Friday, November 30, 2007

The Perfect Coroprate Pedigree

Dog In TieMy girlfriend was reading a book called The World's Greatest Resumes by Robert WM. Meier. In it he talks a lot about having the perfect corporate pedigree and how his book can help those that don't have a perfect corporate pedigree. It tells you how to emphasize certain aspects of your resume, and how to work your way around some of your weaknesses. Overall, I think she would recommend the book, as her resume looks pretty good now.

I write about this because when I asked about the book, she told me I didn't need it, because I have the perfect corporate pedigree. I laughed when she said this, except she was serious. I've never really thought of myself this way despite the fact that I've always seem to be able to find a job, and a good job, when I want one. So just what does make a perfect corporate pedigree? While not coming out and explicitly saying it, Meier seems to suggest that a great pedigree involves

  • Having an Ivy League Degree

  • Working for a big Fortune 500 Company

  • Having a continuous work history that shows good career progression

I fit the bill because I graduated from Princeton University, I have worked for two Fortune 500 Companies, Accenture and Microsoft, and I have no large gaps in my resume. I believe I took a small step backwards with my move to Microsoft, but I can easily explain the move and to outsiders it looks like a smart career move. So having these "qualifications" supposedly makes me more desirable to potential employers. Is it true?

Hard to say. I would say there is no doubt that many doors have been opened to me because the Princeton and Microsoft name carry some clout. I have a pretty high success rate of responses to people who I sent my resume to. I would say that of all the resumes I sent out in my latest job search, I had about a 40% response rate. This is a phenomenal number. But I want to stress this. I think this allowed me to get a call back, I don't think it helped me all that much to actually get the job. But considering the fact that getting the call back might be the hardest part, then this may indeed be a key success factor.

HR and hiring managers might look through hundreds of resumes to fill an important position. Lots of times, they will only scan your resume and look at your eduction, job history, and previous titles. It is important to have something on your resume that will let you stand out from the crowd in this case, and having the above criteria certainly won't hurt you.

The point of me writing this post is that you need to understand what many employers are looking for in order to prepare for it accordingly. If you have the above pedigree, great, you are set. Just make sure your resume looks decent and that you use the advantage that you have wisely. If you don't, you need to be sure that you are showing off your qualifications in some other way to stand out. Further, if you have the opportunity to enhance your resume in some way, like going to get your MBA at a top-tier school, or to go work for a Fortune 500 company, you need to seriously consider it.

That's my admittedly bias perspective. What do you think? How important is having a good "corporate pedigree"?


  1. 40% response rate is an enviable stat. On average, how long did it take you to get a new job?

  2. Well, it really depends what you mean by that. This is the first time I did a job search without having a current job. It took me about 1.5 months to find a job when I started my job search this time.

    Previously, I had a job, and only looked for jobs on a part time basis. So I was "looking" for months, but that was really only half-hearted

  3. [...] so one of the keys to having a great corporate pedigree is to have attended and Ivy League School (And by Ivy League I do mean any of the top-tier national [...]

  4. You can still get good corporate pedigree with post college education. I'm sure many people like me have considered going back for their MBAs or Masters. The only thing holding me back is not being able to assess if it's worth it?

  5. Don't overlook certificate programs with recognized certifications like CPA. They usually involve less time than a Masters. All depends on what you want to do.

  6. [...] must have worked because I got the job.  I’m sure it had nothing to do with my qualifications, it all had to do with my great green shirt.    But it got me thinking about things I do when in [...]