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When I sit down to write an article, I usually try to come up with some reference to classical antiquity or perhaps Enlightenment-era philosophy. I like to think that the progenitors of our society have something relevant to say that will shed light even in our relatively ''dumbed-down,'' pop-centric, go-go culture. But when I sat down to write this article on reapproaching the professional resume, I felt that the sedate, reasoned approach to life exemplified by our intellectual forebears just did not catch the spirit of the modern job search. Not at all.
I am not the first to notice that the interview process is analogous to a dating relationship. Moreover, in this age of increasingly short law-firm tenures, the law firm-attorney dance can resemble a singles' bar scene. If this is the case, then recourse to the timeless Justice Holmes is in order. Recall his admonition: "the timid may stay at home."
You do not want to stay at home—you want to fulfill your professional goals and get into a platform that creates the synergies you need. You have to get your name noticed, and for any given person, you do not have two chances to do it. Just one.
At BCG, we pride ourselves on creating extremely detailed and evocative cover letters. We do our best to answer in a cover letter all the questions a hiring partner would want answered before extending an offer. A fantastic cover letter will open doors and get you past multiple gatekeepers, but a resume must still deliver. At some point, a decision maker is going to pore over that resume and hope that the skills and experience he or she has been looking for will finally appear. And this person will not want to guess and surmise—he or she will want answers. I hasten to add that your resume has approximately 11.3 seconds to communicate those answers. This is why your resume very likely needs "a little less conversation, a little more action."