by Scot Herrick In the comments on my article "Resumes need accomplishments. What's an accomplishment?" someone noted that, "People with actual technical skills should be interviewed by other people with actual technical skills." Don't Put the Cart Before the Horse With Your ResumeYes, they should. Another noted that, "This thing with accomplishments is a fad that will pass when hiring managers begin to realize half their brilliant new hires are spending more time quantifying their accomplishments than they spend making their accomplishments." Which shows management doesn't necessarily hire well and, in the hiring, somehow assumes the hiring manager would know of your accomplishments without them being on the resume. Both of these statements, however, make some sort of assumption that the resume is what gets you the job. If your actual accomplishments are on the resume, a manager and/or technical person will automatically hire you without a technical interview and later, half the time, regret it.

The Basics Need Reviewing

The fundamental process for hiring someone from a different company, as opposed to internally, is this:
  1. The resume is a good enough match to the job description to get you a phone interview
  2. The phone interview confirms enough to get you face-to-face interview(s)
  3. The conclusion of the face-to-face interview(s) gets you a job offer
Without a job offer, you do not have a successful job search. Of course, this is blindingly obvious. Surprisingly, though, my conversations with people regarding resumes is they think they either don't matter because it's the interview that counts (technical people should interview technical people) or that the resume is enough to get you the job offer (hiring managers begin to realize half their brilliant new hires are...).

The Purpose of the Resume is to Get the Interview

The only, sole purpose of the resume is to get you the interview. It's as simple and as difficult as that. The resume moves you forward in that first crucial step in the job search process.

The Three 'Yes' Answers You Need to Get Hired

You can look at each step in the hiring process a different way: Can you do the job, are you motivated to do the work and will you fit in with the manager and team? Each person who gets a "yes" at each step of the search process will move forward until there's one or more people the hiring manager believes is best for the job. Your resume needs to show you can do the job. If you don't have your technical job skills on the resume, you'll never be in a position to have a technical interview: You did not show you possessed the technical skills to do the job. As well, your resume needs to show that you have done the work in the past, just as it shows motivation to do the work. Accomplishments show that you can do the job and are motivated by what you did. And your resume needs to show that you can work in a variety of team settings, though this is its least important part. Face-to-face communication is much more important to find out this aspect of getting the job offer.

Focus in Each Part of the Process

Do your job skills match up with the job description? Or, do you need to put in another project that directly addresses part of the job description? This is why people tell you to match up the job skills with the resume. The more skills you match, the more likely you won't get rejected by those nasty resume readers as not being qualified for the work when you know you are qualified. Once your resume gets you the interview, you need to focus on your interview skills. And once you get the job offer, you need to focus on your negotiating skills. The resume, though, just gets you past the initial gate to the first prize: the interview.
Scot Herrick is the author of I've Landed My Dream Job -Now What? and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. provides online career management training for workers who typically work in a corporate cubicle. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations.