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You're an experienced executive who's now in the job market. You see a job posting that's a perfect fit for you. What do you do? Most would answer, "I send the company a copy of my resume with a cover letter expressing my interest and wait to hear back." And after weeks of hearing nothing, what do you then likely conclude? The answers might be some combination of:

  • They already have a candidate identified and the job was posted as a "legal formality."

  • I must be too old, experienced, or expensive, or the wrong gender, or color, or maybe I'm too tall, or heavy. And, if this keeps happening to you, you start believing it's most of the above, except maybe for your height.

As a recruiter over the past few decades, and as the former Managing Director of one of the nation's leading career advisory companies, my opinions are based on hundreds of such conversations/reviews. And those opinions are most often that your "personal marketing collateral" i.e., Resume, LinkedIn Profile, and Cover Letter SUCK. And by SUCK, I mean that one or more of the following five factors might be true. Your collateral is:

  1. Dated and looks like you initially created them in the 1980s. News Flash--the world has changed in the past 30 or 40 years. So too should your "approach-to-market" i.e. your collateral!

  2. Not "keyword optimized," and therefore, you're not being rejected as a job candidate, but more likely, you're not being found by the ATS (Applicant Tracking System) in the first place.

  3. Generic, and by that, I mean you're using virtually the same written documents irrespective of the company/role you're seeking. If it's not important enough for you to show some effort when applying, why should anyone bother spending time meeting/interviewing you?

  4. Most frequently, your collateral is "activity focused" (what you did on the job,) rather than "results-focused" (what you accomplished, with metrics to prove your claims.)

  5. Last, but not least, your collateral has typos or other obvious grammatical errors. If it's not important enough to have a competent/knowledgeable person (or AI) proofread your documents prior to you sending them, then why should I expect better diligence/performance if I hired you?

Job search is a "Marketing and Sales Process!"  If you don't initially and compellingly MARKET yourself to stand out from your competition, you're unlikely to get invited to SELL yourself during an interview. 

What's a job seeker to do? I suggest that you have a professional review of your collateral prior to emailing it in response to a job posting. And if you're looking for such a person/review, free-no-less, I'm here to help. Email your resume to and we'll schedule a "constructively candid" review.

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