Is the traditional executive resume dead? Do I still need a resume? Are LinkedIn and VisualCV the new resume?
Questions like these are floating around a lot lately, among executive job seekers and colleagues of mine in the careers industry. The answer is “maybe”.
With recruiters and hiring decision makers vetting candidates based on their online footprint, and seeking passive candidates (those who aren’t even in the job market), top-level executives’ first introduction to hiring professionals is often not through their resumes.
Due to the ever-shortening attention spans of decision makers and their increasing use of PDAs to assess candidates, traditional “paper” resumes are becoming less and less important in executive job search.
Dealing with and trying to read attached emailed “paper” documents can be tedious and time-consuming, and so much more telling information about candidates can be found online.
LinkedIn profiles (and sometimes Twitter and Facebook) are often the first point of contact and have become accepted career marketing and information-gathering tools.
VisualCV is beginning to make headway as a more feature-rich, multi-media companion to a LinkedIn profile.
But somewhere along the line in the hiring process you’ll probably still need to present a brand and value proposition-driven resume . . . at least for now.
You may not need a resume to get an interview, but you may need to bring one to the interview. That may never change. Then again, it may.
Recently I posted the following question on LinkedIn:
To Executive Recruiters and Hiring Managers: How important are resumes to you when you’re vetting top-level executives? For a first review, do you find an achievement-rich, brand-driven LinkedIn Profile and/or multi-media-rich VisualCV preferable to a resume?
Here are two of the answers:
“We don’t even look at resumes until the second interview.”
“Resumes and cover letters are becoming more and more passe because of Web 2.0. From what I see in the recruiting networks it seems that SO FAR, VisualCVs are not taking off but that I think is just a matter of time. LinkedIn on the other hand is really taking off – in that I see more and more job posts saying they wouldn’t even consider people without recommendations. So HMs and all along recruiters are looking to LI for the details of “who this person is”. But many executives are not taking advantage of that from what I see.”
And here’s some compelling input from the Fistful of Talent recruiters’ blog, Can You Hire Your Next Star Using Twitter and Blogs, But No Resume?
Author and marketing blogger, Seth Godin weighs in:
“This is controversial, but here goes: I think if you’re remarkable, amazing or just plain spectacular, you probably shouldn’t have a resume at all.
Not just for my little internship, but in general. Great people shouldn’t have a resume.
Here’s why: A resume is an excuse to reject you. Once you send me your resume, I can say, “oh, they’re missing this or they’re missing that,” and boom, you’re out.
Having a resume begs for you to go into that big machine that looks for relevant keywords, and begs for you to get a job as a cog in a giant machine. Just more fodder for the corporate behemoth. That might be fine for average folks looking for an average job, but is that what you deserve?”
Then marketing recruiter, Harry Joiner at The Marketing Headhunter, responded to Godin:
“Recently, Seth Godin (of whom I have been a big fan for years, and whose Boxed Set I bought the week it was released) suggested that the best jobs don’t require a resume. Seth knew his comments were going to be controversial, and his post was music to the ears of his fans — many of whom blogged their hope that he was right.
As a follow up to that conversation, a buddy of mine has been approached by Google for a great job … a world class job … a job people would kill for … one of those jobs that don’t get filled by people emailing in resumes. Ever.
And guess what? The first thing Google’s internal recruiter sent my friend was this link explaining how to prepare a resume for Google. It’s a requirement. Who knew?
Now, I’m not trying to say “I told you so” with this post. But we all know that Google is one of America’s Top Employers. Evidently, a resume is as important to getting a job with Google as having a license is to driving a car. It’s like that everywhere.”
Some interesting fodder to fuel the discussion, isn’t it?
For the time being, a brand-driven, achievement-rich resume is still critical currency for top executive job seekers (and for those at any professional level).
In order to remain flexible to the changing needs of hiring professionals, put together a great resume and LinkedIn profile. Also consider a VisualCV, Twitter, and other online networking sites. Keep them all up-to-date, at-the-ready, and focused on your target audience.
Work on extending your online footprint, so you’ll be easily found by recruiters and hiring decision makers looking for and vetting candidates like you.
What’s your take on the future of the traditional resume?
Think Like an Executive Resume Branding Expert
Hiring Managers and Recruiters Are Looking For You On LinkedIn
A VisualCV Belongs in Your Personal Brand Toolkit
The 10 Best (Mostly Free) Ways to Google Up, Expand Your Online Network, and Nurture Your Personal eBrand
Meg Guiseppi says
Thanks for weighing in, Mark.
I’m curious, as you are, to see how VisualCV pans out. I encourage my executive clients to get on board with it. It provides such a neat career marketing package — all documents and other materials accessible in one place online. We’ll see . . .
Mark McClure Coaching says
Aside from the continuing requirements (e.g. the Google story in your post!) for the resume format, it’s inevitable that hiring managers and HR with a range of age groups and “Web X.0” comfort zones, a candidate will need to cover the bases.
Taking a paper resume to an in-person interview is still a rite of passage, it seems!
I wonder how the visualCV approach will shake out – if (hiring) people make unconscious judgments and assumptions within seconds of seeing a candidate’s story? Perhaps lots of new career opportunities for savvy image makers to the career professionals?
Meg Guiseppi says
I appreciate your comments, Jennifer.
And thanks for confirming that executives (and all job seekers) need to be LinkedIn. I can’t tell you how many top-level execs I work with who have never even heard of LinkedIn before they work with me, and are skeptical of its value.
Jennifer McClure says
As an Executive Recruiter, if I’m connecting via a cold call with top passive talent that was either referred or recommended to me, I’m definitely not going to start the conversation by asking for a resume. If I can get the candidate interested in talking with my client, I may even make an initial introduction without one. But usually, sooner or later, my client (and my company’s database) would like to have a resume. People still like to have something to touch, write notes on, and if the candidate is hired – put in their file. Only the very, very top talent will likely get by without a resume. In my opinion, all others need one (which is the remaining 98%). As for LinkedIn profiles, etc. – those are always a good start, and may be what initially peeks my interest. I can also forward to clients for their review. However, they often don’t contain enough detail to constitute a resume replacement.