Career Tips

Not Everybody Wants Your Resume

By Lisa Parker

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.


Lisa joined the Michigan State University Alumni Association as Director of Alumni Career & Business Services on May 1, 2012. Her primary focus is to develop effective networking and resource channels for experienced alumni interested in professional development and job search strategy assistance. Additionally, Lisa works directly with corporate, education, foundation and government partners seeking to attract qualified talent, retain and develop good employees, and establish collaborative relationships in line with their established goals and objectives.

With 15+ years’ experience in third party recruiting, Lisa offers a balanced understanding of both employee and employer perspectives.

Lisa is a firm advocate of the networking process and considers it a vital element in a successful job search. In addition to helping job seekers develop and best utilize networking contacts, Lisa shares her knowledge and insight-gained aiding corporate recruiting efforts-to give Spartan job seekers an edge in terms of lead sourcing, resume presentation and interview strategy.

Among Lisa’s notable accomplishments: Prima Civitas Foundation Scholar; Michigan Works Association Volunteer of the Year; Pink Slip Mid Michigan Planning Committee; career content blogger.


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