Why Your Resume Doesn’t Really Matter
And what to do instead if you want to land your dream job
The job market has never been more competitive than it is today.
To put things into perspective, the average job posting gets over 250 applications, making your odds of even getting an interview around 2%. Your chances of standing out, well, are almost non-existent. Not exactly the best way to go about landing your ultimate dream job, is it?
Not in 2017.
The old ways of thinking about the job application process are simply not going to cut it anymore. And sticking to your resume will only make it so much easier for recruiters to ignore you, even if you are the perfect candidate for the job.
So why are you still putting so much time into your resume when you know your chances are slim to none?
Here’s the truth: your resume doesn’t really matter anymore.
You’ve been thinking of doing something different in your career for a while now but haven’t really found anything that you would like enough (or are qualified for).
One day, however, while scrolling through your LinkedIn newsfeed, you see a job posting that is perfect for you.
As soon as work is over, you head straight home to freshen up your resume. You update your recent accomplishments at work, run a spellcheck, and send it off feeling pretty confident in yourself.
A few days go by and you haven’t heard anything but, hey, that’s normal. However, another week goes by and you begin to worry…
Was I not qualified? Was there a typo in my resume? Maybe they are just busy and haven’t started calling people yet. I should wait another week.
One week turns into three and you slowly come to the realization that you were yet again passed by, and you’re left there wondering what you did wrong (yet again).
The Evolution of Resumes
We’ve all been there, and it sucks. You start second-guessing your work experience and wondering if your unique skills and talents may not be so unique after all.
This is the applicant’s endless nightmare: doing the same things over and over with the exact same fruitless results.
Kind of sounds like insanity, right?
It hasn’t always been like this though. Back in 1482, Leonardo da Vinci was actually the first person to create a resume.
Yep, just like you and me, the famous Renaissance man had to put together a list of his accomplishments in order to land his next gig. But we don’t write with bird feathers and black ink anymore and resumes have evolved quite a bit since then.
Originally, resumes were purely a formality.
They were used to verify the details of an applicant’s past employment and served as a detailed background summary in the application process.
Over time, they became more and more vital to the hiring process for companies, big and small.
Now in the digital age, resumes are typically shorter, rely more on visuals and include social media links (i.e. LinkedIn profile).
But just as resumes have evolved, so should your application process.
You see, rather than being the entire enchilada like they once used to be, resumes are just another piece of the equation now. Recruiters no longer look only at your resume to decide if you are a good fit for the position. They are looking at your entire digital footprint and personal brand.
And yet, we continue to apply for jobs in the exact same ways we always have. It’s what I refer to as The Applicant’s Dilemma.
The Applicant’s Dilemma
If you’ve ever applied for a job and never heard back from the recruiter or company, it sucks.
In fact, ⅕ applicants never even get a rejection letter from companies they applied through. I mean come on, if you’re going to stand us up — at least have the courtesy to call.
Regardless, this doesn’t change the fact that your odds of getting a job using the traditional application methods are slim to none.
You see, how candidates (you and I) apply for a job is exactly the opposite of how recruiters actually hire. Take a look at the following breakdown of how candidates apply and how recruiters actually hire.
How Candidate’s Apply
1. Job Boards (42.9%)
2. Career Sites (32.1%)
3. Referral Programs (6.9%)
How Recruiters Hire
1. Referral Programs (39.9%)
2. Career Sites (21.2%)
3. Job Boards (14.6%)
While 40% of candidates are being hired from referral programs, only a mere 7% of candidates are using this method to apply for jobs. Instead, they blindly throw their resumes on job boards, which is kind of like trying to compete in the Hunger Games.
And the worst part?
Only a fraction of people are aware of this, and even fewer are actually doing something to change this broken strategy of “spray and pray”.
If you want to be a part of that tiny percentage and shift the odds ever in your favor, let me recommend a better approach, something that I call the 10–40–50 Rule.
The 10–40–50 Rule
This rule shows how you should allocate your time when applying for a job. If you follow it, you will start to focus on the most important components that will actually get you your dream job.
Here’s how the rule works (i.e. how you spend your time):
- 10% of your time should be spent on your resume, updating your LinkedIn profile, or professional website,
- 40% should be spent preparing for the interview,
- 50% should be spent on networking.
This rule follows exactly how recruiters approach hiring candidates: they focus on the people they know, like, and trust by getting a personal recommendation (networking) and talking with them in person (interview).
This approach isn’t always easy because networking takes time and it is not a skill most of us have perfected yet.
But it works every time.
This process helps you to refocus on what matters, which is the one skill you absolutely need to have if you want to make it to that interview (or land that job) in the first place.
When applying for a job, most people get laser focused on their resume. They spend hours meticulously sifting through Thesaurus.com, trying to find the perfect words that will make them stand out.
While I highly believe in tweaking your resume, you could be doing way more with your time.
Do the Important Work First
Applying for a job today is no longer that big of a deal.. All you have to do is click a couple of times on a screen and post your resume.
While it may be easy and convenient to do, that strategy will make you one of the 245 people who don’t get an interview.
If you are serious about getting a job, you must treat it as a serious investment.
That doesn’t mean applying for any random job just because it pays more than you make right now, but rather being intentional with what you’re looking for and why.
In conjunction with the 10–40–50 Rule, you also need to do the important work at the beginning.
Determine if the potential job is something you will love and if it is in the direction you want to take your career to.
The important work is done between your two ears. Figure out what you want first, then follow the rules above.
Ultimately, your resume doesn’t really matter because it’s just a tool to reach a bigger goal. And with that in mind, stop focusing on the tactics of building a resume and start working on the soft skills that make all of the difference.
If you’re ready to start crushing it in your career and want to set yourself up for success in your job hunt, grab a copy of my free Success Toolkit. It may be exactly what you need.
Originally published at www.scottabradley.com on June 13, 2017.