Burn Your Resume. Not Your Chances.

“There I was, polishing up my resume and getting ready to load it on one of those Internet job boards, when it finally occurred to me that this wasn’t working,” said John Meyer, a senior executive. He went on to tell me that for months he had been sending his resume to hundreds of postings with hardly an acknowledgment that the company had received it, let alone an interview.

So why isn’t the resume, the time-tested career tool we have all used successfully in the past, working the way it once did?

There are a number of reasons, but here are the two biggest;

The Internet. You can now electronically “zap” your resume to hundreds and thousands of destinations. As strong of an idea as that may seem to the job seeker, it’s not such a great thing for the hiring manager. The problem is recruiters and companies are being deluged with so many resumes, to the tune of hundreds or thousands a day, they seldom even look at them.

Blame it on the market or the economy, but companies are now a lot slower and more selective in their hiring processes. They can be. They have lots of candidates to choose from. Plus, given reports that show that close to 50% of workers “stretch the truth” on their resume, they want “proof” that you will be a good fit in their culture.

Here’s the point. Today’s job seekers must go above and beyond in differentiating themselves from the masses of people looking for a new position. Sending a resume, in my opinion, doesn’t accomplish that goal. It doesn’t mean you’re not experienced, smart, and hard working. It may say that you’re not particularly enterprising, that you’re content to just throw out your info and see what happens.

In our current business environment, it’s not enough.

Is the resume going to go away? I doubt it. Most companies and recruiters still require one. But there is something you can do to get the attention of a decision-maker at a company. It’s a job proposal. I can say that with authority because I used one to get my last two great positions in the Denver market. I never submitted a resume to either of the prospective employers, both of which never asked me for one after they had received my job proposal.

What is a job proposal? It’s a one or two page “mini business plan” that’s intended to get you an interview with the decision-maker of a targeted prospective employer. Where a resume tells someone what you have done in the past, a job proposal tells in some detail what you are going to do for the company down the road. Specifically, how you will help them achieve their vision of success. It generally explains the vision you have for a new product or service, how to enhance an existing program, or why to implement a new process. It may also outline your plan to increase company sales or improve accounts receivable. You get the idea

Today’s change-an-hour economy and resulting job market is volatile and unpredictable. It’s also a great time to move your career forward. When you challenge the relevance of traditional job search strategies and begin utilizing tools and techniques that clearly distinguish you from the pack, most anything is possible, including winning a dream job with a great company during a down economy.