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How to Get a Great Job with a Bad Resume

How some people break “the rules”

Getting a great job with a bad resume–even though it’s not statistically your best bet, it is possible. Some people who hold prestigious positions have poorly written resumes. If you know someone who holds an impressive position and has a bad resume, it is important to know that he or she broke the rules. They are the exception, not the rule for an effective Job Search/Career Search. (Please note that we do not recommend using a poorly written resume for any reason.)

Some accomplished people also break the rules and drift outside of the normal grooming and dress code standards that separate the slobs from the professionals. This is also a bad idea—and one that people are less willing to copy—knowing that such a mistake is easy to avoid. Dressing well is certainly easier than the arduous task of crafting a knockout resume, so it’s tempting to try to recreate the magic that made the person with a bad resume a success. But first, think about how that person became the exception. Here are the most common possibilities:

The person with the prestigious position:

  • Has not been job hunting in a long time, so his or her resume is out-of-date.
  • Is routinely promoted and his/her reputation precedes them.
  • Knows many people in the industry or area and they are often offered positions without applying.
  • Has an online presence (e.g. through use of social media), or has been profiled in the news or publications relevant to their expertise.

Did you notice the common thread? They knew how to present themselves to others and they didn’t need to apply. They didn’t need to use their resume to introduce themselves to prospective employers. They had already impressed the decision makers.

So, why do I even need a resume?

A resume is intended to summarize and highlight your experiences, skills, and accomplishments as they relate to your target position. It is a way of introducing yourself to decision makers; putting your best foot forward and making a positive impression. As referenced in the bullet points, they have already done in person what a resume would do. Decision makers already know them and they have made a positive impression without relying on a resume.

When a person is known and respected, others are more forgiving and willing to overlook a few problems. Poor writing is more quickly forgiven than typos. But quite often, a bad resume can cast doubts on an otherwise good impression. A poorly written resume can be interpreted as a lack of attention to detail and a lack of respect for the person who is presented with the sub-standard resume.

Don’t forget…

By all means, don’t cut corners. Spend the extra time on your resume and all aspects of your search. When you network, present yourself well, and have a great resume, you increase the odds of getting a job offer.

For additional assistance with your Job Search/Career Search, call CrossRoads at 317-842-8881 if you are in the Central Indiana area.