Your résumé, the 90/10 divide and personal due diligence


A carefully worded and deliberately targeted résumé increases the odds of convincing a total stranger that what we represent warrants a face-to-face meeting. The alternative can mean no meeting and a job search that drags on much longer than it has to. Ask someone you know who’s been through the résumé wars and they’ll tell you that building one of the most important documents you’ll ever write about yourself is much harder than it looks. Harder—not impossible—but very necessary.

Up until the end of the 1970’s, you could still find people who insisted on receiving résumés written in longhand on high-quality bond. They believed that cursive writing provided insights into the candidate’s psyche that typewriting obscured or hid from view altogether. Those were kinder, gentler times when there was enough slack in the economy to absorb job seekers with less than specific skills, and on-the-job training was more common than it is now. Those days are gone. So is the time to linger over “less than scientific” candidate selection.

Digital scientific candidate selection is everywhere. So are managers with neither the time nor the inclination to delve into whether there might be a place in their organization for what appears to be a marginal applicant. That’s why 90% of résumés never see the light of day. They belong to people with neither the time nor the inclination to delve into the psyche of a prospective employer when that’s precisely what they should be doing.

What candidates don’t know about the process is hurting them. The expectation is that employers will overlook imperfections in candidate submissions and compensate for lack of attention to detail and the presence of too many adjectives and not enough nouns. Employers won’t because screening software won’t let them. That explains why so many would-be candidates unnecessarily find themselves on the wrong side of the 90/10 divide. Being on the right side of it demands hard work because the economic stakes are high and the alternative is no work. Those who choose not to do it do so at their peril.

To make matters more interesting, social media gurus are having a field day with the concept of your “personal brand”. There’s no Big Bang when brands wink into existence and no instant gravitas. They have to be cultivated and nurtured. The Rolls-Royce brand and what it stands for didn’t come into being overnight. Neither did Coca-Cola’s or Apple’s or Cartier’s. It took years if not decades to build them, and often takes tens of millions of dollars to defend them.

Two printed pages and your digital social media page are what you have to communicate the desirability and value of your brand. They have to reflect how well you understand the audience for whose consumption they’re intended. More hard work.

The better the job you do when you first present yourself and your marque to the world, the greater the likelihood of not having to do it again for 3 to 5 years if not longer. The decision is yours. This market doesn’t reward second-class work with first-class incomes.

You don’t have to face the market alone. A properly designed and executed résumé is at the heart of a carefully conceived and executed marketing plan. That plan is a reflection of the quality of your personal due diligence.

This is a topic worth discussing. We’d be pleased to discuss it with you.

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