I’m sure that manyif not most of you are at least somewhat familiar with so-called “résumé blast” services. A Google® search using the term “résumé blast services” returns 14.5 million “hits,” so these services have indeed become BIG business in recent years, with discouraged job seekers facing the most challenging job market in over a generation.
In this week’s blog I am going to tell you why you definitely should have second (and third and fourth!) thoughts about using one of these services if you intend to be able to work with most true “headhunters” during your job search.
The Résumé ‘Blast’
Most of these services, which can range in cost from “FREE” to $150 or more, make essentially the same kinds of claims/promises to you, the beleaguered job seeker: That they can “blast” your résumé, virtually simultaneously, to thousands of “headhunters” (or job boards, specific industries, etc.), thereby relieving you of the tedium (and the considerable time!) it would normally take for you to individually make these contacts yourself. Here is a typical “pitch”:
“Get your résumé in front of thousands (emphasis mine) of recruiters looking for your unique qualifications!”
To the unwary, uninitiated job-seeker, I can see where such an offer might at least be somewhat attractive and appealing. I can see why the approach might be considered to be a workable, worthwhile alternative to spending hour upon hour of first locating specific jobs and then individually contacting the hiring companies. This approach, however, overlooks one very vital element in the job search, particularly when a true “headhunter” is involved: This is NOT the way “headhunters” (or, for that matter, most hiring managers and the companies they represent, although usually for reasons different from a “headhunter’s”) actually select candidates for further consideration!
Be careful and consider your personal brand
Indeed, taking the résumé blasting approach can easily do far more damage than good to your brand. Why? Because this approach essentially reduces you—brands you!—to nothing more than a mere “commodity”. It positions you, i.e., brands you, as someone who is nothing more than a “run-of-the-mill” candidate, as someone who is nothing more than “average.” You will be perceived by those “headhunters” (and hiring mangers, et al.) receiving your blasted résumé (pardon the pun) as a candidate who is more deserving of the DELETE key than as someone who is unique and therefore possibly deserving of further consideration.
To better understand how counter-productive blasting your résumé to a “headhunter” can be, let me briefly outline how a true ”headhunter” actually works in the job market. Let me explain to you the candidate factors that he or she actually considers when seeking out (or responding to) potentially qualified candidates for the positions he or she is trying to fill for client companies. (And, it is the hiring companies that are the “headhunters’” clients, not the candidates themselves.)
Why Hiring Companies Contract the Services of a ‘Headhunter’
Hiring companies contract the services of a “headhunter” to locate candidates that the hiring companies themselves can’t easily find. Since the hiring companies normally pay the “headhunter” a fee equal to about 30% of a successful candidate’s first year salary, obviously, the hiring companies do not hire a “headhunter” to locate the types of candidates they can easily locate themselves!
The profile of the typical candidate sought out (or responded to) by a “headhunter,” then, represents the crème dela crème, the best of the best. Certainly, these candidates have to be someone with unique, current and relevant experience. Plus, there must also be a high degree of probability that candidates recruited by a “headhunter” will indeed move forward and accept the position being considered, if they are actually offered the position by the hiring company.
When I get a candidate’s résumé that has clearly come from a résumé blasting service—and believe me, it is easy to tell!—I immediately know that this candidate is in no way unique. I know that, If I received this résumé, so did an unknown number of other “headhunters”! I simply will not spend any time working with such a candidate because I know that they probably will also be working with a number of other “headhunters,” i.e., “job shopping.” I could therefore easily end up doing a lot of unnecessary “wheel-spinning” by working with such a candidate. Or, worse yet, the situation could end up causing me and the hiring manager with whom I am working to fill an open position considerable embarrassment, if the candidate were to be offered the position but turn it down for a better offer from one of the competing “headhunters.”
Just for the record, most other “headhunters” feel exactly the same way I do and react to these “résumé blast” candidates in a similar fashion. The time and effort we “headhunters” must expend in order to, first, locate the very top candidates, and then, to adequately prepare them for presentation to our client companies simply won’t allow us to take any other approach—and most of us don’t! What we will do is spend time, and make considerable effort, to solicit and then groom those candidates who have indeed branded themselves as unique, as clearly being among the very best of the best! It is these candidates whom we will present to our client companies, not candidates who came to us through a résumé blast.
So, if you are considering using a résumé blasting service, you might want to save your money and seriously rethink your overall approach—particularly if you desire to work with a “headhunter” who specializes in your professional market niche.
Skip Freeman is the author of “Headhunter” Hiring Secrets: The Rules of the Hiring Game Have Changed . . . Forever! and is the President and Chief Executive Officer of The HTW Group (Hire to Win), an Atlanta, GA, Metropolitan Area Executive Search Firm. Specializing in the placement of sales, engineering, manufacturing and R&D professionals, he has developed powerful techniques that help companies hire the best and help the best get hired.