[February 2, 2021] Why do you need a résumé? In today’s job market, it has become overwhelmingly the way to impress a potential employer. We are told that without a résumé, you are at a disadvantage. However, as a senior military officer, while still serving and after I left, I tell folks that I am not looking for a résumé; I’m looking for character.
That’s right. I find that résumés are overrated, rarely informative, and often full of intended and unintended distortions. I can understand an employer, who has to sort through hundreds of possible job applicants, using a résumé as a way to sort out unqualified candidates. This is pure laziness. Interestingly, in hiring many people for jobs, sometimes an unqualified person is the better choice.
People should keep this in their mind; sometimes, an unqualified individual might just get the job. If that is true, we can ask the question, “What is it that matters more than a résumé?”
Character matters. Simple! I want someone I can trust, someone with the moral sense on top of the drive to get the job done.
In taking over military units, I quickly discover those that are trustworthy and those that are not. Many of the untrustworthy soldiers were also highly skilled, highly intelligent, and highly motivated. But when the crap hits the fan, and you need them, they are not available or want something in return for their work. This smacks of narcissism, and I’m not too fond of it.
Senior military and civilian leaders think alike on this issue. We would much rather spend more time training and mentoring less capable but trustworthy employees with moral character than watching our backs for the more qualified employee.
I once had working for me, one of the smartest Air Force Lieutenants I’d ever met. He was a Stanford University graduate in nuclear physics and on the U.S. Air Force fast track for promotion. After his tour of combat duty, he was being sent to MIT for a Ph.D. in physics. I gave him several jobs that required his level of intelligence and position. Yet, he failed me each time. The reason was that he thought his priorities were more important than that of the mission.
Keep this in mind when applying for a job; tell the truth. Show that you can be trusted. Show that you will do everything you can to complete any task assigned without complaint, within legal and moral guidelines, and to the best of your ability. Never make excuses. It works. You will be hired and, if not, good, because you don’t want to be there.