Wait! Don’t Start Your Job Search with a Resume Update
Yet another resume update is not the best first step to take if you are looking for a new job!
I have said this before, and I am going to say it again: I despise resumes. They are historical. They state what you’ve done, not what you can do and not necessarily what you want to do next.
In today’s search for work, it is a waste of time to do another resume update without a job posting to specifically target.
If your resume doesn’t contain exactly the right keywords, it won’t show up in a recruiter’s search within ATS (applicant tracking system). Consider the job posting the RFP (request for proposal) from the company. And your resume is the proposal.
Your resume should ONLY address the critically important requirements of the job, using as much of the job posting’s language as possible.
But What About The Cover Letter?
Yes, your cover letter may include some of the same things, but who knows if or when the cover letter will be read. If recruiters/HR/hiring managers are too busy to read the resume, what makes you think they will have time to read your cover letter? Some always do, others never will.
What Do You Want To Do?
I was meeting with one man who wanted help with his resume and before I even looked at it I asked him “What do you want to do?”
He said, “I am an Engineer”. I said, “OK, but that wasn’t my question, what do you want to do?”
He thought for awhile then said, “I have been an Engineer my whole life.”
I asked him if he enjoyed his work. “It has supported me and my family”. I asked him again if he enjoyed it and he admitted: “For the most part”.
“Life is short” I reminded him.
“You now have the opportunity to do something that you love, or at least brings you great joy. You have lost your job and have been given permission to re-evaluate how you spend the rest of your working life”.
He hadn’t asked himself that question. It was hard.
What Are You Proud Of?
I believe he did use to enjoy being an Engineer, but he was no longer passionate about his work. Then, I began reading the laundry list of job duties on his resume. I couldn’t tell anything about him from these duties. So, I asked him to tell me about something in his recent past he was proud of. After a long pause, he told me a story. As he told the story, I saw his eyes twinkle and a smile came across his face. Now I could begin working on his resume. In his story, I heard his skills and hidden strengths. I saw a glimpse of his passion.
Start Your Search By Recalling Your Stories
Start writing down the times you felt proud of your work. These are the stories that you can use to find your future path.
They are called accomplishments.
Your job search must begin with you knowing what your are great at doing and what you enjoy doing not another resume update. From there, you can begin investigating jobs that will allow you to use these skills in an environment that fits what you need!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Career Sherpa.
About the Author: Hannah Morgan is a career sherpa, guiding new job seekers through the treacherous terrain of job search. If you are looking for no-nonsense advice, check out her site Career Sherpa. And follow Hannah on Twitter for the latest job search news and trends!
This article is reprinted by permission from