By Laurie Smith
Every few weeks I receive a call from a prospective client who seems doubtful that a resume is actually needed at all in an executive level job search. (At this point I chuckle inwardly, wondering why they picked up the phone to call an executive resume writer.) They wonder if networking and interpersonal interaction with prospective employers is replacing the executive resume, or if perhaps all they need is a “marketing letter” or bio—or maybe no documentation at all. Feedback from my clients who leverage their resumes quite successfully as well as from recruiters and hiring executives who are in the trenches of bringing in executive talent is revealing. It indicates that while the resume is not anywhere near dead, its usage and timing in the process of hiring is undergoing a gradual evolution.
Traditionally, sending in your resume was usually the initial step, followed by the typical sequence of telephone interview, in-person interview, offer, negotiation, and acceptance. Enter social media and the Web. While it is significant that by far the majority of recruiters are Googling a candidate before contacting them based on their submitted resume, even more significant is the fact that many recruiters and hiring managers look to the Internet and particularly networking sites such as LinkedIn FIRST to identify and initiate contact with candidates. They will search for articles you have written or that have been written about you, read your entries on Twitter or your blog, monitor your contributions on forums, and glean a strong picture of you before ever requesting or setting eyes on your resume. Once they contact you, then the resume will come into the picture.
Of course, how well your resume represents you and makes a business case for why you would make an excellent hire will make or break your candidacy at this point. By the same token, if you are leveraging networking to the hilt in your job search (you are, aren’t you?), a savvy approach is to first establish contact and dialogue with a recruiter or potential employer. Once interest is piqued, the request for your resume will likely ensue.