By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

JeffAltman, The Big Game Hunter
JeffAltman, The Big Game Hunwhen 

When I was a recruiter, I was puzzled by a phenomenon that has become more profound as the recession went on. It is something that my recruiters in corporate have told me frustrates them, too. I didn’t understand why it occurred until recently when at a networking group someone explained to me the rationale.

The phenomena—sending resumes that don’t fit a job description.

Each time I post a job description on the web or email it to a referral source, I am always surprised by the number of responses I receive that in no way fit the job. A Partner job in San Francisco for someone from consulting that clearly explains what the client wants yields scads of resumes of programmers in Ohio who work in manufacturing. A project management ad calling for both RUP AND UML always get responses of people with one or the other. A developer ad listing 6 essential requirements and 4 plusses yields resumes with two of the six required skills and an irate call from the submitter saying that I’m wrong and that he fits the job. Another person sends 5 resumes for different jobs that require very different expertise from management to staff level roles in applications and infrastructure.

Why does this happen? There are two reasons that I’ve heard and they’re both pretty similar.

1. Desperate times result in desperate actions. What the heck! Let me send it. I read the ad. I know what it says but they can’t possibly want all that.

2. The outplacement firm told me to send it if I meet 70% of the job description.

They’re both pretty similar. The second one basically puts the blame on advice from someone else for why the resume is sent. Yet, 99.9 times out of 100, sending that resume doesn’t result in an interview, does it? As a matter of fact, it doesn’t even result in a phone call. What it results in is a deleted resume, momentary annoyance on the part of the recipient who, whether a corporate or agency recruiter who you need to ally yourself with, rather than antagonize, and wasted time.

For an agent, the issue of time being wasted impacts their ability to help you and the other 2000 people in their personal data base find work by keeping them from networking to other job openings. For a corporate recruiter, the list of issues is far longer.

But, you say, the outplacement firm my company sent me to when I was laid off said to do it!

What does it matter to them? Do they have to receive and receive the emails or do they have the luxury of creating the mess and expecting someone else to deal with it? And then they say, “Those useless so and so’s never do their job right!” On behalf of all recruiter-dom, I’m going to make a request. Please stop sending resumes to jobs where you don’t fit the description. It’s OK to send a resume and say that you’re sending it on an exploratory basis. It’s OK to tell the unemployment office that you’ve submitted it to 20 jobs even if you’ve sent 20 exploratory resumes.

It is not OK to pester people with five calls a day asking if they’ve read your resume. It is not OK to be disappointed if you send in a resume where you are a poor fit. You should be rejected.

It is a better investment of your time to network by phone with a million people but stop calling or emailing with messages that say that you more than adequately meet the job description when you don’t (That was an email today—a Partner position for someone from a consulting firm in Dallas who was in the manufacturing practice, resulted in such a statement from someone from industry and finance. [Yes, he lived in Dallas]).

Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2004, 2010, 2016, 2021 




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

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2000 episodes and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? Schedule a discovery call at my website,

Quick question? Get it answered with a 3-5 minute video at Want to do it live?

Learn to interview like a pro. “The Ultimate Job Interview Kindle and print versions are available on Amazon.

Classes On Skillshare

Become a freelancer or hire one on I use it and I may wind up hiring you!

Join Career Angles on Facebook and receive support, ideas and advice in your current career and job.

Connect with me on LinkedIn Mention you listen to the podcast or watch my YouTube channel.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter | Job CoachJob Search Going Nowhere? Diagnosing Your Job Search Problems” for Kindle on Amazon and receive free Kindle versions of “No BS Resume Advice” and “Interview Preparation.”

If you are starting your search, order, “Get Ready for the Job Jungle.”

Watch my videos on YouTube at, the Job Search TV app for Roku, fireTV or a firestick or for Apple TV, and 90+ smart tv’s.

Subscribe And Give This Video A Thumbs Up If You Found It Helpful.

Jeff Altman owns the copyright in and to all content in and transcripts of No BS Job Search Advice Radio podcast, Job Search Radio Podcast, The No BS Coaching Advice podcast,, and other content with all rights reserved, as well as his right of publicity.


You are welcome to share a transcript (up to 500 words but not more) in media articles (e.g., The New York Times, LA Times, The Guardian), on your personal website, in a non-commercial article or blog post (e.g., Medium), and/or on a personal social media account for non-commercial purposes, provided that you include attribution to “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” “Job Search Radio,”” The No BS Coaching Advice Podcast,” “”as well as other content and link back to the For the sake of clarity, media outlets with advertising models are permitted to use excerpts from the transcript per the above.


No one is authorized to copy any portion of the podcast content or use Jeff Altman’s name, image or likeness for any commercial purpose or use, including without limitation inclusion in any books, e-books, book summaries or synopses, or on a commercial website or social media site (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) that offers or promotes your or another’s products or services. For the sake of clarity, media outlets are permitted to use photos of Jeff Altman. 


About the author

Leave a Comment, Thought, Opinion. Speak like you're speaking with someone you love.

%d bloggers like this: