Unhappy man holding three heavy suitcases in hand. Travel light.

Why a great resume alone won’t get you a great job.

My recent post Spring Cleaning Your Resume has brought a lot of people to us looking for help with what they term “updating” their resumé. If they are in or about to start a job search, they recognize the need for better “marketing collateral.” When I aske them about their search plan, they are often quizzical, responding something, “I’m going to start sending it out and get a new job.”

Would that it was that simple! There’s many a step between finalizing even the best resume and landing your dream job. My response to this common but misguided thinking is always the same: while a great resume is necessary, it’s not sufficient.

Ready, set, then go!

Conducting a job search is like going on a big trip. Imagine packing everything you own and setting off without a clear destination in mind, much less a travel plan to get you there. A bag full of bathing suits isn’t going to be of much use if you end up in Iceland, and a parka will be useless in a tropical paradise. Your resumé is your suitcase, in which you need to pack exactly what you need given your destination. A steamer trunk is not in order; this is the time for a capsule career wardrobe!

So, if the resume isn’t the be all and end all, where do you start? Just as with setting out on a trip, devise a plan, budget your time and energy, and make your preparations before you hit the road. That way your job search journey will go more smoothly and will help you reach your destination. Here are the steps:

  1. Get Ready: As with any trip, before you do anything else you need to determine your readiness. Once you’re clear you have in place all the resources-inner and outer–that may be required, then you can start planning your search, which means setting interim objectives for each leg of the journey.
  2. Determine Your Job Search Focus: For travel with a purpose, you also need to set a destination, or at least a range. Determine what career assets you possess that will help you achieve your goals. If you want to be more than a tourist, you’ll need to learn as much about the nature of your destination as possible, so you’ll fit in–not stick out.
  3. Perform Targeted Research: At this stage, you’re wise to do as much research as you can ahead of time to clarify that your chosen destination is really where you want to go. You also need to understand and plan for the potential pitfalls you may encounter on the trip.
  4. Leverage Your Network: Talking with others who have made a similar journey is invaluable. Learning from their mistakes as well as successes is far less time consuming and frustrating than trial and error. Fellow travellers on your contemplated career path are often willing to share tips and information and give advice that can make your job search journey easier and more pleasant.
  5. Prepare Your Self-Marketing Materials: Packing is a key success factor for any trip. For the job search, this means consulting your checklist and making sure everything you’ll need–your resume, LinkedIn profile, cover letter template, elevator speech–is polished and ready.
  6. Identify Needs & Opportunities that Match Your Skills, Interests, Goals & Values: Someone needs what you’ve got. Together, your research and networking will show themes and patterns. Your job is to “connect the dots” so you can demonstrate (not just claim) why your qualifications are a fit.

Time for Action

Now you can hit the road. You know where you’re headed, and you’re prepared for whatever you encounter along the way. Here are your options:

  • Apply for appropriate jobs (Good)
  • Propose yourself as a solution (Better)
  • Pursue opportunities uncovered through networking (Best)

Overcoming Obstacles

Sometimes even the best plans go awry–what you thought would be perfect turns out not to be desirable, or feasible. If you can adjust your expectations as you go, you’ll discover that many roads lead to a great destination. In fact, unexpected events can be positive–you may be shown a shortcut or given a lift that gets you closer to your hopes and dreams.

Land Your New Job

Congratulations! When you reach the end of the job search and have that new position, it’s time to look at onboarding. Being prepared to “hit the ground running” will serve you well. We suggest that you prepare a 30-60-90 Day Plan and review it with your immediate supervisor so that you are both on the same page. Your initiative now will provide real benefits as you settle into your new role and begin the next phase of your unfolding career journey.

Need A Road Map and a Navigator?

A targeted job search is not something you have to do alone. Let us know how we can help.



Schedule time with me!

