Resume still relevant?
When I graduated from college in the late 1970s the resume was not just relevant but it was the cornerstone of your job search. However, that was the 1970s before the Internet existed.
In late 1990s job boards like Monster.com started to appear. You could upload your resume to the job boards where recruiters could find you. The resume was still very relevant as it could now be found online. However, rather than being scanned by a recruiter, it was sliced and diced by a job board.
Note – This post was originally written in December of 2013. It was updated in January of 2018.
In the mid part of the last decade, job board aggregators like Indeed.com were created and there was the rise of Social Media platforms LinkedIn, FaceBook and Twitter.
This has led to the rise of passive recruiting and the death of the traditional job search. Check out my post The Traditional Job Search is Dead – R.I.P.
Passive recruiting is where the hiring company is looking to fill a position and they are looking for the best candidate no matter whether that candidate is actively looking for a job.
In this day of passive recruiting, is the resume still relevant?
A passive candidate is employed, but not currently looking for a new opportunity. Active candidates are individuals actively looking for new employment. In the old days, companies would only look at active candidates. For those of us in the 2nd half of life, those days are gone.
In the world of passive candidates, the resume is relatively meaningless to being found.
Active recruiting (the process of posting jobs, waiting for candidates to submit their applications or upload their resumes and then in sorting through the hundreds of candidates to select individuals to interview) still happens.
This process works well for lower-level positions that you pursued earlier in your career. If you actually believe this works for very many of the jobs that those of us in the 2nd half of life pursue, then you need to listen to the interview I recorded with Gary O’Neal, titled Gary O’Neal on Looking for a Job in the 2nd Half of Life [Podcast]. Gary is a very experienced recruiter who explains most of what you believe on how the hiring process works are flat wrong.
Submitting your resume to a job board will not get what you want.
What is Important?
Your LinkedIn profile is key! It should be structured in such a way that is easily found by recruiters. Check out my post Why Are You Not Being Found? Try Thinking Like a Recruiter.
It should be sprinkled with the appropriate keywords! Notice I said sprinkled and not loaded with keywords.
Once you are found how are recruiters and hiring managers to know that you know your stuff?
The first thing any recruiter is going to do is google your name. What is going to show up? You had better know!
You should make sure you have a portfolio of your work. This could be:
- Presentations and documents attached and available to download from your LinkedIn profile
- Links to industry resources that you wrote on your LinkedIn profile
- A blog – I want you to read my post on Establishing Your Personal Brand and Credibility Through Blogging
- Software that you have written on GitHub
Anything that shows that you know your stuff!
You want all of this information to be publicly available and searchable. Remember what I said about googling your name?
It is all about being found!
How else will I be found?
Your network! 80 – 85% of positions are filled through referrals. Keeping the key members of your tribe informed of your skills is key! If you want to really get strategic read the Strategic Networking Playbook – Who, How and When!
Is the Resume Dead?
Once the hiring manager, recruiter or others in the hiring process find you, they will want to see your resume. It is the ticket to the dance!
Note – In the deep and dark past we used to have school dances and you needed a ticket to get in!
I have worked for two different high-tech startups and was found in a passive manner through my network. I do not think my resume got more than a cursory look for both.
If the hiring manager is a baby boomer then they will want to see a resume! You will want to bring a copy of your resume on heavy stock paper for everyone that you will interview with. (Yes, I know this is old school but if you will interview with anyone over 50 years of age, you will impress him or her.)
Your resume is required to be entered into the ATS (Application Tracking System) which most company use. As with your LinkedIn profile, it should be sprinkled with appropriate keywords.
You should still write a killer resume and cover letter. By the way, 90% of the time, the cover letter will never be read. You cannot afford to miss the 10% that will require it and read it.
Is the Resume Still Relevant?
For those of us in the 2nd half of life, it still has a purpose. It is rarely needed on the front end but still is needed on the back-end of the recruiting and hiring process.
I believe in 5 or 10 years we will see a replacement for the resume but what that will be …. who knows.
In the meantime, the resume is still relevant but it is far less important that when most of us graduated with our college degrees.
What do you think?Marc Miller
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I completely agree with you that resumes are not dead yet. While having a solid LinkedIn profile is essential, having a well-written and nicely formatted resume is equally important.
I would caution on the resume formatting, I have one that while visually stunning and it always grabs the attention of those that see the physical copy, it gets torn apart in an applicant tracking system in the parsing process, and generally makes a mess of it. You need an ATS version that is very, very plain and has virtually no formatting.
Jim Adcock says
My resume, posted on the internet as a page in my blog, is a part of my passive recruiting strategy – it is another way for recruiters to find me.
