Q briefs (no, we're not talking underwear)
August 21, 2012 7:37 AM   Subscribe

What is your take on qualifications briefs? Are they really better / more useful than resumes? Has anyone used a qualifications brief and gotten job offers?

In an answer to a work / jobs question posted here some time ago (couldn't find it after multiple searches), someone suggested that the OP write up a qualifications brief.

Research online has uncovered information on either dated websites or on websites with little / vague primary content, which makes me wonder how much this format is used.

I've looked at the example briefs provided in the book Don't Use a Resume, and they all look tedious to read. They are rather similar to this one here, except that under each heading follows a PARAGRAPH of info, not sentences / phrases listed out, and keywords / key phrases are not always in bold or underlined, so they probably requiring a lot of "digging" on the reader's part.

1) Has anyone used a qualifications brief instead of a resume recently and with positive results (job offers)? One website in particular said a Q brief is very useful for people who want to transition into a new field -- has this been the case with you?
2) Headhunters / recruiters / HR people / people-with-power-to-hire: since you all are always short on time, wouldn't qualifications briefs be too tiresome for you?
3) Is this sort of style / document more favored in some fields / industries or even in some countries than others? I'm in the USA and never heard of this until I read aforementioned mefi post. Since it's apparently so rare to see one, I worry that were I to send one out to prospective companies and supervisors, they'd be turned off by the weird formatting and all the verbage.

Basically, I'd just like to know if it's advantageous / worth my time to write one.
posted by ditto75 to Work & Money (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Just as a data point: I didn't know what a qualifications brief was (and it sounded scary), so I took a look at your link. To me, that's just a CV - it's the format I've used to get jobs in Australia, NZ, the UK and the Netherlands. The original version was created for me by a pro CV writer in NZ, and I've updated and expanded on it since then but always kept that same style.

(Disclaimer: I don't pretend to be an expert on this sort of thing, and I know nothing about job-hunting in the US.)
posted by rubbish bin night at 7:49 AM on August 21, 2012

I'm in the US and have never heard the term either. Resumes are used in some fields, CVs in others. ( CVs are expected in the academic world, I don't know which others.) It would be helpful to know what kinds of jobs you're looking at.
posted by mareli at 8:11 AM on August 21, 2012

Response by poster: mareli, I would like to transition into international business, or perhaps a medically-related field. Academia is definitely out as I don't have an advanced degree.
posted by ditto75 at 8:22 AM on August 21, 2012

Like rubbish bin night I'd never heard of a qualifications brief, and that is pretty much exactly what my resume looks like. I was hired with it five years ago, if that's any indication. I'm in Canada, and it's a graphic design position with a big non-profit. I have 15 + years relevant professional experience in my field (non-profit communications).

After a certain point in your job life, your jobs get more complicated and you have more to say. In terms of transitioning, you use the bullet points--those blocks of text aren't paragraphs, they're broken down into bulleted points--to illustrate how and why your work as a tugboat captain is relevant to the prospective job as a grocery store manager, in a way that just writing down your job title might not convey.
posted by looli at 9:13 AM on August 21, 2012

Yep, that is what my resume pretty much looks like. Skills at the top and then a list of my jobs/titles with projects and accomplishments specific to each job then my education.

I don't have a summary because after years of looking at resumes I tend to just skip summaries because 99% of them are stupid. I assume a lot of other recruiters and HR people are the same.

I just started a new job about a month ago that I used that resume to get.
posted by magnetsphere at 11:21 AM on August 21, 2012

That is a resume. Not sure why they think it's different, but it's not. It's a resume.

The summary paragraph - meh. I read them for my shortlist candidates. Our recruiter does the heavy cull of the resume tsunami. The recruiter is looking for things which I've requested. Those items should not be buried in the summary. For instance, I might say: 10 years management experience, P&L responsibility for project over $5M, should have supervised a staff of at least 12 direct reports, etc. The recruiter is going to give me a list of people who have all or nearly all of the wishlist (or tell me why we can't find that).

You want to make it really easy for the person (or computer) doing the initial sort to categorize your skills to get you on the list of resumes the hiring manager sees.

BTW, the summary on the resume you linked would put me off that candidate. I'm looking for team players and managers who develop teams. He is Mr. I-ME.
posted by 26.2 at 4:19 PM on August 21, 2012

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