resume writing

A Great Resume is Not Enough

An outstanding resume is necessary but not sufficient to get you in front of decision makers. Here are some reasons why.

You don’t fit

Even if you have a brilliant resume, if you don’t actually match the requirements of the job, you won’t get to first base. Even if you know that you can do the job and think that your experience and expertise are transferable to a different kind of role, employers can select from good applicants who have direct relevant experience. Many employers believe that it’s less risky to choose someone with a track record of achievement in the kind of role someone whose experience is not a close match.

You are ‘outgunned’

There is intense competition for the best opportunities in what are considered to be the best organisations in which to work. Unless you enjoy continuously hitting your head against hard objects, if you are consistently missing out because other people are perceived to be a better fit, identify niches, sectors, organisations or roles where you might have a convincing advantage and where the competition might be weaker.

Employers are conservative

Candidates with experience within an employer’s industry or sector have an advantage. Many employers take what they think is the safe path by hiring people with industry experience. While employers perhaps should hire people who have enduring and transferable qualities and attributes, it’s often not a winning argument. Recruitment consultants often won’t submit applications from candidates outside their clients’ industries because they could be told: “This one will need six months to become useful. I don’t have that much time.” If you want to shift into a new industry, look for organisations who recruit people with qualities and attributes not related to industry experience and clearly show how your skills and experience could be valuable in that sector.

Employers are biased towards locals

Even if you have great experience and a track record of outstanding contributions, but it’s from another country, you might find resistance. Although this might not be fair, this happens to many overseas candidates. Many employers believe that local experience is necessary and that candidates from other countries will take too long to become productive or effective. However, some employers are more enlightened. Therefore, look for employers with decision makers from your country, expect your search to take more time, see if you work for free or in contract roles to get local experience or identify employers where experience in your home country might be valuable.

You are aiming too low

Employers want people who are likely to still be there in six months. If you have been a senior manager for the past five years and you apply for a front line supervisory role, they think you will want to leave as soon as something more in line with your experience is available. They think that because that’s what has happened to them.

You are aiming too high

If you apply for roles one or two ‘levels’ above your current or most recent role, you will inevitably compete with people who can prove that they been effective at that higher level. Unless you are applying for a promotion within your current employer, look for opportunities at around the same level of responsibility you currently have, prove your value and then seek internal advancement.

Employers suspect entrepreneurs

Many employers believe that business owners will not fit into their organisation’s culture, are not patient with the status quo, will seek to change things and will identify all the problems in the organisation. Some employers ask: “Why do they want to work here if they have been a success in their own business?.” Therefore, look for organisations who have hired former entrepreneurs, value independent thinking and novel approaches, or search for start-ups and smaller firms who don’t mind shaking things up.

Recruitment consultants are conservative

Recruitment consultants follow the briefs from their clients. It’s easier for them to make a living by recommending applicants who match their clients’ specifications. It’s risky to put suggest people who are too far outside the mould. Recruitment consultants prefer to walk along the path with the least resistance because that’s how they make their money. You have to show them how to position yourself to their clients so that they will be heroes.