The Reality Of Your Resume Process

What does your resume process look like? Should you even create one? Let's talk about it.

Today’s blog is going to address the truth about resumes; but, more specifically the question, “Do I even need a resume?”  The answer is: It depends on the level of candidate you are.  If you are a highly proficient senior-level attorney or banker, then you may not need a resume to procure a new position. However, if you are a junior individual banker or attorney, you will most definitely need a resume.  Let’s keep exploring the resume process.

Your Expectations In The Resume Process:

They’re Reviewing Your Resume…Right?

When you are looking for a new position, the first thing most people do is write a resume. If they have an old one, they dust it off, add their last position, and start to send it out to everyone they know in the industry.  Where do you think that resume goes when you send it unsolicited right to HR?  What is the resume process at this stage? The Human Relations Department at all these firms, whether a law firm or an investment banking firm, loves getting resumes.  It makes their job much easier – at least you would think so.  You can imagine your resume being thoroughly perused by an HR representative.  They are excited to receive your unsolicited resume that they immediately run to the hiring manager to tell them they have a gem of a candidate to interview.  Well, my friends, that is not what happens at all.  If they spend more than fifteen seconds reviewing your resume, that is a lot.  HR gets your resume, looks at it briefly, and then files it away for another day; or they send you a response thanking you for your resume but there are no current openings that match your requirements.  I am not even sure they do that anymore post-covid based on conversations I have had with recent college graduates looking for new positions.

Functional Resume 101

HR wants to screen you out rather than put you in their system. So, what are you to do at this point of the resume process?  First of all, you need to make your resume no longer than one page.  Also, the pretty pictures. Although you may enjoy them, the cool fonts, etc., they are not going to stand out like you want them – at least not in our industry.  Statements of qualifications and job objectives are looked at, but if you sound like everyone else you are going to be treated like everyone else.  Here is what you need to do: differentiate yourself at the top of your resume.  Once again, I favor the functional resume (which I have addressed in previous blogs) versus the chronological one, which is the standard in the industry.  A functional resume allows you to fully demonstrate the areas of your expertise rather than the firms you have been attached to over your career.  If you are a junior attorney or banker, then the resume is important for your next career transitions.  It will help a recruiter move you forward, and it will help a hiring manager get a better handle on who you are and, more importantly, what you can do to help their firm move forward in the hiring process for you.

Your Only Goal In Crafting Your Resume:

Final Stages In Your Resume Process

What’s the resume process if you’re well-known in the industry? For the experienced manager, a functional resume is not even needed.  If you are well-known in your industry, well-placed phone calls to the hiring managers or to a recruiter will avoid the need for a resume.  Most firms for highly skilled individuals do not require a resume for that first interview, but they require some sort of executive summary of what you can do for that new firm.  Business plans after the first interview are being requested a great deal more.  Most of the time a resume, if even required, is not until an offer is tendered for HR to have one in their files while they do a background check.  If a resume is required at this stage, a chronological resume would be preferred; however, if you are looking for a new position and you want to grab attention, I recommend going to the functional resume.  Sharing the sizzle, not the steak.  Put yourself in the seat of a hiring manager. Would you be excited to get this resume in front of you?  Sometimes just your name is enough if you are a well-known individual in the field. If you are not, you need to excite the hiring manager (not Human Relations) to act.  That is your only goal in crafting your resume throughout the resume process.


If you would like to discuss your options, please reach out for a confidential conversation at 760-477-1284 or email at [email protected]. He can also be reached on LinkedIn. Harlan publishes a blog every Thursday here. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here, which is a compilation of our weekly blogs, so you never miss one. You can find our listing in the “supplier and services” section of the Red Book under the title of “executive recruiting.”

About Harlan Friedman, JD & Founding Member, H. Friedman Search LLC. Harlan is a thirty-year veteran Public Finance Banker turned recruiter who specializes in the placement of all levels Public Finance Bankers, Healthcare Bankers, Municipal Advisors, Compliance Officers, Issuers, and Bond Counsels.