Many candidates are not told this, but how they distribute their resume can contribute greatly to the response they receive from prospective employers. To demonstrate this I will use the analogy of a garden to show your resume's relationship to the job market.
In this example you should consider each copy of your resume as a seed with the potential to grow your ideal job. The soil is represented by the places where your resumes end up, such as companies, organizations, job boards, and applicant tracking systems (ATS
). The sun's equivalent will be the human eyes that will actually see your resume and determine how far it will go through the cycle. And lastly, the job market itself will play the role of the weather conditions that can either facilitate or threaten your resume's chances of fulfilling its potential.
Now, if you've ever tried to start a garden, you know that it is not an easy task. There are so many things to consider before you even start that the thought alone keeps most of us from ever taking on the task willingly. It's not as simple as deciding that you want some pumpkins or tomatoes and then throwing some seeds in a field (job board) and sitting back and waiting for the harvest (plenty of jobs to choose from). You have to think about the type of soil available and whether or not it can sustain the plant. You also have to consider the amount of sunlight and water that the plants will need to receive. Lastly, you must understand the plant's growth cycle so that you know when to plant them and when you can suspect a harvest. And all that's before you even consider dropping the first seed (resume).
Once you determine that you can manage the conditions necessary for growing a sustainable crop, you have to go about preparing the land itself. This takes a lot of work as well. You have to make sure that there is proper spacing between the vegetation so that each crop can get its fair share of nutrients. It's also necessary to separate certain plants from each other because they stifle each other's growth. In other words, you cannot rely on having your resume mixed in with a bunch of other resumes and you can't overload a company with a truckload of resumes hoping one will slip through. Think of how that will reflect upon your personal brand.
It is not until after you have taken these considerations and made the necessary preparations that you are ready to plant the seeds. When planting the seeds you must make sure to plant them deep enough in the soil so that they can take root and not get flooded out by rains or picked up by birds or other creatures. i.e. Try to get a referral or work with a recruiter (professional gardener) to increase your chances of resume survival. Once all of this is done you have made it to the hardest part of planting a garden--waiting.
Perhaps your ultimate goal with this garden was to be able to make your own salad. That's the image you have in your mind and it is what motivated you to do all of the work in the first place. Now that you've planted your seeds, you may find yourself getting a little anxious. That's because after all of the work that you've done you've finally come to the part that you have absolutely no control over. Depending on the plant's growth cycle and other conditions, you can spend several weeks maintaining the surrounding area to keep it free from, weeds, rodents, and bad weather and never see a single sign that anything is happening under all that dirt. All you can rely on is the fact that you did everything that you were supposed to do. Such is the case with your resume.
The main point that you should take away from this is to value your resume if that's what you expect others to do. Consider hiring a professional to review your resume to make sure that the seeds you are planting are good. And once you've done that, do what you can to give them the conditions they need to make it to harvest time. That's the way to plant a resume garden.