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Why Your Resume Won’t Get You Your Dream Job

As I was driving home a few days ago, I was thinking about how I ended up with the greatest job in the world. A few weeks back when I spoke at Pepperdine, I started the speech by talking about the inherent limitation of resumes. The more I thought about it, the more I started to realize that there was no way a resume could lead somebody to their dream job.

Go ask somebody who has their dream job and I doubt you’ll hear “I submitted it on,, etc., interviewed with the company, and it was a perfect fit.”  Chances are it came through a referral, connection or some other source. When your resume is the only tool in your job search arsenal you are essentially forcing square pegs into round holes.  If a few of the bullet points on the job description match up with a few of the bullet points on your resume, then you apply. If they don’t match up you try to adjust them so they match up accordingly.  Can you see why this can’t possibly lead to you finding your dream job?

I’m not saying it won’t lead to finding a job. It just won’t lead to your dream job. Dan Schawbel even wrote about the demise of job boards. Every job I’ve had up until my current one was purely a byproduct of my resume. I hated almost every one of those jobs and I wasn’t even good at them.

Human beings by nature are dynamic. Resumes are not. If you’re telling me that you can express who you are in one page, then I think you really need to go out and get a life.  There’s no way you can possibly express how dynamic and interesting you are with bullets on one page. Finding the company that lets you be you is never going to happen with just a resume since this is all it will tell them:

There’s no way that YOU are defined by just that.  But don’t take my word for it. Look at the titles of these recent articles on the Havard Business Review Blog:

If a publication that is coming from one of the best business schools in the world is saying this, maybe it’s time to listen.

The Power of a Personal Brand

Spend a few minutes reading through The Skool of Life or look at my tweet stream and you’re going to get a much deeper insight into who I am as a person and what my real strengths are than you ever would from my resume:

In many ways, this gives me an opportunity to filter out all the organizations that would never be a good fit for me on a personal level. It also gives them an opportunity not to waste time with a candidate who wouldn’t be a good fit. My boss hires software developers and the one thing he tells me is that every single resume and cover letter is exactly the same. As a result it’s incredibly challenging to find the right person.  I think skills developed and showcased from building your online brand can be beneficial to any job regardless of your field.

Given that building your brand could ultimately lead to a more fulfilling personal and professional life, isn’t it worth doing?

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