September 2, 2015

Is a Standard Resume Enough to Get You an Interview Anymore?

TallOver the past few years, there has been a lot of talk about the death of, the traditional resume in the face of LinkedIn, Facebook, and various other social media platforms. But contrary to the hype, you will likely find that most — if not all — job openings still ask for candidates to apply by submitting their resumes. It’s quite clear, then, that the resume isn’t exactly dead.

But to think that’s the end of the story would be akin to burying one’s head in the sand. The fact is, if you want to set yourself apart from the competition, a standard resume is no longer enough.

Although nearly 100 percent of employers still ask for resumes, that does not alter or even reflect the fact that the role of the resume has diminished dramatically. While resumes were once the tickets to getting short-listed, they are rapidly becoming just a piece of the package of documents required to land any job.

Meanwhile, social media profiles have become increasingly influential parts of the application process. For example, research from CareerBuilder found that 43 percent of employers used social networking sites to research candidates in 2014, compared to 39 percent in 2013 and 36 percent in 2012.

And these social networking sites do carry a lot of influence in hiring decisions: more than half of employers who research job candidates on social media say they’ve found information that caused them to reject candidates, while 33 percent found social media content that made them more likely to hire a candidate and 23 percent found content that led them to actually hire a candidate.

For many employers today, the resume serves as more of a screening tool than anything else. It will get you noticed, but social media information will really affect your progress through the interview process.

Now that resumes carry less weight, you need to focus on enriching your social media profile to make the most positive impression on your potential employer. How can you do this? Well, there are a few options:

1. Develop a Portfolio of Industry-Related Blog Posts and/or Relevant Comments on Industry-Related Articles

WriterThis is a great way to demonstrate your passion for your professional area, your industry knowledge, and your personality. Done well, a blog and comment trail can create a very attractive industry footprint that will add value to your resume and impress many employers.

2. Focus on LinkedIn Recommendations

Seeing LinkedIn as nothing more than an online version of your resume is a mistake. Instead, approach LinkedIn as a way to gather and present social proof of your skills.

Use LinkedIn to build a long list of recommendations on your profile from esteemed connections. The recommendations section of LinkedIn is one of the most powerful social media tools for job seekers. A strong list of recommendations may even be enough on its own to land you a job.

3. Consider Producing a Video Resume or Cover Letter

Employers are becoming much more focused on their potential employees’ abilities to collaborate, communicate, and network within their corporate cultures. What better way to display your social skills than in a video resume?

I am not talking about replacing your traditional resume entirely. Rather, your video resume would be a 1-2 minute video summary of your skills, meant to showcase your communication style and demeanor. Such a video resume can add another layer of information to your application and give you an edge over other candidates.

The number of employers screening candidates through social media is rising every year. A resume alone is no longer enough to get an interview, especially in the most competitive employment areas. If you want to maximize your chances of landing your dream job, you should start perfecting your social media resume ASAP.

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Kazim Ladimeji is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and has been a practicing HR professional for 14 years. Kazim is the Director of The Career Cafe: a resource for start-ups, small business and job seekers.