Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Does Your Resume Clearly Identify Your Greatness? Are You Sure?

The title:  I believe that everybody potential to be great at something.  Some people I encounter have figured this out.  Most people on the other had go through life doing what they “Can” do and they never stop to figure out what they “Should” do.  The story you’re about to read focuses on someone who is settling for “Can” when he could be focusing on “Should”. 
The Photo: I chose this photo to demonstrate how unique each one of us are.  When a person stops to learn how they're built and how that uniqueness translates into performance, that's how they determine what they can be great at delivering.

The Phone Call

Tom made my phone ring early one morning.  This is a great start to a candidate / recruiter relationship because most people shy away from the telephone today and choose email.  I would much prefer to receive a phone call than to have another email in my Inbox.

Tom told me he was calling because he would be in Chicago next week.  He was hoping his local status to my client’s offices might make it possible to capture an on-site interview while he was in town.

So far, everything between myself and Tom was moving along smoothly.  Tom told me his resume was sitting in my Inbox.  I hadn’t gotten to my Inbox yet on this particular day.  I found Tom’s resume, opened it and this is where the story starts to get rocky.

"Perfect Fit"

Tom told me on the phone that he was a “Perfect Fit” for my client’s opening in Chicago.  My client needed to hire an Application Security Architect and I’ve filled this type of position with this particular client before so I know exactly and precisely what would cause my client to extend a job offer.

I quickly scanned Tom’s resume and saw the words “Application Security” one time in his resume.  This is a problem because an Application Security Architect needs to live, eat and breathe Application Security and Secure Software Development. Not only was Tom not a "perfect fit", he wasn't a fit at all.

No Focus

Tom’s resume covered just about every information security acronym or buzzword I’d ever seen.  In the 10 seconds I devoted to quickly reviewing Tom’s resume because he was still on the phone with me, I couldn’t have told you what Tom was great at if my life depended on it.  The resume had no focus whatsoever.

Rather than trying to get Tom to clearly and concisely tell me what he knew about Application Security and Secure Software Development, I asked him what he was great at delivering.  His answer surprised me as he went down a path of explaining how he wanted to manage a small group of highly technical information security professionals.


Now I was really confused.  Tom has been an independent consultant for the past 8 years.  His resume shows no evidence whatsoever of experience where he managed, led or guided a team.   Even more confusing was the fact that when given the opportunity to tell me what he was great at, Tom didn’t say anything about Application Security or Secure Software Development.  That's why he called me in the first place!

Resume Coaching?

I asked Tom if he had ever considered getting help to create a resume that was clean, clear, logical and a resume that clearly communicated his accomplishments, contributions and his value.  He told me he’d invested in resume writing help before and he didn’t think it was worth anything. Perhaps Tom invested with the wrong person?

Bottom Line Success

I asked Tom to tell me about his success when he sent out the current resume.  He told me that he wasn’t having any success. He again started talking about wanting to manage a group of information security professionals.  His resume on the other hand focuses entirely on technology, bits and bytes.

Did you catch what I just shared?  

Tom told me he wasn’t having success.  In the most polite way I could, I tried to tell him why.  Tom didn’t want to hear the truth and he had no interest at all in considering a solution that would make him have to consider a change in his actions and behaviors.

Behavioral change is one of the most difficult endeavors an adult can face. In Tom’s case, he will unfortunately continue to fail to reach his goals if he does not stop to get help with resume writing and personal branding.  

Tom may very well be a brilliant technologist.  He is not a brilliant marketer.  Focus on what you have the potential to be great at and outsource everything else.'s Security Recruiter Blog