Seven Objections to Writing a Resumé Profile (Part 2)

Yesterday we listed the Seven Objections and their underlying assumptions. Today let’s look in more detail at Objections #1 to #3:

  1. I customize information for the job only in my cover letter.
  2. There are no firm criteria.
  3. This resumé is for any open position (=criteria are unknown).

These objections proceed from the false assumption that more detail (=more choices) is better.

The “Tailored Cover Letter” Objection
Most cover letters are never read.* Unless specifically requested as part of the criteria, cover letters do not count for any “points”. Cover letters are frequently separated** and filed before the person with the power to hire you sees your resumé.

Omitting to tailor your profile (and the rest of your resumé) makes you look unfocused, inconsistent and lazy – the last things you want a prospective employer to think about you.

We no longer live in the days of manual typewriters. Crafting a tailored profile on your computer is no harder than writing a cover letter. If all the great things you can say about yourself don’t seem to fit in your profile, save them for the interview. If you feel compelled to write a cover letter anyway, make sure you reflect everything concrete you say in your cover letter in your profile and the body of the resumé (not necessarily word for word, but reflect and substantiate).

  • * The best exposition of why cover letters are a waste of time is made by Phil Rosenberg. See Is Your Cover Letter an Ineffective and Obsolete Tradition?
  • **Sure, you could embed the cover letter in a pdf with your resumé – but you risk looking like two different people in the same document, one focused, and one who will take anything.

“The Criteria are Hazy/Unknown” Objection
In this case, if you don’t know the important criteria, it is your business to learn them. Whether or not there something is published about the position, use:
– your own common sense
– the advice of friends and your network
– research on the company, line of business, and domain
to determine what qualifications are most important to the job, then select those details to highlight in your profile

This approach can work to your advantage, because you will clarify the needed qualifications for the person with the power to hire you, and they will love you for it.

If there’s a job you want, or a company you long to join, why not start a list today of the people you could talk to about that company or their line of business? How about searching and bookmarking some websites that refer to the company, its business, its challenges – and its competitors? How about looking for someone who has just left the company? (Thanks to headhunter David Perry for this tip.) How about following the company through LinkedIn and Twitter?

Tomorrow we’ll discuss Objection #4, the agency demand to put everything in your resumé.

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2 Responses to Seven Objections to Writing a Resumé Profile (Part 2)

  1. Bill Fedun says:

    About once a month, I get a person who wants to do what I do…(make medieval armour) because it sounds like such a cool job. These are applicants who are serious enough to submit a resume. In the last two years, I have not seen a single applicant who I think “has the stuff” to be a smith. I think I am too selective. But, am I really? I really don’t care about their time as a baby sitter, a truck driver, an office worker or a waitress. I don’t expect experience, degrees, nor do I trust or much desire the product of the white bread high school system here in Ontario. What I do look for is somebody who has taken the trouble to learn a bit about the trade, to know the difference between a tasset and a tippet. To let me know that the desire to do what I do is not just the “flavor of the week”. I look for passion.
    So…do I have a little bit of advice to a prospect? Oh sure, plenty! It would include spending a day or two learning what you can about the job you are looking for, and in 75 words or less, explaining why I should pay money for you. I don’t know if that is the “summary” you are talking about Jennifer, but it should be right up front where I can see it. Such a statement should convey the passion, not the details.
    If there is no passion, I’ll just hire a couple of day workers from manpower as I need them for the blah jobs.

    • Jennifer says:

      Yes! Thanks for your comments, Bill.
      In my coaching adn training practice, I spend a lot of my time reminding job seekers that YOU MUST DO CUSTOMER RESEARCH. You cannot expect to be hired if you don’t know something about the business and why you want to work there. That means showing at first contact (whether in person, email, or first sentences in your resumé) It’s a bit rude, but I recommend David Perry’s recent blog post “Top 10 Reasons the Occupy Wall Street Protestors Can’t Find a Job”

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