Career Advice

Why Keeping Your Options Open May Harm Your Job Search

It is human nature in job search – as in dating – to want to keep your options open. Many job seekers, whether early-career and fairly inexperienced or 15+ years in and heralding a plethora of different functional strengths, feel they will limit their opportunities by narrowing their job search target.

ToughdecisionsIn fact, just the opposite will happen.

Broad Resume Nets Don’t Work. By casting a broad net, job seekers drown out their unique voice and alienate their ideal audience. They do this by splattering a variety of talents, many which do not relate, into one mish-mash resume that says, “Here I am; I will take ANY job – hire me!” Or, perhaps it conveys your message in a more boastful way, “Here I am; I am great – you don’t want to miss out on my results-oriented, innovative fantastic-ness.” But, the common thread is that you have no direction, and therefore, no destination.

If you create a resume that is all about you and about keeping your options open, you are proving that you don’t really care about ‘them!’ And by ‘them,’ I mean a well-defined, specific hiring audience looking to invest in that special someone who can stamp out their pain, stem their revenue bleeding, create marketplace distinction, reverse customer service decline, or whatever the problem.

The more narrow you get in defining YOUR audience/customer, the more likely you will hit the bulls eye and land an interview. What this means is becoming clear on the type of company, industry, sector, position at which you want to aim your sharpened resume arrow.

Recruiters and Hiring Decision Makers Are Searching for People Who ‘Get’ Their Needs. If you have no target audience, then hiring decision makers and recruiters to whom you hand off your resume will feel they must dig deeply to unearth your achievements and value that mean something to them. And most won’t do that – not because they are heartless or uncaring, but simply because it is time-consuming and other candidates have worked to research their needs and articulate solutions.

Have the Courage to Sharpen Your Career Story Arrow. It takes courage and introspection to aim your resume and online message at a more explicit audience. Most careerists become overwhelmed with the process and go off on tangents when they try to distill their career story into one, two or three resume pages.

So, if you are nodding your head that you are one of the many who fears and struggles with whetting your search arrow, you are not alone. However, you can begin reshaping and refining your message today. Step out of your comfort zone, get intimate with your objective and craft a story that reverberates throughout your career conversations. Show employers how much you really care about their needs!