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Candidates far and wide, be forewarned. If your resume is lacking, there will be less than desirable consequences in your job search.

Last week my colleague, Nancy Swain, wrote about Jack and his frustrating job search. Jack’s biggest problem, along with apparently getting some terrible transition coaching, was using a resume that failed to crystalize his value proposition. He mistakenly thought the resume was nothing more than a chronological listing of prior employment.

iStock_000018184375XSmallHe was wrong. It must be so much more, and on Friday in her blog post, Stop ‘Jackin’ Around, Nancy highlighted steps for Jack to follow to develop a deep understanding of his personal value proposition and, with that, the core of a new resume with a core message that will open doors.

This weekend I am working on a senior executive search. Through my networking, we produced 10 to 12 outstanding candidates. Then we posted the position specifications on a professional site and LinkedIn. Quickly, dozens upon dozens of additional resumes started pouring in. The search just got a lot more competitive.

Unfortunately for the majority of these candidates, they will not advance. Why? Did they fail to meet the minimum job criteria for education, credentials or years of experience? No, that much I could tell from looking at their resumes. What they failed to do was to provide relevant information, a reason for me to invest the time to schedule a screening call. Their resumes talked about their experience but failed to demonstrate their value, and how their experience would benefit my client. So later today they will receive the traditional “regrets” email.

They did not understand that the resume is the first interview, a fact of life in recruiting that I have been talking about for more than 20 years. And in that first “interview” they did not say much that was compelling.

When there are a lot of candidates for a job, it is impossible for a recruiter to call everyone who submits a bad resume. We focus on those candidates who understand the process and who submit a resume that clearly defines their experience, AND their accomplishments supported by quantifiable examples of their success, AND how their experience relates to the needs of the client.

There are indeed consequences to continuing to use a bad resume.