Three things that are more important than your resume

When job hunting, your resume will make or break your success. Or so common wisdom has always suggested.

But times are changing, according to a recently published CNN article, which says that the one-page document has “lost its dominance.”

The claim is that companies and recruiters are putting less emphasis on resumes when searching for job candidates. And Macy Andrews, senior director of human resources at tech multinational Cisco, is quoted as saying, “The résumé has probably gone from about 40-35% of the hiring process to less than 10%.”

We’re not sure if that last part is entirely true – 10% seems low. Nor do we insist around here that your resume be only one page long (it’s a dated rule that doesn’t fit with the contemporary norm of job hopping to get ahead). But we do agree that the resume is no longer the quintessential job search element it once was and that there are things that are equally as important if not more important.

The resume is still a necessity, but these days there are so many other ways for employers to readily access relevant information on a job candidate. And that matters. Because even if your resume is fantastic, any of these other factors can render it completely irrelevant.

Here are three things that are more important than your resume.

LinkedIn. By at least one estimate, 94% of recruiters will use LinkedIn, the professional social media networking site, to vet a job candidate. So, just assume that everyone is checking it. And your LinkedIn is more important than a resume because of the level of available information that can be gleaned from it that is not on your resume. This includes but is not limited to:

  • The size of your network. From your number of connections.
  • What others think of you professionally. From your references, which are immediately accessible on LinkedIn, as opposed to having to phone people listed on your resume.
  • Your level of social savvy. From what you post and how you interact with others, as well as how adept you have been at gathering references.
  • What you look like. Including a picture would be frowned upon in your resume, because employers shouldn’t be judging you on your appearance. But who are we kidding? Of course, they’re judging you on your appearance and they can do that on LinkedIn.

Maintain your LinkedIn profile and make it as great as you possibly can.

Your online presence elsewhere. Also, don’t discount the importance of other social media and your own personal website. Employers are looking you up. Anyone who isn’t is not doing their job properly. They need to know who you are. If you were hiring, wouldn’t you Google the applicant? Of course you would. No matter how awesome your resume is, one stupid thoughtless comment or angry rant on your Facebook or Twitter page and the whole jig is up.

Think your privacy settings will save you from the prying eyes of employers? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe the employers knows one of your Facebook friends and can get access to your profile. The odds of people knowing each other go up if you live in a smaller community or work in a niche industry. Think twice before getting into that argument or making that inappropriate comment. Everything on your resume is worth pretty much nothing if you’re a jerk online.

Your network. A lot of jobs – many say a majority – are not landed through cold applications but through connections. Even when you find the perfect job posting, your chances of getting that job increase dramatically if you know someone who can recommend you to the employer.

Also, most resumes are pretty similar, particularly if you’re seeking an entry-level to mid-level position.  There are a lot of people out there who are qualified for a lot of jobs. Having someone to put in a good word can put you above all the other equally qualified candidates out there.

Cultivate your network and be nice to people.

This is a good rule not just for the job search but for life in general.

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