I’ve recently seen two posts on social media talking about resumes that struck me as odd. One was from a job seeker talking about how much time and effort you need to put into your resume, and then comments came in like “I did all this and I am still not getting jobs!”
The other was from someone on LinkedIn who talked about resumes to resume writers who collaborate with their clients to create a resume vs. creating one without collaborating…. insinuating they just pump something out that maybe misses the mark. The comments were, I’d say, passionate, because there are different ways of doing things, and people felt they needed to defend their way.
When I read the “I did all this and I’m still not getting jobs!” comments I thought about the difference between tools and tactics.
For the last few weeks we’ve been without a kitchen at my house. We are having some work done and decided to pull our kitchen out and get this work done right, instead of patch here and patch there for years. So, we have tried out all of the frozen pizza brands and now have strong opinions on that… as well as frozen burritos.
Sidenote: if you plan on remodeling your kitchen, you definitely need to factor into your budget new food costs. You can’t just go the store and buy stuff and make it at home… now you are shifting your entire eating and shopping and probably eating out a bit more.
Anyway, my contractor has some pretty sweet tools. Lots of brands that I like, and lots of little attachments. He has the right tools for various jobs, whether that be drilling or cutting or pounding or painting or whatever. If he needs a new tool for a different job he goes and buys it, or he brings one from his shop.
He doesn’t skimp on tools. Tools can make the job go better, and faster.
At night, the crew cleans up and leaves. The tools are piled up neatly and really, available for me to use. Of course, he didn’t say that, but if I wanted to I could grab a drill or a brush or a hammer or a tape measure and do something with it. I haven’t yet, but I could if I wanted to.
The problem is, aside from not having time, and not wanting to mess something up that they would have to spend time fixing, I don’t really know all the tactics. Those professional tools, in my hands, without training, are kind of worthless. Sure, I could learn. Sure, I know how to do stuff. But the building process in my kitchen is calculated and complex, and I wasn’t invited to any of the planning meetings.
The parallels to the job search are too good. A specialty tool in my untrained hands is about as useful as a resume, whether excellent or poorly written, in the hands of a job seeker who doesn’t know what he/she is doing.
Case in point: I get people coming to JibberJobber who say, “Delete my account, I’m not finding any new job postings here.” And, I gladly delete their account (or tell them how to do it). If you think your job search consists of looking for jobs on boards and then spending all day applying, you probably aren’t ready for JibberJobber. You have chosen the “easy” button, along with millions of others. Easy but not effective.
So they delete their account and move on. However, if you were to come to me and say, “Jason, I’ve been doing this for six months. It’s not working. What am I doing wrong? What should I do in my job search?” Now we are talking… now you are ready.
You realize your resume is a tool. You start to figure out you have a little toolbox, perhaps filled with phrases, questions to ask in networking, interview techniques you can use, your LinkedIn profile, even JibberJobber to track your job search progress and networking, etc. And you are ready to learn how to use all of these tools in a calculated manner to address a complex process.
Look, the job search is tremendously complex. I’ve tried to simplify YOUR part in the JobSearchProgram.com, which I think is one of the greatest things since sliced bread, at least to job seekers. I’ve removed a lot of the noise you might have allowed into your job search and give you specific, daily tasks to move closer to interviews. I am providing you training to land your next job. I’m not making you a job search expert… most people I talk to don’t want that. They just want a job. And do I take the expertise I’ve learned and earned over the last almost 15 years and have a very simple, concise, and effective system for you.
It’s like if I contractor hired you to work in my kitchen and said, “I have all the tools, and I’m going to show you how to lay tile today. You aren’t learning to measure or cut the tile yet. You are just going to sit on the floor and we’ll give you tools to do this one job. I’ll show you the tricks, and help you avoid common mistakes.”
You get to specialize in that one thing. And when you figure it out, you’ll be ready for the next thing, which might be to measure, or to cut, or whatever. But master this technique first, get really good at it, and then we’ll move to the next thing.
You know how good those tools are after 5pm? They are just put in a pile. They sit and wait for someone to pick them up and use them the right way.
Your resume is a tool. It sits in a pile. Your 30 second pitch is a tool. If unused it’s as good as sitting in a pile. Many of you have a pile of tools. You are just waiting for the right time or opportunity to pick them up and put them to use. That’s where my Job Search Program comes in.
One more thought on that. Years ago I was talking to a friend of mine who owns a roofing business. He’s been a professional roofer for years and has a nice little business. We were talking about tool quality and he said he loves this brand and that brand… but if he has a little job and needs to replace a tool quickly, he sometimes goes down to a store which I will not name and gets a “throw away” tool. It will work fine on the job, for that job, but it won’t last long. It will break soon, but hopefully he will get the job done. He’ll also buy it at a fraction of the price.
He is calculated in strategic in where he invests his money in his tools. Sometimes he goes with excellent quality for tools he’ll use for years. Other times he gets something that can do the job, but knows it is not an investment.
Similarly, you have various tools in your job search that need high quality, like your resume, and other tools that can be disposable, like a 30 second pitch.
Sending a resume to someone that is “cheap,” something that has bad formatting, bad grammar, bad punctuation, or weak messaging (I think this is the hardest part for most people) is BAD. It’s not just “might work for now and I’ll upgrade later” bad, it is “this person is sloppy and doesn’t pay attention to details so we can’t hire them” bad.
You have to put time into having a solid, powerful resume (and LinkedIn profile).
Your 30 second pitch? That is different. Yes, work on it. Yes, try to have a good one. But if you don’t have a good one you can probably talk your way out of it…. and you should definitely work on it regularly. Improve it every time you deliver it. You have time to make it better… just be intentional about it.
Tools and tactics. One without the other is weaker than it should be.
Have the right tools, but don’t think that just because you have them the work will get done by itself. You need to master the right tactics, and then put them into practice. Again and again and again, until you land your job.