Outsourcing Your Job Search to Your Resume

Outsourcing Job SearchIn leading my job search classes, or when talking to job seekers as a recruiter, I often have people seeking help with their resume.

They fret because they sent out 20, 50, 100, or more resumes to job postings and have received no response. They’re sure that it’s because their resume is bad and they need it completely revamped.

I’m a big proponent of building a strong resume, and at times, some people are getting overlooked because their resume is poor. However, I find that in a majority of the cases, their resume is not the culprit, but rather some other factor.

Creating a “perfect” resume won’t solve their problem. They have to focus on other aspects of an effective job search and not “outsource” their job search to their resume alone. Sometimes fishermen use the wrong bait for the fish they’re trying to catch. For many people, a resume, no matter how good it is, will get the calls and interviews for you. It will take different bait to get results.

An effective resume is important, and I’ve written a lot about what makes a resume work in today’s job market. For some people it may require getting outside help if they can’t articulate their own experience, accomplishments, and achievements well.

However, for many people, no amount of fine tuning will get calls back when they simply send out their resume and wait. It can be for a variety of reasons…

  • They often send their resume to a wide variety of jobs without a targeted focus
  • They may be seeking a career change, while competing with other candidates who have performed a more similar job at a previous company
  • Their background may be very specialized and not clearly fit other available positions
  • They may be pursuing a position that requires relocation, competing with people that already live locally to the open position
  • They may be over-qualified, or under-qualified compared to other candidates applying
  • They may have skills very similar to a great number of other candidates and they don’t get noticed among the sea of other applicants
  • They may be pursuing positions where the company is seeking a rare combination of rare skills and they only have some of the requirements
  • They may be pursuing executive level positions where people are overwhelmingly hired either by networking, referrals, or using external recruiters.

In these cases, and others, a resume is usually secondary in the process to get an interview. Networking, personal contact, referrals, and other means are going to be the way to gain interest. And presenting a resume will only be necessary at a later stage.

Certainly, executing other strategies to get interviews takes more work and is outside the comfort zone for a great many people. It’s obviously easier and less stressful for most people to simply broadcast their resume to a number of job postings and companies and hope for a response. However, when that process doesn’t get the results, it may not be the resume that needs to change. It may be you that needs to try something new.

Don’t rely on your resume to get the results you need. Do what’s necessary to get your next job, whether it’s in  your comfort zone, or not.


Harry Urschel has over 20 years experience as a technology recruiter in Minnesota. He currently operates as e-Executives, writes a blog for Job Seekers called The Wise Job Search, and can be found on Twitter as @eExecutives.

Harry Urschel has over 20 years experience as a technology recruiter in Minnesota. He currently operates as e-Executives, writes a blog for Job Seekers called The Wise Job Search, and can be found on Twitter as @eExecutives.

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  1. Gwen Smith says:

    I am a job seeker recently laid off two months ago. I have a Bachelors degree with a concentration of Human Resources which I obtained nearly two years ago. I am still yet in the position to afford to repay my student loans. I have had my resume professionally written, network online and with friends, previous colleagues, classmates and family members though I am having no success in obtaining an interview. I don’t know what other approach to take in obtaining my ideal position and my experience is very minimal. What should I do?

    • Gwen, I would suggest doing a couple of things:
      -join a Human Resources professional group in your area. It will provide an avenue not only for continuing education, but open doors withing your community to meet other human resource professionals.
      -LinkedIn has groups as well (SHRM for example) that you could join to also network with peers on a nation-wide basis, and participate in/start discussions online.
      -Target companies you wish to work for, and use LinkedIn to find people within those companies to whom you could reach out.

      Hope this advice helps!

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