Part 1: For Many Careers, Resumes are Becoming Less of a Job Search Focal Point

It’s a fact that the majority of intelligent, thorough recruiters as well as hiring managers Google the names of job seekers they interview. Not only are they searching, but they are giving heightened hiring priority to those who have a positive, robust online presence.

The necessity of an online presence is now a reality for marketing, sales, graphic arts and PR jobs. Because a positive or negative public image can greatly effect one’s ability to perform in these careers, online resources aligned with a job seeker are given more and more weight, while resumes are proving less and less influential.

Over the next few articles, I am going to analyze why resumes, cover letters and, to an extent, LinkedIn profiles mean less to today’s employers and the steps that can be taken to compete with more modernized job seekers.

Thinking of Yourself as a Business Not a Piece of Paper

As a job seeker and as a professional, you are a business. Instead of offering a service or product to a client, you offer your expertise to hiring managers and headhunters.

Just like a company, much of one’s success hinges on building an effective image through creative marketing and frequent advertising of your service. These are the basics of building a brand.

In this case, you’re not branding a tangible product such as a smart phone or energy drink. You as a person are the brand and you are more than a piece of paper.

By studying what other job seekers have done, you’ll quickly realize that the overarching strategies that work for Apple and Gatorade, in essence, will work for the job seeker.

For instance, diversified advertising tactics speak to the consumer (a.k.a. the employer), vastly build exposure which fosters trust and insinuates expertise. However, unlike Gatorade or Apple, job seekers can’t afford advertising luxuries such as primetime TV commercials, PPC advertising and full page NY Times ads.

Even with a fractional budget, you can effectively advertise yourself to potential employers and build a personalized brand that creates an image of hard work, success, knowledge, expertise and potential.

Prior to doing so, it’s important for our recruiters to discuss the problems we see with job seekers who rely solely on resumes and cover letters.

5 Reasons Why Resumes and Cover Letters No Longer Do the Trick

More and more often, job seekers who simply rely on a resume and / or cover letter (even a LinkedIn profile isn’t as helpful as it once was) are frequently outflanked by those who carry a robust online presence.

While they used to be sufficient, there are now inherent problems with relying on written word as your main or only method of advertising. Our recruiters see the following as the 5 most prevalent reasons:

1. They’re outdated.

Unfortunately, resumes and cover letters are the equivalent of print advertising. We’re a digitally dominated society. Words without enticing, high-def images fail to play to today’s visually oriented individuals and provide no real experience for the end user.

2. There is virtually no way to track their efficiency.

Resumes and cover letters leave job seekers in the dark. Without appearing invasive or desperate, it is virtually impossible to know if an employer opened their resume, how much time they spent looking at it and what parts of the document they focused most on.

3. Resumes focus too heavily on an individual’s past.

They don’t put enough emphasis on current employment desires or future potential. Younger job seekers have trouble standing out because many lack tangible, relevant experience. For the same reason, those attempting to switch careers or even industries suffer. This is mainly due to the fact that when employers perform an initial resume scan, they find little to no relevant information and discard the application.

4. They fail to humanize the candidate.

There’s nothing relatable about a resume or cover letter. It talks about what you’ve done, not who you are as a person. Considering people are more likely to interview, hire and be persuaded by individuals similar to them, as similarities often insinuate cultural fit (a significant hiring factor).

5. Resumes and cover letters provide little to no brand differentiation.

Companies receive them by the hundreds (if not more) and most resumes say the same thing. For instance, all job seekers claim they are hard working, competent, detail oriented, knowledgeable and efficient. Though, few prove these attributes are present.

Since a significant number of marketing, sales, graphic arts and PR jobs require knowledge of search engines, copy-writing skills, social media expertise and are image oriented, resumes are providing less relevant information to the employer than ever before.