Monday, August 29, 2011

No More Resumes: Land a Job by Proving You Can Do the Work

I don't think resumes work much anymore. Resumes give employers reasons to reject you. Employers are flooded with resumes. How do you get their attention?

Consider what employers are looking for -- people who can get results and accomplish goals. They aren't looking for terrific resumes. They are looking for terrific people. Employers avoid taking risks. If all you've got is a resume and a smooth talk, you're in trouble.

Employers aren't looking for raw talent or potential. They are looking for proof that you can do something that solves a problem for the employer.

Employers don't want somebody that can talk the talk. They want people who can walk the walk. They don't want to hear about how enthusiastic you are. They don't want to hear about how much you love a particular field. They don't care about your ideas, motivation, personality, team playing, or intelligence.

All these qualities have their place, but the bottom line is employers want results. Plenty of people can act enthusiastic. Lots of people can display finesse and poise during a job interview. Many folks have nailed the best replies to tricky interview questions.

All this is playing games and wasting time. A large number of new hires turn out to be bad decisions and are fired when the employer realizes that they were people who cheated on tests and have very little substance.

What can you do to astonish a prospective employer? What have you got that proves you can do something they want done? If you can put that proof online, in a series of blog articles, videos, podcasts, or photos, you might be able to stand out and be memorable.

Blow their minds with proof. Post a video of you doing something or a video of your thing and how it solves a problem. Post a body of work that showcases your skills: writing, web design, advertising, fashion photography, music, sculpture, math, science, whatever expertise you have and can prove you have it.

That's how I got my first job in marketing, many years ago. I wrote some speculative ads and showed them to an employer. My portfolio of spec work was not the primary reason I got hired, but it proved that I had some expertise and ambition, even at a young age. 

No experience in your field? Create your own experience as volunteer if you can. Spend some of your time looking for work and some of your time volunteering as an unpaid or low pay worker, learning the operation, making contacts.

Employers dread combing through generic resumes that all contain the same basic drivel.

Maybe you'll keep your resume and still use it when required, but don't count on it to open many doors. You need to add something remarkable to that resume. Print out some of your online portfolio and provide a link to the rest of it.

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