What Recruiters Really Think About Resumes

– Posted in: career coaching

As a former executive recruiter, I skimmed resumes, preferring instead to find my candidates actively.  I would see who had been published or quoted in the press.  I would look for conference speakers or people active in professional associations.  I would rely on word-of-mouth referrals, rather than unsolicited resumes.  In other words, I would target candidates based on factors other than a resume, and once the candidate expressed interest, yes, I asked for a resume, but by then it was an afterthought. 

Still, I know many jobseekers are really worried about their resume almost to the exclusion of the rest of their search.  So, I asked recruiters who worked in diverse industries from non-profit to media, is this emphasis on the resume warranted?

Networking trumps passive resume submissions

Harry B. Weiner is a Partner at On-Ramps, an executive search firm that specializes in the social sector:

The resume is a marketing document that most people will spend less than two minutes reviewing (perhaps sad, but definitely true)….In general, you’ll be better off spending your energy on networking and industry/company research.  The vast majority of people find their jobs through their networks, so by doubling-down on your networking, you may not even need a resume!  For every 10 minutes you spend on your resume, you should spend an hour on LinkedIn.

Resumes are but one part of a comprehensive marketing campaign

Regina Angeles is CEO of Talent2050, an executive search firm that provides multicultural recruiting solutions for online and traditional media companies:

Candidates should invest time in building a robust online profile, especially on LinkedIn.  Third-party and corporate recruiters continue to rely on LinkedIn as a sourcing and referencing tool.  Make sure your profile contains keywords that will make you searchable.

Still resumes are important

Lesley Klein is a Managing Partner in Miller Klein Group, a search firm that specializes in HR and administrative support roles across all industries:

The resume is your first impression. It’s your marketing tool. It is essential to a successful job search process. 

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