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Have Social Networks Killed the Resume?

In our hyperconnected world, it has never been more important to have a professional online presence. Nearly every hiring manager and recruiter uses the internet to find and evaluate candidates, but is that all they do? Has social networking become so important that you no longer need to worry about a traditional resume?

The Importance of Social Media

Social media has drastically changed the way hiring managers and recruiters evaluate potential candidates. With just a few clicks, they can study your public social media presence to get a feel for who you are as both a professional and a person.

Nearly 90 percent of all employers use social media at some point in the recruiting process, either to locate potential candidates, to further evaluate initial applications, or both. No matter what field you are in, it is important to have a strong public social media presence that is attractive, professional and paints a clear picture of who you are.

The Benefits of Social Media

Social media offers advantages that resumes can't compete with, including:

  • Personality: On paper, you're just a list of experiences and qualifications. Social media profiles allow you to show off what makes you unique.
  • Streamlined communication: Through social networking, recruiters and hiring managers can reach out to you directly with one click. This is much less invasive than a phone call and provides a more passive, yet equally effective way to communicate, and most job seekers are receptive to this type of communication.
  • Visibility: Social media profiles are easy to find and instantly accessible. Your resume, on the other hand, is only available to someone who receives it via email or in person.

Making Social Media Work For You, Rather Than Against You

It is important to optimize and manage your social media presence so hiring managers find your professional information, rather than personal profiles and photos of you having a little too much fun at your cousin's wedding in the Bahamas.

Take steps to protect yourself and ensure the right profiles are found by:

  • Setting all your personal social media accounts to private. Untag yourself from photos on your friends' accounts to avoid "backdoor" entry into questionable content.
  • Set up separate, professional accounts that are public. Here, you should share insights and information about your area of expertise. Connect with thought leaders, share useful content and add your own thoughts.
  • Focus on building a complete LinkedIn profile. If you are, or want to become a professional, consider paying for a premium account to boost your search-result position. Regardless of whether your account is free or paid, be sure to include critical keywords, update your portfolio and upload a recent professional headshot. Join relevant groups and make thoughtful contributions to the conversations.
  • Set up a professional website. If possible, buy your name in the form of a domain ( If someone has already used your name, choose a variation by adding your middle initial or name. Create a simple website that showcases your past work and portfolio, or you can simply post your resume. Whatever you choose to do with it, keep it professional.
  • Google yourself regularly. Sometimes, social networks change their settings without warning and you don't want anything slipping through the cracks. Google yourself to see what hiring managers find when they google your name.

The Importance of a Resume

Social profiles offer many advantages to job seekers, but they can also cause issues. Leaving your personal profiles open to the public can lead to disqualification if an employer finds questionable content.

Resumes, however, offer complete control. Only people who receive a copy of your resume can view it, and its contents are limited to your professional life. Resumes are also still required for most publicly posted jobs, thanks to applicant tracking software that scans resumes and scores them for relevancy.

The Advantages of Resumes

Traditional resumes have a few other benefits as well:

  • Customization: With a resume, you can tailor the content of the document to meet the requirements of the job you are applying to. You can showcase specific skills and experience, or rearrange sections to highlight the information the hiring manager wants to see.
  • Provides a snapshot: Social profiles are lengthy, but a resume is concise. If you're following best practices and eliminating outdated skills and experience, it provides hiring managers with only the information they need.
  • They meet requirements: As previously noted, most employers require a resume. Sending someone a link to a profile when they specifically asked for a resume will immediately get you disqualified.

Tips for Crafting an Effective Resume

Writing a great resume takes time and hard work - but it is important to get it right, because your resume is your ticket to phase two of the interview process. Here are some tips to help you craft a resume that will get noticed for the right reasons.

  • Include keywords: Resume screening software programs scan applications for keyword matches. If you don't include keywords from the posting, you likely will not get called for an interview.
  • Use metrics: Instead of just listing job duties, offer verifiable metrics of your success whenever possible.
  • Update new achievements: Make sure your resume is updated with your most recent and most impressive achievements. This can include projects you contributed to, goals you achieved, new skills you learned or responsibilities you took on.
  • Remove outdated information: Eliminate obsolete skills as well as irrelevant skills and experience that don't pertain to the job you're applying for - especially if they are over 10 years old.

As a job seeker, it is important to use every tool in your toolbox to create a professional brand and make a great impression on employers, but knowing how to use all those tools effectively isn't easy. It pays to put an expert on your side to help you maximize every resource.

A recruiter who works in your field can help you improve your resume, use social profiles effectively and connect you with opportunities you wouldn't be able to find on your own. If you are searching for a great new job and you're ready to put an expert on your side, partner with a professional recruiter today.