Resumes the Way of the Dinosaur? Not in this Century!

DinosaurI recently read a blog post that suggested resumes may soon be a relic of the past. In the Forbes post, 2013: The Year of Social HR, the author points to trends indicating your Internet presence will be more important than your resume. The article states that “before you’re interviewed by a potential employer, expect the recruiting manager or hiring manager to check out one or more of the following sources about you: 1) the top ten searches on your name on either Google or Bing, 2) the number of Twitter followers you have and last time you tweeted, 3) the size and quality of your LinkedIn community, 4) the number and quality of recommendations you have on LinkedIn and 5) your Klout score.”

This begs the question of how you received the interest of the potential employer in the first place. Might it have been a resume? I certainly agree that a LinkedIn profile and online Web Portfolio can complement the traditional resume, but you’ll still need to tell a compelling story about your experience and expertise in the content of those online tools, especially at the executive and upper professional levels. How many executives are spending hours on social media, generating a following through entertaining tweets. And if they are, would your really want them running your operations?

I can see a strong social media presence being important for someone in marketing or advertising, but don’t you want your executives to be spending their time contributing to bottom line growth, running the company or their division? Even if you’re fresh out of college and just starting your career, do you really believe a 140 character tweet will get you in front of a hiring manager? And whether social media will completely replace traditional marketing as far as yielding ROI is not even up for debate at this point, it doesn’t and probably never will. Social media is just another arrow in the quiver of marketing managers.

Remember in the mid to late 90’s when there were dire predictions of Apple’s demise? The last time I checked, it remains an industry leading, technology powerhouse and has not gone the way of the dinosaurs. So too will resumes, in some form or another (LinkedIn, Web Portfolio’s, Online Resumes), always be with us. There’s no better way to share you skills and expertise.


Should You Include “Other Interests” On Your Resume?

ResumeAre your other interests interesting? Obviously they are to you, but how will the recipient of your résumé perceive them?

In a recent blog post, Employers Hire Potential Drinking Buddies Ahead Of Top Candidates, the author cites the results of an academic study by Lauren Rivera, an assistant professor at Northwestern University’s  Kellogg School of Management. Rivera found that people hired candidates who they liked and to whom they could relate rather than the most qualified person. Shocking? No. But Rivera’s accompanying anecdotes are very instructive.

She found that résumé reviewers looked at the “Other Interests” section of the résumé and would frequently make interviewing decisions based on the contents. In one instance, rejecting a candidate out of hand because the applicant enjoyed lacrosse, squash and crew and therefore would not fit in with the rough and tumble culture of the law firm to which he was applying.

However, at another company, the resume reviewer played squash and said she loved anyone else who did as well and would therefore be partial to that person.  The author of the article concluded you should include a section for “Other” or “Interests” on your résumé because “Your passion for squash or for running marathons might wind up getting you the job.” Or it might get you eliminated before you even have a chance to interview.

In my experience, the real estate on a résumé is precious and should be filled with your skills, accomplishments and relevant career history. Logistically, there often isn’t room for an “Other” or “Interests” section. But, more importantly, why take the chance of having an interest that will take you out of the running before you even reach the starting line. Save the other interests information for the interview where you can establish a rapport and see how well your pursuits and personal pastimes are playing.

I do have one caveat, if the corporate culture is a significant part of the company’s brand, i.e. The North Face, and your own personal passions and pursuits align with their extreme outdoor activity culture, then by all means add it to your résumé.



What Killed Your Job Search Canary

What Klled Your Job Search CanaryIn the early days of mining workers would carry a canary into a mine shaft to check out the air quality. If dangerous  gases such as methane or carbon monoxide were present, the canary would die signaling the miners that they would be next if they didn’t leave the tunnel.

In today’s job market, if you’re sending out a resume that doesn’t fly, in other words a resume that’s not getting you calls or interviews,  you should take a lesson from the miners, come up for air and figure out how to improve your resume. More often than not, a bad resume will kill your job search.

The following are some tips to preen  your resume to perfection as you mine for your next opportunity. First the obvious, no spelling mistakes, no lies and no liabilities. The first two don’t require additional explanation, but as far a liabilities, job hunters from seasoned executives to first-timers, often err on the side of over-inclusion.

Remember, a resume is your marketing tool, there’s no need to include negative information. You want the document to be the best representation of your background, not your life story. If there’s a liability that you have to overcome, save that for the interview and be prepared to address it then (it’s a good idea to get some coaching on the best way to field awkward situations that might have happened in your past).

That covers what not to do. What you should include in your resume is a powerful marketing statement at the top, something that really sells what you can deliver. The resume also must highlight your success stories, especially if you’re an experienced executive. Quantifiable anecdotes about your achievements grab a reader’s attention and in the right hands (an expert resume writer), they tell a compelling story about who you are as a strategist, innovator and leader. They make decision-makers want to pick up the phone and call you and they’re what make a resume fly.

Obviously, you’ll want to have your professional history included in the resume with your company, title, date and responsibilities in reverse chronological order, with the most recent position first. And of course, your education if applicable.

Just follow those tips and your resume will sing and even soar, then when you go mining for your next opportunity you’re sure to strike gold.