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Do you need a resume? It depends.

resumeRecently, Seth Godin made this statement on his blog.

I think if you’re remarkable, amazing or just plain spectacular, you probably shouldn’t have a resume at all.

The reason is simple. If you are really, really good at what you do [remarkable] the resume is just a formality. I’ve been on plenty of job hunts both from both perspectives and I know this to be true. When I’ve been looking for a job I have always translated “We have your resume and we’ll be reviewing it soon.” to mean “You aren’t our top choice, we’ll call you when the #1 person isn’t coming.” And when I’ve been looking to fill a position I have already talked to the best candidates before I start collecting resumes. Or worse, when I’ve started looking for resumes it means that I don’t know what I’m looking for exactly.

What is a resume, anyway? It’s a self-marketing tool. That’s all it is. You are casting a light on yourself to highlight what you are good at and hide what you aren’t good at.

Confession time. In both my ministry and my health insurance career I have been “lucky enough” to land on head hunters phone lists. What that means is that I have occasionally gotten calls from people whose job is to talk happy employees (me) out of their jobs to try a new business or ministry. [Trust me, I'm not going anywhere! 28 years left on the mortgage.] My response has always been the same two fold answer.

  1. “Why would I leave a place I’m happy with for a place that had to hire a head hunter to get someone?”
  2. “Why should I send you a resume when you’re calling me tells me “they” want me because you’re calling me out of the blue to try to talk me into leaving this job?”

In that instance, my resume isn’t important. When a headhunter calls you, you are already in the drivers seat for that job. That’s a scary place to be but it is the truth of the situation.
When is your resume important?

  1. When you are looking for an entry to mid-level job.
  2. When you are trying to get a first job in a new location or field.
  3. When you aren’t sure exactly what you want.
  4. When you are forced by circumstances to cast a wide net. (laid off, fired, or living in Michigan)

When is your resume unimportant?

  1. When you’re not looking but get a call asking for it.
  2. When you’re a “known” entity in a job field or location.
  3. When the aggressor in the job search is the employer.

If all three of those are true, you might as well send them a napkin with your phone number as you’re skipping the pre-screening phase and going right to the big interview.

What do you think? What are your job searching tips?

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2 Responses to Do you need a resume? It depends.

  1. Joe Bennett March 21, 2008 at 10:27 am #

    Over the last six months I have learned this lesson. The new job that I’m starting on Monday just fell into place without a resume.

  2. Damn July 10, 2010 at 9:29 pm #

    WOW. You are cocky and VERY Conceited. No lies.

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