Not Everybody Wants Your Resume

Begging isn’t my normal style, but I’m dropping to my knees today with a simple plea. For the love of your professional image, please don’t treat your resume like candy at a parade and toss it at crowds. Don’t go to networking events with a portfolio in hand and 50 copies of the latest version of your life’s history. Peppering connections at an event with your resume makes as much sense as tucking a copy of your resume under the windshield wipers of attendees’ cars in the parking lot. Resumes aren’t supposed to go to the masses. They are supposed to be tailored to the reader and opportunity.

When a job seeker shoves a resume at a business contact who hasn’t asked for one, and probably doesn’t feel the need to have one, it changes the dynamic of the relationship. Exchanging business cards has a peer-to-peer feel. The resume creates a distance in power. The playing field seems less even. Networking relationships are much more likely to be two-way if they have a peer-to-peer feel. Never mind the last thing most want to do at an event is mingle with a stack of papers to hold onto. I’m embarrassed to admit resumes that get handed to me at events have the potential of turning into a makeshift plate for cheese cubes as time passes.

Resumes should only be handed out in situations when a viable option is on the table and a decision maker needs it to determine if you meet the initial criteria to be considered. It should be delivered at a time and in a format that is convenient for the recipient. Job seekers may very well uncover solid leads for opportunities while at professional or social events, but they need not be prepared to whip a resume out on the spot. Exchanging contact information and committing to a plan for follow-up suffices.




  • Tiffenator says:

    Excellent advice Lisa :)

    I was telling a colleague the other day that I very rarely give my resume out. When I do, it’s either for advice on what can be tweaked, somebody that wants me on their team or I’m responding to a job posting.

    I know times are hard and people get desperate for a job, however when somebody pushes their resume like a drug pusher, that desperation resonates and typically can scare off professionals. On the other hand, if that same job seeker were to focus on building relationships and learning more about the companies they are interested in from inside people, they will have more of a chance to tap into the hidden job market.

    When I hear job seekers say they will do “anything” and they just need a “job,” I cringe a bit. I’ve been there, said that, landed “a job,” and took the very next thing that came along. With all of the bad press that is out there on the unemployed people, it’s no wonder people will take “anything” that comes along. Everyone has heard the phrase, “it’s easier to find a job when you already have one.” True… but what if you don’t have a job but you are an amazing volunteer with oodles of talents? If you are a volunteer at a non-profit, you are still being productive AND networking :)

    Networking is extremely vital and imperative for the job seekers, but the professional contacts you meet don’t necessarily want your resume emailed to them 50 million times either – unless they are really into aggressiveness like sales. In those cases, being aggressive might be advantageous…

  • Cindy Kraft says:

    Morning Lisa,

    I’m catching up on your posts … and they are all excellent. Whoever would have guessed your degree? Glad, as are many others, you found your true calling!

    This is sage advice on indiscriminately handing out resumes. Sadly, job seekers have forever changed the face of networking because they either forgot, or don’t know, the true meaning of the word. Or, they are driven by desperation. However, once you damage a networking relationship, that door may very well be dead-bolted forever.

    Cindy Kraft,
    the CFO-Coach

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