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Career Management Rant: It is Not Just About Tweaking Your Resume!

May 18, 2018

I just received another email asking me to “just help me with tweaking my resume”. I know that the sales approach to this kind request is to engage the client by helping them with their resume, build trust and cultivate the relationship to “sell” more of my services to them. Yet when I have tried this strategy, it has never resulted in a successful outcome for myself or the client.

In the past, these kinds of clients believe that landing the interview with an effective resume and cover letter will get them the job.  Often their words to me are “Get me in the door and I will land the job”.

The point is that application preparation is not where to begin a job search. Self-assessment is the crucial first step, even if the client thinks they know what she or he wants. A recent Guardian Jobs blog post entitled How to do a self-assessment of your skills by Corinne Mills reinforces the importance of self-assessment before any other job search steps.

“Doing this will help you provide valuable content for your CV and interviews, as you will uncover examples that illustrate your capabilities. It will also enable you to benchmark your employability, flag up any gaps and ensure you keep on track with the type of opportunities that are right for you. In effect, it prepares you to run an effective job search campaign”

What those who just want help with their resume don’t understand is that for their career transition to be successful, everything about their presentation from application to position negotiation has to be a consistent, cohesive and well-thought approach.

To understand the rationale for this, put yourself in the position of the hiring manager who is recruiting a new staff person. She or he wants to minimize risk. They want someone who has the skills and knowledge to perform the job well, but also, they need someone who will fit the staff team, management style and corporate culture. A mistake in hiring is costly. There is the lost time in re-initiating the hiring process, as well and the lost time in on boarding the new individual who does not work out. It can also have a negative impact on productivity and staff morale.

Frequently these clients think that saying what they think the employer wants to hear is the best strategy, but this approach frequently lead to inconsistencies in their overall presentation. The client needs a powerful understanding of why and how they fit the job.

If “who you are” in the resume does not match “who you are” in the interview, chances are slim for being hired. Even worse, if “who you are” in one part of the interview does not match with how you present yourself in another part of the interview, the risk will be far too high for the employer. Finally, if your words say one thing and your body language says another thing then the interviewer will bet success on another candidate.

Its not just about saying the right thing in the application to get an interview. It’s about knowing “who you are” and “who you want to be” in your next job. Specifically, knowing what specific strengths you have and which ones you want to bring forward to a new role is critical for success. It is also about knowing your values and assessing how the job title you are going needs to match with those values.  It’s about doing this thinking before you even begin to apply for positions.

What I have yet to learn is how to help potential clients understand why the “ just tweak my resume” approach fails so often in getting them a position in which they will excel, value highly and love to do.

Wayne Greenway is Senior Partner with Career Aviators, a Certified B Corporation®  that directs all profit to innovative youth leadership initiatives in Guelph. He is passionate about helping people to find jobs in which they will excel, value highly and love to do.

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