Day Merrill

Day Merrill, M.A. Career/Executive Coach

Day Merrill, M.A.
Founder & Principal
2BDetermined Inc.
Office: 416.725.2947
E-Mail Day
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Unhappy man holding three heavy suitcases in hand. Travel light.

Why a great resume alone won’t get you a great job.

My recent post Spring Cleaning Your Resume has brought a lot of people to us looking for help with what they term “updating” their resumé. If they are in or about to start a job search, they recognize the need for better “marketing collateral.” When I aske them about their search plan, they are often quizzical, responding something, “I’m going to start sending it out and get a new job.”

Would that it was that simple! There’s many a step between finalizing even the best resume and landing your dream job. My response to this common but misguided thinking is always the same: while a great resume is necessary, it’s not sufficient.

Ready, set, then go!

Conducting a job search is like going on a big trip. Imagine packing everything you own and setting off without a clear destination in mind, much less a travel plan to get you there. A bag full of bathing suits isn’t going to be of much use if you end up in Iceland, and a parka will be useless in a tropical paradise. Your resumé is your suitcase, in which you need to pack exactly what you need given your destination. A steamer trunk is not in order; this is the time for a capsule career wardrobe!

So, if the resume isn’t the be all and end all, where do you start? Just as with setting out on a trip, devise a plan, budget your time and energy, and make your preparations before you hit the road. That way your job search journey will go more smoothly and will help you reach your destination. Here are the steps:

  1. Get Ready: As with any trip, before you do anything else you need to determine your readiness. Once you’re clear you have in place all the resources-inner and outer–that may be required, then you can start planning your search, which means setting interim objectives for each leg of the journey.
  2. Determine Your Job Search Focus: For travel with a purpose, you also need to set a destination, or at least a range. Determine what career assets you possess that will help you achieve your goals. If you want to be more than a tourist, you’ll need to learn as much about the nature of your destination as possible, so you’ll fit in–not stick out.
  3. Perform Targeted Research: At this stage, you’re wise to do as much research as you can ahead of time to clarify that your chosen destination is really where you want to go. You also need to understand and plan for the potential pitfalls you may encounter on the trip.
  4. Leverage Your Network: Talking with others who have made a similar journey is invaluable. Learning from their mistakes as well as successes is far less time consuming and frustrating than trial and error. Fellow travellers on your contemplated career path are often willing to share tips and information and give advice that can make your job search journey easier and more pleasant.
  5. Prepare Your Self-Marketing Materials: Packing is a key success factor for any trip. For the job search, this means consulting your checklist and making sure everything you’ll need–your resume, LinkedIn profile, cover letter template, elevator speech–is polished and ready.
  6. Identify Needs & Opportunities that Match Your Skills, Interests, Goals & Values: Someone needs what you’ve got. Together, your research and networking will show themes and patterns. Your job is to “connect the dots” so you can demonstrate (not just claim) why your qualifications are a fit.

Time for Action

Now you can hit the road. You know where you’re headed, and you’re prepared for whatever you encounter along the way. Here are your options:

  • Apply for appropriate jobs (Good)
  • Propose yourself as a solution (Better)
  • Pursue opportunities uncovered through networking (Best)

Overcoming Obstacles

Sometimes even the best plans go awry–what you thought would be perfect turns out not to be desirable, or feasible. If you can adjust your expectations as you go, you’ll discover that many roads lead to a great destination. In fact, unexpected events can be positive–you may be shown a shortcut or given a lift that gets you closer to your hopes and dreams.

Land Your New Job

Congratulations! When you reach the end of the job search and have that new position, it’s time to look at onboarding. Being prepared to “hit the ground running” will serve you well. We suggest that you prepare a 30-60-90 Day Plan and review it with your immediate supervisor so that you are both on the same page. Your initiative now will provide real benefits as you settle into your new role and begin the next phase of your unfolding career journey.

Need A Road Map and a Navigator?

A targeted job search is not something you have to do alone. Let us know how we can help.



Schedule time with me!

Post Categories