A few months ago I read an article in a major business magazine. The article insisted that you shouldn’t place a resume. The argument was that it is much better to talk to the decision maker in person than to risk your chances for a job on a mere piece of paper. I can see some benefits of this system, particularly where the position you are applying for is one that relies mostly on people skills and personal relationships. But in reality, most jobs these days take a bit more than a sparkly, persuasive persona. Most better-paying jobs take good writing, organization, and management skills. None of these skills show well in a face-to-face interview, but all of them can be revealed strikingly in a cover letter and resume combo.
Resumes Get Passed Onto Others and RevisitedJust as importantly, a resume is portable. Even if you don’t get the job you are trying for, if the decision maker is impressed with you it is easy for them to pass the resume off to a different leader or team. This happened recently with one of the team leaders at my temporary fall job. He applied for an account manager position and was rejected. The new account manager was given his resume and she hired him. While it was not the job level he applied for, the team leader job was better than the job he came from and he now has experience inside the company that will give him a great chance to move up and gain more skills if he decides to look for work with another employer.
Shows the Ability to Follow DirectionsWe also need to face the reality that for the jobs most people want there are a lot of applicants. If 40 or more people are going to be applying for a single position, I am not going to waste my time with the one who tries to break the process to get a one-on-one interview. If he is so determined to get the job I expect him to follow the process I laid out. If an applicant can’t follow instructions for providing a resume it is a great indication that they will be bucking me on policies and rules later on. While most employers appreciate initiative and drive, they also know that discipline and the ability to follow instructions is key to getting the job done.
Well-Crafted Resumes Offer a Glimpse of the Big PictureMost importantly, a resume can show a large picture of where the applicant has been and where they are headed. While the current trend of writing a job specific resume does limit the ability to see the big picture, it doesn’t eliminate it. When I had been working at my first job out of college for about six months we got a bundle of resumes from my alma mater. I asked the boss if I could look at them. Some were from folks I knew, most were not. I went through the pile and picked out a handful of resumes that showed promise for the company. One of my recommendations was hired a short time later. The only way for that to happen was for me to read a well-done resume that an honest job seeker had turned in. Now, that does not mean that every job is hired off of a resume, but if they ask for one, provide it because each decision maker looking to hire has a better idea of what they want than you do.
So as you look to advance your gardening (or non-gardening) career, don’t limit yourself by suggestions from experts or anyone else. Put together a good resume and be willing to work hard and grab at the odd opportunity. That will get you further in the long run.