Is the Résumé Still Relevant?

hire meMy résumé did not lead me to my current position at Commerce Kitchen. In reality, my résumé has done nothing for me.

Two years ago, I envisioned a game plan to transition from arts nonprofit fundraising to tech for-profit business development. My hunch at the time was that in order for me to successfully land a biz dev position in the tech field, I was going to have to find a champion to go to bat for me during the hiring process. Now, speaking from experience, I found that hunch to be accurate.

Exhibit A

Last year, in a moment of unshakable dissatisfaction with my current job, I decided to send my newly polished résumé to an ERP consultancy, where at the time I had a friend on staff. The human resources director obtained the document highlighting my accomplishments and expertise and quickly shuffled it to the back of the pile.

I know this because the HR director told me so. It was only after my friend paid him a visit that he decided to call me. The HR director did not make the connection and assumed that a mistake had been made. I fielded all of the predicted questions. “How does your current experience translate?” “Why are you looking to do this?” “What do you currently make?”

Alas, the company decided to go another direction. And I am glad they did.

“You’re Not What We’re Looking For.”

aloneMore recently, during yet another sour period at work, I decided to send my résumé to a booming startup that had recently opened an office in Denver. Much to my disappointment (but unsurprisingly), I received no word.

A couple of months passed, and I ran into the startup’s internal recruiter at a meetup. I inquired regarding sales/biz dev openings and expressed my interest. She quickly – and only somewhat politely – dismissed me as not having relevant experience. It seemed as though she had a clear vision of what she was looking for, and an arts fundraiser was not it.


So how did I find myself as an account executive for Commerce Kitchen? Authentic networking.

It all started with humbly asking questions. What does the tech landscape look like, and how was I to find myself in it? Here is what I have done, could that translate into something relevant? With good fortune, and with the help of a great friend, I found the right people to answer these questions. The initial conversation contained no ‘hire me’ pitch, yet it ultimately lead to that effect.

They say that 70-80% of jobs go unadvertised. Whether or not that figure is accurate, we can all agree that a large chunk of job opportunities go unposted. The reason I love authentic networking–where the intent is to connect on a human level, not the utilitarian level–is because over time it will reveal the path of best fit, and lend these hidden job opportunities to you. It certainly did for me. And I know it has for others.

A résumé would not have done the same. Although it may be an easy focus to have the most polished résumé and the firmest handshake, meeting people and sharing your curiosities can be much more rewarding. I would postulate that this will continue to be universally true in the job market.

In fact, I would wager that I will never have to polish my résumé again.

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