33,000 Career Experts Can’t Be Wrong(?)

I got an email the other day making the claim that “33,000 recruiters can’t be wrong.” The email wanted me to buy whatever it was that the company was selling (OK, the email didn’t want that. Emails are inanimate objects and don’t actually want anything. But I digress.) The first thought that popped into my head was “just how many recruiters are there, anyway?” As it turns out, I have no idea. I lost interest in the Google results long before I was able to make a real go at finding out. What I did uncover was that according to one person’s research, in 2009, there were over 1,000,000 recruiters registered on Linkedin. To my thinking, if there are one million recruiters slinking about then there must be at least a bajillion so-called career experts out there hawking their wares. The internet and social media have made it increasingly easy for anyone with a domain name and a dream to become an “expert” in his or her respective field. And while there are a lot of really smart people out there giving career advice, there are a definitely some others who, well, let’s just say there are some others.

Throughout the days after I received it, I became increasingly obsessed with the title of that little semi-spammy email. Just because a lot of people think the same thing doesn’t make them right, right? If we always went with the majority viewpoint minorities still wouldn’t have the right to vote, the Earth would still be flat, and the Backstreet Boys would still be together. No, friends, just because lots of people agree on something doesn’t mean it’s right. Especially for your career. With that in mind, here are three pieces of advice that at least 33,000 career experts (please don't ask me to list them) agree on and that you can feel free to disregard.

  1. You’ll never get a job by traditional methods. This is utter fallacy, and the fact that so many out there are furthering this preposterous idea pains me. Physically. Like the splinter-under-your-fingernail kind of pain. Recruiters would love nothing more than to post a job and have a ton of qualified people apply. Do you know why? It means that they don’t have to spend as much time looking between the couch cushions for good candidates and can spend more time getting to know business needs, screening candidates, developing in-depth, job specific behavioral interview questions and generally adding more value to their organizations. So tomorrow, do a recruiter a favor. Apply online to a job that fits your qualifications.
  2. You need to stand out to get noticed in your job search. In my time as a recruiter and as a hiring manager I’ve gotten resumes on rainbow paper, thank-you card envelopes filled with glitter, a shoe, a magic 8-ball and more gimmicks than I can shake a stick at. Some of them were interesting; some of them were obnoxious (think glitter.) But none of them have gotten anyone a job. Know what gets you a job? The right qualifications, good presentation skills, and timing. Period. If you can articulate the right information in writing and in person, have a little bit of luck, and are actually one of the best qualified people for the job, you have a great chance of landing it.
  3. The resume is dead. Poppycock. Horse feathers. Nonsense. Every day someone new is trying to live out his or her get-rich-quick scheme by telling you that the resume is out-dated and instead you should make a video/social/virtual resume, a visual CV, an infographic, whatever. Well I have news, folks. The resume is alive and well, and won’t be replaced any time soon with any other product. That's right - you heard it here. That said, in certain cases it makes sense to supplement your resume with other materials – if you’re a marketing pro, you might want to put together a marketing pitch about hiring you. If you’re a video producer, go ahead and put together a sizzle reel. If you’re a designer, make something cool that speaks to your unique awesomeness. But if you’re not in a creative field and you don’t want to be the butt of a long-running joke between the recruiter and hiring manager, don’t get too cute. People in the recruitment process want resumes. Give the people what they want.

Disclaimer #1: Just because these statements don’t hold true for the vast majority of us doesn’t mean that they’re for everyone. If you think you’re in the minority and that these gems don't apply to you, drop me a line and I’ll tell you if I agree.

Disclaimer #2: I absolutely include myself in the “domain name and a dream” category. Keep this in mind when you’re deciding whether I’m full of it: I’m not a professional career expert or coach, so I don’t have a thing to sell you. I’m just a guy with a pretty good track record in HR, Recruitment and Management who likes to write. Nobody can decide what’s best for you, because in the end you’re the one who’s responsible for the decisions you make, the career you pursue, and the glitter with which you stuff the envelope.

Have you gotten bad career advice? Good advice? Advice that has you at a loss over whether it’s good or it sucks? Leave a comment below or email me at hr.dave1@gmail.com and we’ll see if we can get it sorted out.

Views: 359

Comment by Sandra McCartt on January 24, 2012 at 1:43pm

Well written, funny and very very true.  I agree on all points.  The internet is like a sewer of bad information with a few chuncs of wisdom floating around in it.  If people can't figure out the difference they end up looking as foolish as the gurus and career coaches who conned them.  Nothing beats a well written resume that reflects qualifications and a person who can act like an adult.


I got the same email or something very like like it  comes in about four times a day.  I have a perverse need to reply with the following:


"Wrong, 33,000 recruiters are wrong about 33,000 times a day.  Did you know that dogs have souls and do go to heaven?  Take me off your trashy mailing list and quit trying to sell your tripe.  I have added your name to the list i give peope of scam artists to avoid.  Have a good day.'

Comment by Jacob S. Madsen on January 25, 2012 at 12:48pm

David, good to see some perspective and down to earth attitude, with Sandra complimenting you, - well that is an accolade to cherish!!!.

That said ad 3. Resume in it's current format probably moving towards a more 'virtual entity' Lot's of talk here in the UK about whether Linkedin over time (and more when rather than if) will become the CV/Resume holder for all and spell the death of any other candidate database management system. It is 1. cooming to world dominance and single largest player 2. it is forever updated/current 3. it is available on all platforms.


Comment by David Gaspin on January 26, 2012 at 10:01am

Sandra and Jacob - Thanks for your comments!

Jacob, we're going to have to agree to disagree on the resume point. I've seen lots of players come and go in the effort to virtualize (or virtualise for you in the UK) the traditional CV, making little to no impact along the way. Linkedin is an obvious heavyweight in the field, but I wonder if they'd let themselves become strictly a resume database. In spite of the fact that they're becoming just that, it completely undermines all of their claims of being a social network. I wonder how far they'll allow themselves to stray from that model.

Thanks again.

Comment by Jacob S. Madsen on January 26, 2012 at 1:55pm


Re. your last comment on Linkedin and perhaps showing it's real colours: At social media conference in London today with 400 attendees, Linkedin gave a presentation telling that they were not a jobboard but a social media enterprise. They then proceeded to put up a slide giving all the conference attendees a $195 value voucher to make a job advertisement on Linkedin!!!!!!!!! 

Comment by Sandra McCartt on January 26, 2012 at 2:18pm

There are aspects of Linkedin that qualify as social media.  I am a member of a couple of groups that have nothing to do with recruiting.  They are closely moderated to eliminate promotions of any kind.  Members rarely even talk about what they do for living. Before anyone is accepted in the group it is ascertained that they have a connection to the purpose of the group.  Marketers of products related to the area of interest are allowed to post only in the promotions, jobs posted in the jobs section have to be related to the interest of the group or they are deleted. With groups like that it does become specific social media and not a job board.  However when i am working it is a job board but i do not accept Linkedin profiles as a resume, neither do my clients.


As to video resumes.  Let's just say that there is a place where 99% and 1% makes sense.  99% of the video resumes and/or presentations i have seen the 99% look like Lady Gaga in drag or Groucho Marx in a baseball cap.  And most are painful at best.


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