Should a CEO rely on a resume to get a job?

The people who secure top jobs are the ones known in the market and who remained agile throughout their careers., says University of Manchester's Elena Agaragimova
Should a CEO rely on a resume to get a job?
By Elena Agaragimova
Wed 06 Feb 2019 09:14 AM

CVs are outdated. I’m sure it’s shocking to read, but frankly, the only time anyone should use a CV is as a fresh graduate looking to highlight their academics, skills, achievements, extracurricular activities.

This is because the higher you climb up the career ladder, the less the academics, IQ, and technical skills matter. Instead, when looking for senior roles to fill, companies will look for people who can lead, inspire, manage, grow revenue, decrease costs, and hire the right talent.

More often than not, the people who secure those jobs are the ones known in the market, who took time to build and maintain a network and remained agile throughout their careers.

The last point is very important. If a candidate does not know where or what they want to shift to doing, any resume they come up with will be unable to provide a reader with accurate information of which role they would be a fit for. If you do not understand what you have to offer and what you are looking for, your resume can potentially lead to a conversation with the wrong person at a wrong company.

This is a complication borne out of another one: Resumes usually don’t reflect a person’s personality or achievements very well. In fact, the higher a candidate is in terms of their career the harder it becomes to fit all their experiences onto two pages. And anything longer than two pages is unlikely to even be read.

It’s why most recruiters prefer to reach out to their network or people they have come in contact with before they even begin to rummage through piles of CVs. In markets such as Dubai, a single job posting can lead to thousands of submissions, and the majority of resumes don’t fare too well when passing through an AI-based scanning system that ranks resumes.

It can’t be stressed enough then that if no one knows who you are or what you do, it is unlikely your CV will make a difference. And even a top notch CV won’t get you beyond the first interview if you can’t sell yourself. This is especially pertinent when considering that most senior leadership level positions are either not advertised, filled by an internal referral or recommendation, or created on the spot when a company deems a person carries skills that would be an asset to have.

To make the best use of your time, do the following:

• Understand your passions, motivations, and interests, especially if you are looking for a career change

• Grow and maintain your personal brand by paying attention to how you want others to perceive you, how they currently view you, and what you want them to know about you

• Expand, maintain, and nurture relationships throughout your career and your life. Be genuine. Give more than you take

• Understand your value proposition. What do you have to offer to a company? What makes you unique and stand out from the competition? This is especially important for senior leadership roles as the path to more lucrative roles becomes increasingly narrower and competitive

• What is the value you are looking to gain at your next organization?  What kind of organizational culture would you prefer? What kind of work environment would you thrive in?

• Don’t approach your career with tunnel vision. Be open to new areas of work and take time to find out what drives you and get you out of bed in the morning

Word of warning: If you can’t shake the habit of having a resume do the talking, don’t resort to paying someone who has never met you to create a better one for you. Only you know yourself best.


Elena Agaragimova is Manager, Careers & Alumni, University of Manchester, Middle East Centre

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