Staff Guest Post: Stop Working on Your Resume

Each day I help students highlight their best experiences, skills, and education on their resumes.  Resumes should be customized for each position you apply so an employer sees your most appropriate candidacy. It should also be error-free and consistently formatted. 

Here’s the problem.  The best use of your career search time should not be spent fine-tuning your resume beyond reason.  Past a certain point, working on your resume gives diminishing returns.  Consider investing any extra time on endeavors that advance your career prospects.

My suggestion: Stop fussing over your resume and instead seek out an informational interview. 

Find someone who is in a job you think you might like and ask to have a conversation with them.  Ask them what they like and don’t like about their job as well as the work environment. Also, do your homework and ask intelligent questions about the company itself and how that position fits in with the organization’s goals.

Gather as much information as you can so you can better answer the question, “Can I see myself doing this job and being happy and satisfied?” 

There are other benefits to performing an informational interview:

  1. You can grow and maintain your network; an integral part of career success.
  2. You get an opportunity to impress someone who is in a field of value to you.
  3. You conduct research and gain knowledge of a specific industry.
  4. You can practice your interpersonal skills in a business setting.
  5. You can gain access to job leads and job recommendations in the future.

Informational interviews can lead to job applications and offers.  So can a resume, but everybody has a resume.  Be different.  Distinguish your job search by making more contact in person rather than just on paper.

Michael T. Breslin, is the assistant director of the MBA/M.S. Career Resources, at the Rensselaer Lally School of Management