As have other resume writers I know, I’ve become quite talented at creating marketing documents that take into account what clients have to offer and what makes them stand out from others vying for the same position, and presenting this information to match the desired ‘hire’ profile as closely as possible.
Moreover, the better resume writers have learned how develop resumes that establish a unique personal brand that gets the documents noticed, even if it is in the middle of a stack of 100’s of other resumes, by being visually appealing and presenting success stories that validate a clients’ true worth and explain why they can do the job (depending on who they are of course) as well if not much better than others.
Among the most successful presentations I have created are Bio-Rez formats that have gotten excellent results when submitted directly to a company or someone the client wants to network with. As a matter of fact these resumes improved clients’ prior submit to response rate by up to 80%, thus getting them back to work in a shorter amount of time.
However this week I got yet another call from a client who told me about her recent traumatic experiences with a few so-called recruiters in well-known, mega-large placement agencies she visited to help her find a new job. From their tone and demeanour, I would not call the people she spoke with recruiters; they are more akin to 20th century employment agency personnel who spew negativity and have no interest in the positive traits a candidate can offer unless they are employed and a perfect match for a specific job opening. Worse yet, they try and impress on people that the way to get a job today is through conformity and uniformity in a resume rather than establishing a personal brand, their take on resumes is they are a “One-Size-Fits-All document.
Each person she encountered offered her the same message. They told her how few jobs there were in her field because companies moved these jobs out of state (this is NYC we are talking about); they told her how fierce the competition for these few jobs is; and finally, puffing their chests out, they told her how choosy they are in referring resumes to a client.
After all this they looked at her bio-rez formatted resume and told her they would never send a resume like this to a client. If she wanted their help she would need to rewrite it and rather than have it be eye catching and easy to read, with lots of useful information that established her personal brand, they told her it would have to conform to what they called a “tried and true” traditional chronological format their clients preferred containing a generic opening summary statement and a laundry list of jobs and responsibilities in a template that mimicked every other candidate resume in their database.
Almost in tears, she told me she could not understand this and when I revised her resume to conform to their wishes she could not fathom why they would prefer such a bland presentation over the original one that stood out and had so much more important information.
I told her the answer is simple; their goal and hers are not the same. Her goal is to get a job and theirs is to earn a fee. But they are only paid a fee on a contingency basis, so if the company interviewed 1 or 10 of their candidates and none were made an offer they come up empty. Also her goal was to better if not totally eliminate her competition whereas their goal is to create competition and control it. This is how most permanent placement companies working in the $30k to $120+k range work and why at all times, no matter what is said, their allegiance is to themselves, their company and their client; never to you, their candidate.
The bottom line is if your resume stands out to them it will also stand out to their client and this causes a dilemma for them because the more candidates they refer who are interviewed the better the odds are of their earning a fee. If one resume they submit stands out above the rest the tendency of the client is to choose that person and reject the others sent by that agent. This opens the door for their competitors to get their candidates in the door, thus lowering the odds of their making a placement. So naturally it is in the placement agency’s best interest to submit resumes that lack a personal brand so they can better control the outcome depending on their relationship with the client.
This is why if you choose to register and send your resume to a number of permanent placement agencies you may need to have another version of your resume prepared in a ubiquitous generic format to suit their needs.
My question is this: Is it in your best interest that your resume conforms to the status quo and unanimity? I think not. Let me know your thoughts.
As always I am available to review your resume at no cost if you email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and as a pre-Easter and Passover gift I am offering readers a 20% discount on bio-rez documents during the entire month of March.