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EP 1458. Unsolicited resumes. Do they look at them or ignore them?

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The question for today is, "Do executive search firms look at unsolicited resumes?" The way the question was originally phrased was, "Are executive search firms even looking at unsolicited resumes they get sent to them?"

You have to understand how the search business has evolved. It's history involves never looking at unsolicited resume. However, there might be someone in the office who parses unsolicited resumes; they have software that's going to input resumes that appeal to them into their system. There is this thing that you may have heard of called LinkedIn . . That part of the business is very data oriented. They are not looking for job hunters; they are looking for the best talent to fit the client's requirements.

A client hires them to do a task-- fill a particular job. The task has specific criteria. They may, but probably won't, input your resume to their system. You will need to have extraordinary skills to fit the search criteria that they tend to work on for clients; most firms have an orientation that focusing on certain lines of business or perhaps certain functions.

The question I have to ask back is, "Why should they?" Because you think your resume might be useful to them? How do you know? Oh! You want to get on the radar. Good. Do something great that fits their search criteria. Get written up. Get featured in an interview. Do things that turn your work into celebrity so that you are not just some person sitting at desk doing a job that you think is so valuable to other people. Get known!

This is the branding process that most people don't get. Search firms are acutely aware of how important the brand processes; it makes someone more salable to their client. It is not like they're trying to fill some staff level position. They are trying to fill positions for successful executives.

What makes someone appear to be successful? Answer. A vivid credential. I refer to it as a vivid credential because it is known, respected, been recognized, been written or interviewed about, has been on the stage talking about . These are criteria that allow them to recognize that other people have vetted you and identified you as being successful, smart and a leader.

Sending a resume to them? Useless! Let me restate that – – it's almost useless. You may get lucky. But the likelihood of you being lucky is so small that it is far better for you to put all that effort into developing a reputation so that you become visible and written about. You want to be published, you are on stage talking about your accomplishments, instead of simply being some guy who says a resume in.

Why do you want to be "some guy" or "some woman" who sins a resume in has some researcher look at it and ask themselves, "What we have this anyway? And then feel good about deleting it. Seriously. "Why do we have this resume?" If it's nothing that we are looking for.

Again, the nature of search has evolved so that data is more readily available. It's not like in the old days when I started often recruiting where you had to deal with microfiche and look at newspapers on microfilm and find the article that was written about you. There are so many places where you can get known! Focusing on that and not on, "whether they are even looking at your resume."

Who are you that you that they should even be looking at your resume?. That is what you should be focusing in on.-Who you are. That should make them want to focusing on you. -


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1400 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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