine-toothed comb, every item on your list?
Would you?
Do you have the patience?
At what page would your attention drop off?
What would you do if, as a recruiter, you had 466 résumés to review today alone?

It is one step. But wait, there’s more…

The résumé is only part of the puzzle that is you.

Don’t you think you need to be out there too?

But increasingly, in this digital age, it is becoming less and less relevant as recruiters and employers begin to look to other sources of good talent. In his article, The Battle for Talent: How Tech Companies Find Top DevelopersChirag Kulkarni says that instead of swimming in a sea of résumés, today’s top tech companies are going straight to the source – at platforms like Woo, Whitetruffle and Jobr. “New platforms for the digital era”, these companies provide an opportunity for developers to not only put themselves out there but to also enable these developers to specify the kind of roles they want and companies they want to be part of. Don’t you think you need to be out there too?

The customised approach

Have you been guilty of sending out mass emails – a generic approach for a variety of roles? You took comfort in the fact that you achieved something – 20 applications sent out today – rather than facing the brutal truth that a generic approach would be sniffed out a mile off and fail to help you in any way.

Yes, it takes time and it’s hard work to provide a customised approach to a role you seek.

What digital footprint have you created for yourself?

According to CareerBuilder’s annual social media recruitment survey in 2016, 60 percent of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates, up significantly from 52 percent in 2015, 22 percent in 2008 and 11 percent in 2006, when the survey was first conducted. Additionally, 59 percent of hiring managers use search engines to research candidates – compared to 51 percent in 2015.

So whether you think your social life is for you to manage how you like and whether you believe that it should have no impact on your professional life, more and more employers are looking into your digital footprint to gauge whatever they can about you. They are reading your posts on social, your articles on LinkedIn Pulse and your comments on other people’s posts.

Therefore, it makes sense for you to craft – yes, craft, a digital presence for yourself with intent. This should not be left to chance.

Remember that the aim of the résumé is to get an interview

So says Dr John Sullivan in his ERE Media article, Why You Can’t Get a Job… Recruiting Explained by the Numbers.

The résumé is one way. The other ways?

It’s about being noticed for the right reasons.

Make contact with others in the field you are interested in.
Make contact with the organisation itself. With as many people across the different departments.
Find ways to make yourself stand out professionally. Think about opportunities in speaking, writing or blogging that you can explore.  You may not have the relationships in place but you can start the process today.
You can write to establish your brand. If you don’t yet want to invest in setting up a blog or your own personal website, then guest post or put up LinkedIn Pulse posts when you can. If you are worried about how to write your first article, get some help to make it happen.
It’s about developing your voice, which takes time.
It’s about being noticed for the right reasons.
It’s about using a multitude of actions to help you on the path you’ve set on.

Your résumé is important. But so are a few other critical steps as part of this process. Overall, if you can put yourself in the shoes of a potential hirer and then ask yourself:

  • what questions is the hirer likely to want to ask of me, whether these questions are stated or not?
  • what impression will the hirer have of me on seeing my résumé?
  • what will the hirer expect from the role I am applying for and how will I address this issue?
  • what can I do to make myself more noticeable to my target hirer?
  • if the hirer is coming across hundreds of résumés much like mine, how and what can I do to stand out?

Doing that, you will put together an approach – and a résumé  – that is far more targeted to your needs.

What do you find is working for you now in your approach?
Do you have other suggestions to add to this?

If you like this post, I hope you will share it.

*ATS (Applicant tracking system)
#LinkedIn #career #résumé #CV
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