But really, what is going to both kill the resume and keep it alive is what the resume is for – it is a substitute for (at least part of the process of) getting to know someone.
Why do so many jobs not show up on the job boards? Because someone knows someone. For these transactions, a resume is not needed between two parties.
For example, if the hiring manager already knows me, the resume is just a form that the manager needs to file with HR (so they can “know” me). If my connection is a step removed from the hiring manager (I know someone in the company) their recommendation is part of how the hiring manager gets to know me, with the resume to help fill in the blanks, and an interview to round out the process.
The more that using a connection to get a job becomes the normal way to get a job, the less relevant a resume is in the hiring process, except as a form to be filed as a proof that nepotism isn’t the (primary) reason the candidate was hired over other candidates.
Resumes are only significant in the hiring process when the hiring manager does not know a good candidate (either directly or through contacts) and the resume is used as a proxy for an introduction.
That is a really interesting way of looking at a resume. I agree with you but when the hiring manager is young I suspect the resume is not as needed as a good social profile.
I will need to noodle on this one! 8^)
That´s right seems a resume to be a last resort for the HR. Yeah all about who you know regardless of your college degrees. Infographic, video and social media profile could be replacements for the quaint resume.
Your generalisation of baby boomer hiring managers wanting a resume on heavy stock paper is a disturbing piece of ageist rubbish. It is no longer necessarily the way the over 50’s conduct their interview process; I am one as are many of my friends. I have been managing large companies for over 30 years and along the way my interview process has changed depending on the role and the best process to recruit for that role.
Currently we often have the initial pre-interview discussion over the phone looking for ‘fit’ and communication and negotiation skills. It is disappointing you have chosen to pigeon hole the over 50’s as old fashioned and stuck in their old ways. Not fair or accurate.
This is no different than do you write a cover letter. Most recruiters and hiring managers will not read it. However, there will be enough recruiters and hiring managers who will require and without it you will be kicked out.
Even if it is only 10% of baby boomer hiring managers who would expect you to bring a resume then bring a resume. Yes, you might impress them if it is on heavy stock paper.
I am sorry if I offended you but many boomer managers, not all, will be looking for you to bring a resume. You as a job seeker want to risk being wrong?
I DO think the cover letter is dead. Your resume should project enough about who you are.
Cover letters are only read by a few recruiters. However, you do not want to be kicked out by the lack of one in that one case where the recruiter requires it. So you really should submit one everytime. So you are kinda right.
There are also more hiring managers who will read a cover letter when it is down to three or four final candidates. A strong cover letter, tailored to the company and position CAN make a difference and very occasionally it might make THE difference.
At every point in the hiring process now, especially for jobs over $50 or $60K (it used to be for six figure jobs, but has gotten tighter and more competitive) you DO NOT want to be knocked out for not having excellent materials. Hiring seems to have turned into more of a “knock out derby” than a process to select the best candidate (though that still seem to be what it is at the end.) Both resumes and cover letters are still 100% necessary, but no longer sufficient in most cases.
Some companies don’t even have a way to upload a cover letter, I keep them in separate documents. Also while it seems like most of the discussion is focused on large companies, I think that the smaller the company, the more important the cover letter is. I live in a small rural community with lots of small family-owned businesses and know very few hiring managers that would consider a resume without a cover letter.
I don’t think resumes are dead but I think resume PAPER is dead. I always just print a bunch of copies on a regular printer. No one cares. Plus I think using resume paper will MAKE you look older.
Correct. Who buys resume paper anymore?
I still have a bunch left over from the 1990s LOL
I just gave some leftover resume paper to my wife for printing certificates for completing the workshop she was organizing.
I cannot find when this article was written so I hope I’m not responding to something from 2003. lol
Literally, as I sit here, I am contemplating attaching a resume. I feel it is redundant. Every job I apply for online has me fill out an extensive application. With a resume, I feel I am just repeating myself. Do they really need to see everything twice? Are they not paying attention? Really…I would like to know. What is the point? Is it easier on their eyes?
I’m either qualified and they want to meet with me…or not.
At the end of the first section, it says “Note – This post was originally written in December of 2013. It was updated in January of 2018.”. So it was not 2003.
It is about demonstrating what you can do and not telling them that you can do it.
Thank you for the reply Marc….I missed that.
I’m not quite sure I am understanding your explanation though. If I were a truck driver, I wouldn’t be able to show you any better on a resume how good I drive. My application has all the same info.
In the long run, it’s probably better to have it than not, just always seems like I am only reiterating things.