99 Resumes Sat on a Wall

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On a weekly basis I receive emails and phone calls from friends and colleagues looking for new opportunities or changing roles. Over the past 10 years, I have hired or referred a lot of people. I am not sure what the economic drivers are but recently there have been more requests for help or referrals. As the frequency of the requests have increased, the diversity of the group has also increased. I am not an expert in resume building or job hunting but I believe people reach out because they know I will make an honest attempt to help them. For this reason, I will share a few tips in short order. I know there are plenty of blogs about this but the difference here is that I am NOT a professional recruiter or job coach and I am looking to reflect what happens in the actual practice as opposed to what you “should do.”

1. Recruiters are in the business of recruiting. Simply put, they are looking to sell the commodity known as YOU. If they see value and they can make something happen they will. If they don’t, there is a good chance that you will end up in a database and you will be forgotten or discarded.

2. Everyone will ask you to change your resume. If you are working with a recruiter, they will give you a lot of great tips. They will also look to make you more attractive from their perspective so they can sell you. They will most likely ask you to alter your resume for every position.

3. Write cover letters. I have been told over and again by people receiving my referrals to please ask candidates to include a cover letter.

4. Know your story. It sounds a little cliché but you have to really know what you have done. You have to get past the filter person to even get an interview. Chances are if they hear or see anything inconsistent, you will be dropped off their radar quickly.

5. Know what you want. Years ago when I interviewed for a position in York County School Division, I was unknowingly up against 75 other candidates. I didn’t get the job that I was interviewing for but I was very clear as to what I wanted and where I felt I could fit in. The hiring manager said that while I currently wasn’t a good fit for this job that I could interview again for a similar job. I got the job and later with the necessary experience I was able to gain a promotion into the original job I interviewed for. If you know what you want and you are consistent and productive, you will get it.

6. Call your network. I know a lot of people who look bad on paper but when you see and hear them through your network, they are awesome. Your network is what will ultimately get you a job.

7. Do unto others. Advocate for people. If you have a chance to help someone, please help them.

8. Think Rocky. You will send messages and hear nothing back. You will talk to people who tell you they will call you and they don’t. You will get very clear feedback from some people who is just “them being honest with you.” You will be told that you are over qualified. You will be told that you aren’t qualified. At times you will feel alone but this isn’t the time to stay down. Get up off the canvas and yell “c’mon is that all you got!” Giving up will only limit your options and exacerbate the problem. You want to broadcast in a positive and effective manner your personal brand.

A few other side notes that I have heard is don’t oversell yourself or fabricate anything on your resume. The whole idea of “fake it till you make it” can backfire on you especially if you are saying that you are Brain Surgeon or Advanced Analytics expert. Also, if you don’t want to change your resume 99 times, don’t change it.


Feel free to reach out to me or comment here.  My email address is howardscohenmba@gmail.com

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