There was a time when I would have answered this question with a resounding yes, … and today I can only answer it with a resounding no. Perhaps I have changed, but I know that the times have, and along with them the way that resumes are encountered and used to get you into the door for an interview.
OBSTACLE #1 – THE FUNHOUSE MIRROR EFFECT
It is tough to look at yourself objectively – tougher for some than for others. And once you have seen yourself objectively, it can be even more difficult to write about yourself objectively. Some people are a little too proud of their accomplishments, while others have difficulty banging their own drum. Getting the help of an outsider putting your accomplishments into a perspective that creates the story you want to tell is absolutely invaluable.
THE NUMBERS DON’T LIE
One number that is commonly thrown around the industry says that roughly 250 resumes are submitted for every job opening. Another claims that the average resume gets scanned for roughly 6 seconds before it is either discarded or put in the to-be-called-in pile (the short stack). The numbers are not in the favor of any individual, and anything you can do to get an advantage only stands to help you.
OBSTACLE #2 – GETTING PAST THE BOUNCER
Just like getting past the bouncer guarding the door of an exclusive club, your resume is almost certainly going to have to make it past ATSs (Applicant Tracking Systems) before it is even seen by human eyes. These systems scan your resume for keywords and place the highest-rated applicants at the top of the stack while the lowest-rated get discarded before they are even seen. ATSs use different protocols, some searching for the frequency of words, others looking at placement. And like all software, most of these have their own idiosyncrasies and bugs. Some have trouble pulling contact information (name, address, phone, and email) in certain resume configurations. Add to that the fact that the keywords are different for different industries, different levels of employees, and that they change over time. The keywords you need properly placed on your resume today are likely not going to be the ones you will need in 6 to 12 months. Without a professional who is up to date in the latest technology and keywords, you may very well be shooting into the air.
OBSTACLE #3 – LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
If you are clever or lucky enough to get past the ATS and your resume lands on a stack of to-be-read resumes, remember that you may have 6 seconds or less to impress the human eye enough to get called in for the interview. Not only do you need to refine your story so that it tells the narrative you want, the one that will compel them to bring you in to talk, but you need to draw the readers to where you want it to be. Yes, you need to include all of the important details, and none of the filler, but you also need to have a resume designed by a professional so that the reader sees all of the key elements first.
IF NOT YOU, THEN WHO?
There are many great professional resume writers working today to help you get where you want to go professionally. Find the one who speaks to you in a compelling manner – the one who you think can best encapsulate your achievements and accomplishments. Most resume writers today work online, so proximity doesn’t matter. What matters is understanding of your sector and a personal connection.