Leave the Resume Alone! 10 Factors to Focus on First

ResumeThere are many reasons many are unemployed for an extended period of time… and it has very little to do with their resumes.

Yet, this document is where many job seekers focus almost all of their effort. The resume is reworked, tweaked and manipulated to death.


A successful job search is about knowing the right people and having them know you as a capable, hireable candidate. The resume is important, but it is secondary. The resume should serve as supplemental documentation – used only after you know what you are selling… and how to sell.

These are the top 10 factors a job seeker should focus on first, before touching that resume again:

1) Explore Options for Work Beyond a 60 Mile Radius

I hear job seekers talk about the fact that can’t relocate their families more than any other objection. Ludicrous. No one says you have to move your family. No one even said you had to relocate yourself. In today’s world, more and more jobs can be done virtually. You will never know what the options are unless you pursue them. The one, most obvious choice, is to expand your search territory. See what happens!

2) Use a Proactive Approach

Don’t wait for a company to post a job, identify potential employers and pursue them. Leave no stone unturned. Create a list of at least 50 employers that are likely to need someone who does what you do. Now you can follow these employers on LinkedIn, Twitter, in the news and see what they are up to.

3) Laser Focus

Be extremely clear on what problems you are great at solving (and enjoy solving). You cannot, and should not, be all things to all companies. Know what you are good at and sell it!

4) Sell Yourself

No, not in a slimy or spammy way, but with conviction and sincerity. When you introduce yourself, use language that everyone can understand and make it interesting.

5) Stop Saying You’re “Looking for any Job”

When you confess that you’re looking for “any” job:, you sound desperate. This makes most people want to run and hide. Even if they did have a job, they probably wouldn’t offer it to you. You are seeking information! Really, you NEED to learn about other companies and perhaps industries to see what they are doing and how they work.

6) Have More Conversations

Because most external hiring comes through referrals, spend more time meeting people and less time applying for jobs online. Your chances of landing a job because you know someone inside the hiring company are many times greater!

7) Really Research Your Industry and Occupation

Know what technology is being required. Know what the challenges are. Know the direction your occupation is headed in as well as your industry. Your goal is to be a walking encyclopedia on the topics facing your field.

8 ) Understand and Use LinkedIn

You don’t need to take a class – jump into LinkedIn and self-learn. Read blog posts, watch a video and start a “new users” group so you fully understand the best practices. This tool will be around for awhile and you’ll want to use it once you’re employed too.

9) Be Positive

Complaining, bad mouthing, lack of self esteem all work against a candidate. Fix this! I know how hard it is to be out of work, but you can and must control your attitude!

10) Be a Giver, Not a Taker

An overriding principle of networking and strong interpersonal communication is to be a good listener. Are you developing your listening skills? Are you making conversations more about the other person? Are you volunteering? What else can you do to help others?

Now, having said all this, I know that having a strong, accomplishment based resume is always good. The resume must be customized for every job you apply to. It must uniquely convey your strengths. It should be error-proof and truthful.

Yes, you have to have a good resume. But do these other 10 things first!


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Career Sherpa!



HannahAbout the Author: Hannah Morgan brings over 10 years of experience helping displaced workers search for their next opportunity, and has developed and delivered workshops as well as managed the implementation of Career Navigator, a five-day intensive boot camp for professional level job seekers.

In addition to her blog, Career Sherpa, Hannah is honored to be designated as Job Search Navigator on Job-Hunt.org as well as a featured blogger on HerRochester. She also contributes to Career Collective, a community of expert career coaches and resume writing professionals who write monthly on job search topics, and guest blogs for Brand-Yourself.com on social media trends and tools. Follow Hannah on Twitter!



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