It is well known that 80% of jobs are not advertised yet job hunters still focus on the 20% that are. For the jobs that aren’t advertised – that is, aren’t on job sites, in the papers or posted with recruiters, you need to network – that is, make contacts that can get you in front of the employer. Most times the employer hires you based on the quality of the referral and your performance in an interview not the beauty of your CV. The resume may not even be a factor or at a minor one in the job-hiring decision. Yet job hunters still obsess about getting the perfect resume. It’s often misspent time and unnecessary stress.

So is my advice that you should forget about a resume?

Yes and no.

Yes! I definitely don’t think that you should spend more time on your resume than you do on networking. And on relationships – both establishing new ones and deepening existing ones. You need to network strategically, consistently and extensively to find contacts that can get you to the jobs that aren’t advertised.

No! But I do think, paradoxically that time spent on the resume can be invaluable as a tool for focusing your job hunt or career change. Now let’s say that again. Time spent on your resume can be great for focus. Yep, it acts as a planning tool. Of course it won’t harm you or stop you getting a job but the main benefits of creating a good resume are to understand your past and how that supports future.

Understanding your past? What have you done in your work life and in your personal life? What knowledge, skills, experience and motivations have you shown? What is your story? What were the steps (and maybe missteps) that shaped your career?

And supporting your future. What accomplishments, qualifications and experiences would support your next step in your work life? Now your next step could be: more of the same – you like your current job and industry and you want a similar position; the next level – you are ready to move up the ladder or deepen your expertise; and you’ve had it – you don’t like your job or industry or it’s changed so much that jobs don’t exist so you’re ready for something different. And which elements of your past life don’t support your future plans and how can you present them and be prepared for them in an interview. The missing job history, the lack of relevant experience or the required qualification that is not part of your educational background are all examples of the barriers that can hurt the job hunter. Having thought through your resume and crafted a good one will surface those issues and help you come up with explanations and deflections to achieve your career goals.

Working through your past and mapping it to your future helps you focus your career strategy so when you do your networking you can easily talk about what you want and why the employer should give it to you!

So, resumes may not be your key tool in finding a job but they are definitely a key tool in determining your focus. So resumes aren’t a waste of time for your career strategy but maybe for your job hunt!

Author's Bio: 

David Couper is a career coach and writer who for the last twenty years has worked in Europe, Asia, and the USA with individuals. 100% of his clients have found either a new job or career which is fulfilling for both their heart and mind.

“After meeting with you, I can now say today, no matter what I do for work or how I earn money to live. I proudly can say that I am an Artist and an Educator. That is what I believe in and what makes my heart sing. I am feeling more grounded in who I truly am. So I am on this journey.”
Artist and Educator, Los Angeles, CA

He has successfully coached men and women wanting to change career or develop new opportunities at all levels - including CEOs of major companies wanting a creative challenge, frustrated souls longing to make their dream come true and front-line employees laid off and desperate to get a job.

"David Couper is an honest and sincere coach and an extra special team player. He's like the diamond player in reserve. When you call on him you can be sure that he is going to play full-out for your success and fully believe in you.”
Interactive Hypnotherapist and Fellow of Royal Society, London, UK

David has a degree in Communication, a postgraduate qualification in education, is certified in a number of training technologies, and has a Masters in Spiritual Psychology. He is a member of the American Society of Training and Development, Society of Human Resources Professional, Writers Guild and the British Academy of Film and Television.

“I love your inspiration. Thank you so much. I plan on sharing it with our sons.” -- Award-winning realtor, Los Angeles, CA

David has published seven books. His works on interpersonal skills, counseling in the workplace, and management issues (published by Connaught, Gower, HRD Press, Longman, Macmillan/Pearson Publishing, Oxford University Press) have been translated into Swedish, Polish, and Danish, and published in the UK and the USA.

“Love the work you are doing with X. You really nailed him (in the resume). Very nice work, David.”
Executive, Disney, Burbank, CA

He has dual US/UK citizenship and speaks French and Japanese.

“David offered both advice and encouragement, helping me to understand and adjust to the new context. I have no doubt that his support was vital to my success on that occasion. Without it, would have lacked the confidence required to carry on with what was a very daunting environment.” -- Training Manager and Employee of the Year, Consulting Company, Paris, France

Additional Resources covering Career Change can be found at:

Website Directory for Career Change
Articles on Career Change
Products for Career Change
Discussion Board
David Couper, the Official Guide To Career Change