Monday, April 14, 2008

Should you even have a resume?

After a workshop I did last week for Northwestern University's engineering grad students, Stanley, one of the participants, sent me a link to an entry on Seth Godin's blog entitled, Why Bother Having a Resume?

This is definitely a thought-provoking article because it speaks to exactly the issue I have with resumes--99% of the time, they don't say anything.

In my mind, the question is not so much, "How can I present myself if I'm not using a resume?" but, "When will companies catch up and realize there are better ways to assess potential?"

What are those better ways? It truly depends on who you are, what you've accomplished, and what is most compelling as it relates to the needs and goals of a particular employer. In other words, you really have to think about it. Don't just put yourself on autopilot and blindly send resumes that look exactly like every other resume. It doesn't work. Finding the right job is NOT a numbers game.

Even though resumes aren't going to go away anytime soon, act as if they were. Challenge yourself. Be strategic. Present your credentials in a more convincing, memorable way.

Is this worth the effort?


Godin summed it up best when he said:

"Great jobs, world class jobs, jobs people kill for... those jobs don't get filled by people emailing in resumes. Ever."

Monday, April 7, 2008

Networking challenge

A few weeks ago, I was leading a workshop on networking when one of the participants said the following:

"I know I should be networking everyday, but it seems like the only time I ever get around to it is when I am getting ready to look for a new job. What can I do to make this easier so it doesn't feel like such a chore?"

This is a great question because it sums up how many people feel about networking. Judging from the way he prefaced the question, it is also clear he doesn't see networking as enjoyable or particularly rewarding.

Once a task becomes something you feel like you should do, any sense of fun and adventure is suddenly sucked out of it. From that moment forward, it feels like work. To complicate matters, procrastination often sets in because networking, the way many people do it, doesn't have any measurable goals or deadlines associated with it.

The fact is, networking doesn't have to be time consuming. Contrary to popular opinion, you don't have to be collecting business cards or dining with new acquaintances at every turn. It's a lot easier than that.

I will even take this a step further and admit that I'm not a big believer in face-to-face networking events anyway.

Think about it. Who goes to networking events?

People who don't consider themselves particularly well-connected, that's who. How helpful is that?

By saying this, I am no doubt opening myself to an onslaught of criticism, so let me acknowledge that there are some helpful networking groups. And, of course, there are some terrific networking sites (, Facebook, etc.). Every rule has exceptions.

If you are not the kind of person who enjoys working a room and you don't have time to have lunch with a new person everyday (as some networking gurus recommend), make it easier on yourself. Instead, find a way to help at least one person every day. Think about the people in your network whenever you hear of an opportunity or read an interesting article. Before you delete the email or click the next story, challenge yourself to come up with at least one person who might be interested.

What I like best about this method is that it is completely sincere because it has nothing to do with you or your agenda. It's all about finding ways to help other people.

Think about other people at the right time for the right reason and chances are excellent they will do the same for you.