March 27, 2008

An argument for career searching sans resume

Seth Godin is ready to remake another industry, this time the job search. Flipping the funnel he asks why even bother to have a resume?
Great people shouldn't have a resume.

Here's why: A resume is an excuse to reject you. Once you send me your resume, I can say, "oh, they're missing this or they're missing that," and boom, you're out.

Seth believes that great jobs, your perfect job, is most likely to get filled via referral.

If you don't have a resume, what do you have?

How about three extraordinary letters of recommendation from people the employer knows or respects?
Or a sophisticated project they can see or touch?
Or a reputation that precedes you?
Or a blog that is so compelling and insightful that they have no choice but to follow up?

So that means you'd better get started now to make an impact in your industry, network with people who might just find you a job in the future, or become a subject matter expert through a popular blog.

Keep in mind the caveat that some jobs won't be filled via referral. They'll expect you to follow the instructions on the help wanted ad to the t. The ability to follow instructions being a key requisite for that position, failure to do so automatically eliminates you. Of course, you have to ask yourself if that's the kind of job you deserve.

As much as anything Seth's idea is a strong argument for using LinkedIn. The networking, recommendation, and referral systems built into LinkedIn practically automates the referral process.

Tags: , , , , , ,

1 comment:

Julia said...

I think that this argument is two-sided. On the one hand, I know a lot of people who have gotten their current jobs through referrals alone...I even know someone who got theirs through LinkedIn. Personally, I'm a big fan of the site, as a networking tool and also just as resource in the job hunt.

However, I still think it's too soon to dismiss the traditional cover letter/resume-based process. It's not questioning if you "deserve" this process, it's just moreso that this is a system that has proven itself effective. Speaking from personal experience, I've gotten my last two jobs without any inside references or referrals. I think this success was based off the initial impression my resume gave--easy-to-read, straightforward, and well-rounded. One thing that helped was that I posted it on, where the feedback I got led me to basically overhauling my resume. The advice I got works, too--I just got a new job offer!

Wow, this was really long-winded. Just wanted to offer my input!