Debra Feldman

Why a Darn Good Résumé Is Not Enough!

May 20, 2010
by Debra Feldman

A decade ago, job searching meant preparing a résumé or filling out an application and then waiting to be called for an interview. With global economics, the rise of social media and revolutionary advances in technology, the employment marketplace has changed rapidly placing new demands on job seekers. Here’s how to remove obstacles that may be blocking a swift, successful landing.

Five Key Strategies

Most job seekers start their job search process with many of the same ineffective and inefficient steps. These include updating and sending their résumés to their current contacts, uploading their résumé to job boards and recruiter sites, applying to online openings, polishing and re-polishing their elevator pitch just in case, sprucing up their LinkedIn profile and photograph, deciding whether to tweet and have a personal presence on Facebook and furiously adding more connections to their online social networks. Notice how these activities are all employee-centric and not employer-oriented. A better way is focusing on identifying qualified employers that might be a good match and then making contacts with decision-makers as the first call to action.

Job seekers often spend the beginning of a job search on tasks that are not effective and slow down progress. Performing job search-related tasks without essential input about what employers appreciate, need, want, require, expect and value dooms the search project to not engaging employers, which is essential to reach a mutually rewarding hiring agreement. Connecting the dots for employers to recognize a candidate’s potential contribution cannot be left to chance.

Job searching, like successful business projects, should be expertly strategized organized and implemented. Many job seekers are not knowledgeable and lack the experience to conduct an efficient and effective search. Adopting a different strategy will yield better results:

  • Luck is not a strategy. It’s an employer’s market today. Hiring decision-makers act like there is an endless supply of interested prospective employees and somewhere among them is the absolutely perfect candidate. They are reluctant to compromise. Candidates must orient efforts to attract employer’s attention, meet their needs and gain their trust.
  • Start a job search project by identifying your requirements and then finding employers matching these qualifications. Don’t begin by writing a résumé that’s candidate-centered and sounds like an obituary of past jobs. Research employers to find a manageable number of target companies that satisfy your requirements. Such specifications may include industry sector, geographical location, company size, ownership structure, corporate structure, plus further research into company culture, competitive ranking, reputation or financial status.
  • For each company on the list, outline the employer’s challenges and describe how you can solve these, address these or manage these, based on your unique skills, talents, experience, background, interests, connections, education and training. The intention is to show the employer that you are the best available resource they will find. Note: If there is anything that might damage your positioning as an expert, determine how to eliminate this — or worse case scenario — mitigate its impact.
  • Present your credentials to the employer showcasing how you are the perfect prospective employee. In today’s world, reputation often precedes a formal introduction. You should expect to be Googled, looked up on Facebook and LinkedIn, checked on Twitter, ZoomInfo and other sites. Ideally, your public, published track record should illustrate clearly your capabilities and suitability for the employer. There’s no privacy, confidentiality or hiding from employers. Online information is an employer’s reality and your résumé has to be consistent with your virtual image — or a convincing explanation must be made available.

    ►  Document strengths, experience and accomplishments online immediately and keep this up to date even after starting a new job, especially during periods of high productivity when the achievements accumulate and there are lots of chances to show an ability to produce profits, decrease costs and/or improve process.

    ►  If the online evidence is sparse, develop a creative way to show enthusiasm, intellect, engagement, interpersonal skills, knowledge and talent using success stories, a PowerPoint presentation or creating a white paper. Why? People are not their résumés, they are their work. In other words, “show, don’t tell!”

  • Introduce yourself to a hiring decision-maker via a mutual contact who can address concerns and recommend you. The inside contact should be a person with authority to make an offer to you and not HR. Choose someone who will not be threatened and will appreciate your taking initiative for the purpose of sharing a meaningful conversation that may produce potential job leads to a current opening or creating a new role just for being at the right place at the right time. Remember that this is a polite introduction in starting a mutually beneficial relationship that may unearth a new opportunity directly or through referral for either party now or in the future and expand contacts for each in their entire network of connections.

    ►  Maintain contact after making the significant investment to develop relationships because your network is like a long-term career insurance providing ongoing mentoring, future job leads, referrals, expert advice and more. Follow through on promises and keep in touch periodically extending invitations, sharing ideas, exchanging links, making referrals, asking for advice, offering assistance, etc.

    ►  Look for opportunities to be generous. Not only will it make you feel good, but it will also help people remember you. Those who get help usually seek to return the favor, which keeps the relationship vibrant, dynamic and effective.


You have to focus your job search efforts to attract employers. Today’s market is an employer’s market in which they call the shots, set the ground rules and have more power. The current job market reality is no longer what you know or who you know, but whether the hiring authority needs you and knows your potential.

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© Debra Feldman, 2010

Debra Feldman is the JobWhiz™, a nationally-recognized expert who designs and personally implements swift, strategic and customized senior level executive job search campaigns, banishing barriers that prevent immediate success. Her gift for Networking Purposefully™ and expediting stalled job searches — executed with high energy and savvy panache — connects candidates directly to decision makers, not HR. Learn more about her groundbreaking techniques that compress job searches from months into weeks. Contact Debra now at www.JobWhiz.com to expedite your executive ascent! Follow @Debra_Feldman on Twitter, join her Facebook fan page and connect via LinkedIn.