Are you better than your resume?

Friday, August 22nd, 2008 - curriculum vitae, CV Writing, Job Application, resume, resume writing

Steve asks: Are you better than your resume? How do you overcome this as a manager looking to hire or as a candidate trying to get the job? Maybe you’ve moved around too many times, even though YOU know you have excellent reasons. Maybe your degree is not in Finance, but rather in Art, but you are the best candidate for that wall street job, and you’re certainly better that the guy you are competing with that has 10 stable years at the same position and an MBA in Finance. How do you overcome this as a candidate, or as a hiring manager, are you open to looking past this? To clarify, please assume that the candidate has relevant industry experience that is equivalent to a degree in the chosen field.

In answer:
There are three things to fulfilling any job requirement – skills, experience (delivered), and relevancy. So, you could be the best trained Cha-Cha-Cha dancer in the world, with a part time interest in stocks and shares trading which is how you live and made a fortune on; and now as your championship level professional dancing career comes to an end, applying for a full time finance post on Wall Street.

As a Wall Street HR director, would you take that enthusiastic amateur with some skills in the area where your job exists, that are unproven except in his own bank account – versus a 10 year Wall Street veteran with an MBA? Thought so…. which one would you hire if you were a cruise ship director looking for entertainers?

If you can’t as a candidate match and answer skills, experience and relevancy, then by any HR director or Recruiter there will be a gap in your skills versus the job description, which they will read as risk. I took a professional sports person as my example here because every HR director and Recruiter loves to meet a world champion, plus they will also tell you that professional sports people come with a wholly ingrained focus and will to win, which makes career changing for them very easy.

If that truly is the candidates chosen path/goal, then I think only two strategies will work. Firstly, apply for the job anyway and after a written submission make a telephone call follow up – its your enthusiasm which will count and sell you. You may not get that job, but may well be offered a lower position on which to prove yourself against the experience track record you presently lack. The second option is to network in the chosen area – both attending meetings, as well as writing and calling the heads of the various companies, saying why you want to work in that field for them.

Career changing is an accepted part of the modern world, but during and for a period of five years after the transition period, there is a price to pay against the skills, experience and relevancy calculation in any hiring organisations mind – simply, close the gap through your focus, enthusiasm and commitment.

Good Luck!

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