I’m a Career Coach — This is the Most Noticeable Career Mistake (and How I Help My Clients Fix It)

I’m a Career Coach — This is the Most Noticeable Career Mistake (and How I Help My Clients Fix It)


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Reneé Zung252
Career Consultant
May 18, 2024 at 7:15AM UTC

As a Certified Career Transition Coach, I have assisted outplaced candidates for over a decade. Career transitions begin when an individual moves from one career to another—whether or not by choice. The number one career mistake my clients make is relying solely on their resumes to get them a job. As the VP of Career Services for Keystone Partners, I help my clients fix the mistake of thinking that their resume will get them their next role. The resume is only one element of a job search. 

 When looking for a new job—whether on your own or because of a downsizing—it is important that you do not rely on only your resume to get you the interview or job offer. Jobseekers tend to apply online with the same resume and then wait for a response. This type of job search is known as the reactive job search. While the reactive job search may seem logical, it rarely leads to finding or landing a job. This type of job search focuses on the wrong priorities.

 For every job you apply to online, you compete with approximately 200 other applicants for the same position. Companies use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to help them sort through numerous applicants. When you apply online, the ATS will process your resume before a human looks at it. If the words on your resume match the job description and qualifications, your resume is sent to the HR department—where it is screened more carefully.

 If only apply to jobs online, you will need to apply to approximately 200 jobs a week for one interview. 

If applying online to job ads is not the best way to land an interview leading to a job offer, how can you find your next career?

 I recommend a proactive job search instead. Follow these three simple steps to stop relying on your resume and get strategic about finding your dream job. 

1. Update your resume the right way.

Focus on your accomplishments and how you have added value to or had an impact on the organization. Quantify and qualify each bulleted item when possible. 

 Resumes no longer have objective statements. Instead, include a summary statement that highlights your skills and personal brand.

 Keep in mind that your resume is a living, breathing document that needs editing to include keywords from each job description every time you apply for a job.

2. Use LinkedIn to your advantage.

Update your LinkedIn profile with keywords and skills from your targeted jobs.

Before you hit apply anywhere, check out LinkedIn to see if you know anyone that works at the company and ask for an employee referral.

3. Strengthen your relationships.

 If your dream company is not hiring, no worries—this gives you time to network.

Build a list of other targeted companies, then reach out to your network to build relationships and bridges to your dream roles.

When you reach out to your network, remember “AIR”: Advice, Information and Recommendation/Referral. When you network, you never ask for a job—you ask for AIR.

While your resume is a crucial part of any job search, it is only one aspect of the process. Building relationships is the foundation of any career change. Your dream job is out there—to find it, you must be brave enough to ask for help along the way.


This article was written by an FGB Contributor.

Reneé is a client-focused Career Services Consultant as well as a workshop and webinar facilitator. She brings over 10 years’ experience providing career transition coaching to executives, senior managers and individual contributors.

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