If you’re a fan of the TV show House, you know Dr. House lives by one theory: Everybody lies. His expertise is treating patients with hard-to-diagnose illnesses. By assuming everybody will lie about their symptoms or their behaviors, he never wastes time following up on misinformation.
For job seekers, there's a different theory you should live by: People are lazy. Let's face it, when given a choice, people like to take the easy way out. If you let this theory guide all your job search efforts, you'll be way ahead of the game.
Before you get defensive, I realize it may not be laziness so much as the fact that we're so busy, or uncertain, or… whatever. But for our purposes, let's just stick with the term lazy. The outcome is the same.
People's inherent laziness is good for your job search because it means most of your competitors won't put in the extra time and effort to build a targeted resume and cover letter. It also means employers (who are also people, therefore, also lazy) don't actually read resumes. They do a quick scan, and decide within 10 or 15 seconds whether to keep reading. Result: Your competitors' slap-dash efforts are quickly sent to the reject pile.
The only drawback is, in order to take advantage of other people's laziness, you have to be the one who isn't lazy. It's work, but it's worth it. If you make it easy for those lazy employers to see your value, they'll appreciate it, and your resume will rise above the other candidates.
Here are a few examples of what I'm talking about:
- A good cover letter makes it easy to see that you're enthusiastic, you’ve done your homework, and you have the skills they need.
- Up-to-date contact information makes it easy for employers to reach you for interviews and follow-up.
- Summarizing your qualifications at the top of your resume makes it easy for readers to spot the important details in their initial 10-second scan.
- Brief descriptions of the kind and size of businesses you worked for make it easy for employers to put your experience in context.
- Removing old job duties from your resume that have no relation to the job you're targeting makes it easy to pinpoint your relevant experience.
Good and Bad Resumes: Want to See the Difference?
What to Say in Your Cover Letter
Ready To Jump Start Your Job Search?