Building Career Relationships Goes Beyond the Resume

When I think back over the course of my career…the one thing that I can say is that I have never gotten a job because of a resume. Every job I have gotten has been based on a relationship….the resume was a formality in the job hiring process – HR required it for my file.

As I work with students and other professionals, it has been my philosophy it is not what you is who you know. When teaching on a collegiate level especially in a business writing class; i do not teach how to write a resume…I teach how to build relationships to get the resume in the right hands.

It is my belief that that the hand shake is today’s resume in the business world. During a recessionary time period, employers are being flooded with resume’s after resumes. Even a janitor job in Ohio received over 700 job applications…WOW. In a slumping economy, it is important to find ways to separate yourself away from the pack.

Think…does two pieces of paper listing your job history, education, experience, and qualifications accurately represent your abilities, personality, and willingness to be a vital part of an organization? Why do you think so many employers want to interview the person before they are hired. Imagine if you spent just as much energy when applying for a job figuring out the name of the hiring manager or decision maker, then put yourself in a position to meet them and shake their hand.

Some say that the origin of the hand shake came from Medieval Europe where kings and knights would extend their hands to each other and grasp the others’ hand as demonstration that each did not possess a concealed weapon and intended no harm.

The hand shake communicates lots of different non-verbal cues but ultimately it is a product of relationship building.

Why do we spend so much time building a resume. Well, it is an educational/professional process to organize our background, qualities, education, honors, etc. into one place. It is a snap shot of who we are and what we represent professionally. It is tremendous exercise to go through the process of compiling a resume. This forces the job seeker, to organize thoughts so that when we meet with other professionals…this writing process has organized our thoughts. It is a starting point for conversation and can be a reference when filling out a job application. It is my opinion that the resume is not the “end all be all.”

There is more to a job or joining an organization than the ability to organize our resume. We should spend just as much time, actually more time building career relationships as we do putting together a resume. We should be teaching students and professionals how to network, make “elevator pitches”, shake hands…ultimately building relationships.