I’m often asked by students seeking a job in sports for my tips on crafting a great resume and cover letter. While speaking to a career coaching client recently, I realized the very best resume advice I can give you isn’t about the actual content of your resume. It’s so simple, this might be one of my shortest blog posts ever.
Research shows your resume will only have a hiring manager or recruiter’s eyeballs on it for six seconds. So, how do you stand out in six seconds?
You don’t. You figure out how to get more than six seconds.
The secret to a great resume isn’t in the content, it’s in getting enough time to make a true impression. How do you do that? It’s simple: know someone within the organization willing to go pull your resume from the pile and recommend you. The next best thing is having a connection to someone outside the organization who has a great contact within and will make a call on your behalf. Not only will you likely get more than six seconds for your resume, you’ll probably get a few minutes of someone talking you up to the hiring manager. It’s rare a random resume in the pile will beat that.
Of course, you want your resume to be great when they do read it, but that doesn’t become important until you get more than those six seconds. I can tell you that within the last month I’ve been contacted by three athletic departments looking to hire for various positions who were seeking recommendations, and I don’t even work in college athletics; imagine the recommendations and referrals that are happening within the industry. People want to hire a known quantity where the odds for success are high, and they do that by asking people they know and trust to vouch for someone.
If you need more convincing, read about Mississippi State’s athletic director Scott Stricklin’s career path. And remember, it’s not just about who you know – it’s about who knows you!
Want some coaching on your relationship-building skills or need help with your resume or cover letter? Try out my career coaching services.