Laughable Advice

Let me start off by saying that having been in recruiting for more than 40 years, most job hunters still do the same things in their job search that did not work for them when they graduated from college. Writing one resume and sending it out over and over again is like the holy grail for most job hunters. To me, it is like the story of the broken watch–it is right twice a day but does not work the rest of the time.

Knowing this, I have developed some compassion for job hunters who still send out “their resume” to every job. Often when I receive a resume that does not seem to fit a job, I send off a response to them:

“I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how competitive the market can be. When firms are looking at people and their experience, resumes need to spell out the ‘fit’ for the role and frankly, yours doesn’t do a good enough job in doing so.”

“This isn’t to say that you don’t have the experience; it is saying that your resume needs to be improved to make it obvious that you fit what the institution is looking for. Once you send me a revised resume that demonstrates the fit, I would be happy to speak with you and represent you for this role.”

I think this is a polite way of explaining that they have sent a resume that is nothing more to me than spam (a waste of time) and asking them to do their homework and re-send a resume that tells me how they fit the requirements of the job.

Imagine my surprise, to receive a response like this

” Firms that look for an exact skill fit are exactly the kinds of places that need a leader like myself to bring in the changes they need to gear up for the 21st century.

“I request you to forward my detailed resume to the top executives in the Firm who are tasked with turning the Firm’s processes, organizations around and with reducing expenditure on software maintenance and upkeep of legacy system.

“My resume is perfectly suited and consistent with my stated objective and it matches some of the expected responsibilities associated with this job. I have been in similar situations enough number of times to be fairly sure of when a position fits and requires my skills and unique expertise and this is one of them.

A firm like this is a bunch of idiots (and you, too, by the way) that knows nothing about how the world works in this century. I, on the other hand, do even though I don’t know who it is or almost anything about them. My resume is perfect just the way it is. Send it.


Outplacement firms and newspapers teach tactics like this. When you de-construct them, the response is insulting and laughable. After, you know very little of what is being sought, nothing about the employer or its corporate culture but you are DEFINITELY the right person even though you are told you aren’t.


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