How Important is Your Resume?

Every once in a while, career experts get ourselves all wrapped up in the raging controversy: How important is your resume? The question – is it key to your search, or, with linkedin and other online tools, is it as outdated as a rotary phone?

In the past, marketing guru Seth Godin’s post suggesting that if you are exceptional, you don’t need a resume, got everyone buzzing, and there is new buzz on the Career Hub site, with my colleague Deb Dib’s post on the subject.

I recently quoted executive recruiter Thad Greer, author of The Executive Rules, as saying that the resume is“probably the most important professional document you’ll have in your entire life.”

So, which is it? How important are resumes for job seekers?

If all job seekers fully engaged in the type of networking that enhances their ability to use the “pull, not push” job search methodology, it is true that the resume would become less important as a first-line contact point.

I advise my clients to participate in Web 2.0 strategies to “pull” interest from potential employers. LinkedIn has become the absolute “must have” online presence and Twitter is a terrific way to share information, network and yes, promote your “brand.” Facebook, when managed well, has a lot to offer as a third-line strategy.

For strong writers, I suggest (1) authoring a blog and/or (2) leaving smart comments on blogs related to your industry. These are terrific ways to showcase your knowledge and expertise.

Then, of course, there are all of the in-person networking strategies professionals should use to enhance their profiles in their fields.

So, if you are good enough at using these strategies (or, as Seth Godin has said – if you are exceptional), you may be invited to apply for or interview for a job before you’ve provided a resume. However, as noted above, most organizations will request a resume at some point in the process. The likelihood is that it will be at the same time they ask for you to apply. (As in – “We are very interested in learning more about how you can contribute to our organization. Please forward your resume to….”) As noted above, recruiters clearly need to see a resume.

Does all of this mean that the resume is less important? Ultimately, I don’t think so. While it may not always serve as the employer’s first impression, it is still key to support the positive view a job seeker needs to promote. The fact is, most people will still rely quite a bit on the resume if they want to get the call for an interview.

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photo by zen


3 Responses to “How Important is Your Resume?”

  1. 1 Paige October 15, 2008 at 10:07 am

    I agree, Miriam. A resume is one of the most important professional documents you can have. If you don’t have one…create one today! I just finished telling some of my co-workers how important it is to keep your resume current, even if you aren’t searching for a new position.
    I also recommend keeping a file with your accomplishments, new associations, publications, etc. to make sure you don’t forget about any great things you have done. I keep mine up to date for my yearly review at work, but it really works!
    I also agree that it is important to be up to date on the latest networking sites, such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. I think every professional needs a LinkedIn profile.

    Great post!


  2. 2 Miriam Salpeter October 15, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    Paige – You’re right, it is important to have a resume handy no matter your job status. Constant updating is ideal. I can’t tell you how many clients I have who can’t remember specifics and can not access information that would bolster their resumes.

    You never know when you might come upon an opportunity, and you don’t want to have to stop everything to create a resume at the last minute. Especially in these uncertain economic times, having a resume ready to go at the drop of a hat is key!

    As always, thanks for your thoughts!

  3. 3 Rita Ashley October 15, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    A resume, used properly, is a powerful marketing asset and just as important as any other job search tool. I am a Job Search Coach for executives and tech leaders. I teach them how to maximize the resume to get and keep the attention of the reader by including the reader’s priorities. Not every one of us is Seth Godin’s “execptional,” but we still have strong credentials and do a great job. The resume shows the employer you understand their needs and how your experience spefically maps to those needs, when done right.
    The Job Coach

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