EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

When we review candidates for assignments being handled by The FECG, we try to do our dead level best to “push the envelope” on your behalf and try to find some way to visualize your credentials as fitting the assignment currently in hand. After all, you responded. It could be you are right.

There is a long joke I heard once about a guy who prayed to the “big guy above” to help him win the lottery. After several drawings where he didn’t win with appropriate pleadings in between, he was just about to give up hope when a booming voice thundered: “Help me out – buy a ticket.”

In much the same way, we suggest in our postings that if your primary marketing document, sometimes called a resume, doesn’t make it obvious why you are a fit for a particular job, you just might want to provide an explanation in your email cover letter and make the link for us. We are also in agreement that if the job is important enough, you also might want to change your resume. You see the problem is that cover letters are rarely sent to clients because their formats and quality vary so widely.

One of our members raised the issue, and rightly so, should you change your resume or explain in a cover letter? The very clear answer is – it depends.

As you find yourself out and about in the world answering ads that attract your interest, is your background a match on paper, or just in your imagination? Some things need explaining. Some things need to appear in a resume. Like I said – it depends.

And, it isn’t just your ability to do the job and your credentials. For example, a job that appears to pay a lot less than your previous compensation history is attractive to you. In this case you live in California but the job is in Texas. If you don’t explain that you have family in that particular city in Texas and that you grew up there and would like to move back, no one is going to find your application credible.

More likely, the inability of anyone to make a link between your background and the job at hand stems from not knowing the industries in which you have worked. Although I suggest in my resume writing class that each and every firm on your resume needs to have a one sentence explanation of their business, most resumes lack this vital information.

We are pretty knowledgeable, but even we get stumped sometimes. Can you just imagine what is happening when your resume is being routinely reviewed by low paid screeners? Chances are it is being trashed. There simply isn’t time to call and ask.

It is very hard to be totally honest with yourself about your own resume as well as your qualifications for a particular job. There are, unfortunately, far too many fine people who are at any given time seeking work. And for a particular job posted widely, it just may be that the focused nature of a culled out pile doesn’t allow your opus to stand out.

Only you can decide if it is worth the time to customize. What are your odds? What are your odds if you don’t? Assume no one will read your cover letter. Is there really enough meat in your resume to get them to read your cover letter?

You should also consider the ads you are answering and whether or not all of your responses require some “explanation.” If they do, consider revising your resume. If it routinely doesn’t answer the questions raised by the ads you feel fit you, it needs a rewrite.

If you want to get selected from a huge pile of resumes, you need to sand off the edges of your square peg to fit those round holes. There just isn’t a whole lot of choice.

Regards, Matt

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