Your Resume Never Dies

You thought all those resumes you sent out via the Internet ended up in the circular file, a.k.a. the waste bin, when you never heard from the hiring companies, right? Wrong. Your resume represents gold to a recruiter, even if they can never hire you for positions they typically have. Here’s why in a word: networks. Today’s in-house company and agency recruiters usually belong to recruiting networks where they can swap resumes and reap a percentage of the placement fees for you if you land a job through another recruiter. It may sound great on the surface because your resume gets even more exposure, but now you have lost control of your resume.

Think back to all of the places you have posted your resume. Online job search engines, job lists, company websites. Even if there is a kill switch where you can take your resume down from a site, many recruiters have already sourced your resume and have it in their databases, maybe even have swapped it with another recruiter in their network. It is still out there floating around in cyberspace. You should control where your resume goes. Recruiters are notorious for submitting your resume for a job without telling you. Again, this sounds great until you realize what this can do to your career. You could be out of that newly, hard won job if your boss finds out you are a candidate for another job, EVEN if you never applied for it in the first place. You could also be submitted without your knowledge for a position at a company where you were fired or downsized. How embarrassing.

Recruiters are also notorious for constantly calling people from their resume databases for leads on job candidates. If you are in a specialized field and very good at what you do, this means you are going to be getting bombarded with “Who do you know” and “Give me an update on your resume” calls. I only worked in the recruiting field on the agency side for a few years, and I finally had to change my telephone number because I was still getting so many recruiter phone calls after leaving recruiting. I had posted my resume everywhere trying to get that first recruiting job, and I paid for it with having to do extreme damage control by changing my number.

Don’t let that happen to you. Not updating any resumes out there already may sound like good damage control tactics, and it may work to a certain extent. However, you still may get calls asking for updates on your resume or gauging your interest in a new job. This seems great, especially for someone who has been job hunting for a long time, but do you really want to be fielding these phone calls at your new job or during the middle of dinner? Because you will be getting calls at both places. The best you can do in this situation is to ask the recruiter to remove your resume from the database or at least mark your resume inactive.

Take control of your resume in the future by thinking about where you will send it next. Cultivate relationships with recruiters in your field who will respect your wishes on when and where to submit your resume, and make yourself so valuable that those recruiters will never give away your resume. Do this by touching base with the recruiters on a regular basis, referring good candidates for positions and updating your resume with them. Even small updates such as you’ve now joined the Society of Women Engineers are important. Not every job search word phrase is a skill. Recruiters often search for associations, awards, training programs and hobbies as well. Negotiate when you will take phone calls from recruiters. This will make your work life balance much more tolerable.

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