Thursday, August 30, 2012

Job Search Rejection...Why it Happens

I read all day every day.  No, I’m not always reading long books but I read resumes, job descriptions, articles, blogs, etc.  Reading other’s ideas often makes my wheels turn.  Today, I read a blog article called “Top 5 Reasons You Never Hear Back After Applying for a Job”. 

I suggest that you go read this article because it contains some hardcore but honest and accurate truth.  A good friend of mine would call this article good to know but bad to hear.

I’m not trying to steal this writer’s thoughts so you’re welcome to click on the article hyperlink I’ve provided if you want to read the entire text.  There is truth in all 5 of the author’s ideas as listed below:

“You really aren’t qualified”
“You haven’t keyword-optimized your resume or application”
“Your resume isn’t formatted properly”
“Your resume is substantially different from your on-line profile”
“The company received 500 resumes for one job posting and yours was the 499th
The Desk of a Security Recruiter

I’m just beyond ½ of the way through this business week and so far this week, I’ve received numerous resumes of people who aren’t qualified for the jobs that caught their attention on my website. 

  • I’ve received and reviewed resumes that are vague and ambiguous.  Not only do these resumes not contain complete sentences with complete ideas around qualifications, accomplishments and value, many of the resumes I've reviewed are nowhere near what an executive Information Security Resume or IT Risk Management resume should be. 
  • I’ve seen resumes that are formatted with significant creativity.  While creativity might seem like a way to make your resume stand out, as the consumer of multiple resumes per day times 22.5 years of consuming resumes, I’ll suggest that simple, logical and straight-forward is the best formatting choice you could choose to adopt for your security resume.
  • Last week I had a client decide to not pursue a candidate because his resume told a substantially different story than the story his LinkedIn profile told.  The solution?  Make sure your on-line presence lines up with your resume.
  • Last week I spoke to a client whom I share a strong relationship with.  A corporate security professional I’m also close to asked me if I could put in a good word with my client to help him get his resume to the top of the pile.  My client told me that they’d received over 400 resumes in just a couple of weeks and although they’d seen my friend’s resume, they passed on him because nobody knew him.  When I finished telling my client that my friend would receive my highest reference for personal character, his resume was immediately included in the small stack of 10 resumes my client was going to pursue.

The author of the Top 5 article is correct.  Sending the first resume a company receives doesn’t guarantee that you’ll receive attention.  Sending the 499th resume out of 500 doesn’t guarantee you’ll get attention or be overlooked. 

While the Internet has made job searching easier in some ways, there is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that the Internet has significantly complicated the job search process.

My Personal Thoughts on Resumes

A few things I’ll place my reputation on include:

  • If you haven’t written a resume that demonstrates accomplishments and value, you’ll likely be overlooked when competing for CISOJobs or CSO Jobs.  For that matter, if you’re chasing down a Security Engineer Job or a Security Architect Job, not presenting a business focused security resume will cause your resume to get buried at the bottom of the pile.
  • If your resume isn't balanced with the right keywords or buzzwords combined with well-written content, you’ll likely make it to the bottom of the pile.
  • If your resume can’t be visually scanned in 5-15 seconds to the extent that the reader knows who you are, where you are, what you are, what you do, how long you've done what you do and how you’re educated and credentialed, your resume will not float to the top of the pile.
  • Your resume and your LinkedIn profile should have many similarities.  Some will suggest that your LinkedIn profile isn't an on-line resume.  I suggest that you think of your LinkedIn profile as an on-line resume.  The LinkedIn profile doesn't need to carry the same amount of content as your resume but the on-line profile and the document you’re using to market yourself (your resume) should have similarities and you shouldn't be telling two different stories.

One more thought that the author didn’t discuss in his article.  If you are chasing down a 6 figure job and you aren’t willing to invest a few minutes to properly align your resume with the job you’re chasing, your odds of sinking to the bottom of the pile are strong.


I work with some of the smartest, most talented, most business savvy information security, corporate security, IT risk management, global compliance and global privacy professionals in the world to assist them with their personal marketing strategies.  

Resume writing is an art more than a science.  Some security professionals don't need help but for many others, considering a security job coach might be one of the best investments they've ever made.

Just as I have at times turned to a personal trainer to help me develop a workout routine that will prepare my body for skiing, hockey, cycling, softball, tennis, etc., I strongly suggest that you consider turning to a professional security resume writer and security career coach to help you not only build your marketing material but also to create a clear security career road map. 

You’ll seldom get to where you want to go if you don’t first determine where you’re going.'s Security Recruiter Blog