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Job Seeking Finance Pros: Think Before Sending Your Resume

  • By Tom Kellum
  • Published: 6/25/2015

Job seeking treasury and finance professionals have surely noticed that it’s become more difficult to land a new position in the current environment. While there are many reasons for this—the economy, finance departments working with smaller staffs, etc.—an important thing to consider is how the hiring process itself has changed over the past several years.

As a new study from Glassdoor Economic Research shows, the job interview process is getting progressively longer. But what if you don’t even get past the first step? Are you even getting your foot in the door? If not, it might have to do with your resume.

It doesn’t matter whether you have a professionally prepared resume or a standard one that you whipped up—because, as savvy job hunters know, employers use resumes mainly to screen you out, and not to find reasons to contact you for an invitation to an interview.

To solve the #1 problem in job hunting—which is, namely, how to get interviews with someone that can hire you, sending a resume is not the way to fly. Why?
It only takes a quick glance at your masterpiece of (hopefully) non-fiction to remand your resume forthwith to resume jail. Here’s how it happens.

If your resume shows that you aren’t currently (or weren’t very recently) employed in the same or a similar position as the one they have open, that’s enough to screen it out.

Are you safe so far, if you are? Well, no. Not really. Here’s a short list of the reasons why your resume still might not survive the screening ritual.

  • You are unemployed or underemployed.
  • You are self-employed.
  • You held short tenures in recent positions (you’ve been job hopping).
  • You’re too young or too old.
  • Your education is insufficient (no degree/wrong degree).
  • You do not have enough experience in the industry—or you have too much.
  • You are trying to make a career change.
  • You lack a certain professional credential, like the CTP or FP&A.
  • Your background is in larger or smaller companies.
  • You lack the experience in a particular software program or other technology the company regularly uses.

If you need interviews with a hiring authority, don’t send a resume in your initial communication. Rather, send a marketing letter directly to the hiring authority.

That way, you control the information on which you want to be evaluated for purposes of getting a favorable response. It also has the added advantage of letting you address the main question of the hiring authority: what can you do for me?

If the hiring authority is impressed by what you say you can do for them, they are more likely to be forgiving of the confessions they may find, if and when they ask you to send them your resume.

In a future article, I will explain how financial professionals can write a resume that is capabilities-oriented. It’s a superior alternative to most resume formats you may have seen, and for people who aren’t exactly sure how to write an effective marketing letter and have no intention of paying someone to do it for them.

Tom Kellum has worked for 25 years as a job hunter’s consultant and strategist. He is a contributing author for Talentzoo.com, and has served as a national sales manager for MCBA software and a manager of marketing programs for Accountants Microsystems. Kellum can be reached via email.    

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