Saturday, January 28, 2012

No Wonder Job Seekers Are Confused: Part 1

I came across this article on another career professional's Facebook status, and my first thought (which I tweeted) was, "Just read a career article from a major, mainstream business magazine that was completely off base. It's no wonder job seekers are confused."

I wondered if I should even draw attention to the article, because it would increase attention to yet another presumptuous, prescriptive article that is going to confuse job seekers. But I think it's important for us, as career professionals, to reinforce the idea that there are lots of opinions about what does and doesn't work in the job search -- but even huge media companies endorse some stinkers.

(My colleague, Julie Walraven, of Design Resumes, does the same thing in her blog post today: "Point - Counter Point: Is the Resume Dead?")

Here's the article: "Five Out-Of-Date Job Search Tactics" from Bloomberg Business. In a series of blog posts, I'm going to offer my rebuttal to each of their points. (You can feel free to weigh in using the Comments section below.)

They say: "Dedicated resume paper and envelopes" are out-of-date.

They say not to use any kind of special paper or matching envelopes in your job search because "Dedicated-use resume paper is a 1980s artifact."

Brought to you by the same people who find online applications "more efficient" are the folks who suggest you use "plain white bond paper" when you *do* print out a resume to bring with you? Yikes. Have you heard of the importance of first impressions, people?

How do you stand out today? Go the extra mile.

If everyone else is applying online, follow-up with a paper resume in person or via mail.  Sure, the 16-year-old temp employee ("Jennifer," I call her) may not care (LOL, BFF -- BRB!!!*) but the hiring manager (as long as they're over 25), probably will appreciate the effort.

While I agree with the author that content is king, ugly resumes aren't effective either. Horizontal lines absolutely have a place on resumes ... even for non-creative types. Is she serious?!?!

Rather than being out of date, dedicated resume paper and envelopes can help you stand out from a sea of job seekers.

[Addition: This article, "Is The Paper Resume Dead?" appeared in online in Wall Street Journal's Career section on Jan. 25, 2012. The answer is: It's not.]

Tomorrow: "Creaky Cover Letter Language."

* Jennifer is more versed in text messaging than text resumes ... LOL = Laugh out loud; BFF = Best friends forever; BRB = Be right back)


  1. Hi Bridget, there are several articles that talk about the paper resume. It is rare that my clients ask about paper resumes. I posted this Thursday on my Google Plus account:

    Apparently, there is a WSJ article as well.

    1. Resumes -- even paper resumes -- have not, and are not yet, going the way of the horse-and-buggy.

      Certainly, there are some companies -- and many recruiters -- who would like to declare the resume "dead." But the reality is that the resume is still the most *common* way for prospective employees to give hiring managers an opportunity to evaluate their qualifications.

      I will refer again to Julie Walraven's excellent article:

      ... and an article which appeared in January/February 2000 issue of Resume Writers' Digest: "Resumes Stink: Start Asking for a Portfolio" by Dr. John Sullivan, Head Professor/Professor of Human Resource Management in the College of Business, San Francisco State University.

      Video didn't kill the radio star.
      Netflix didn't kill the movie theater.
      The iPad didn't kill newspapers.

      And as for paper resumes specifically, when most of the hiring is done by companies with fewer than 100 employees*, applicants can stand out from the masses sending their resumes via email and either reach the decision-maker directly with a mailed resume or use their network to get a resume handed to a hiring manager.


    2. Even better, looking at the blog post you had posted on about the "retirement of resumes," Gretchen's own firm (she is the "Principal") offers "resume review including better resume writing and tailoring assistance."

      From their website:
      A single resume sent to multiple employers is not going stand out to any employer. Candidates need make sure the skills and experience that each individual employer is looking for is highlighted on a tailored resume provided to that employer. The best way to stand out is to make sure your resume meets the hiring manager’s needs and it is easy for that hiring manager to see it. Your resume may only get a few seconds of attention, so those few seconds have to count. MGD Services, Inc.’s resume assistance helps candidates ensure that their experience and skills stand out to each employer.

      Is it any wonder that the "Comments" on that blog post are closed????

  2. B - When I read these articles I always wonder about the author. Usually when you research the writer behind the column - its someone with no knowledge of the current job market.


  3. Well the need of paper resume is there. It cannot be discarded.

    resume examples