Question on LinkedIn: My friend and colleague believes that resumes aren’t important any more, only making friends. While I disagreed with him originally, I think his viewpoint has more merit than we might believe.

Others’ Response:

Lawrence, I think both you and your friend were right. This is an example of both/and rather than either/or. Candidates need both a strong network of professional friends and a powerful resume. Your client had the resume stand in his place in the initial introductions. Job seekers today need a whole marketing campaign to orchestrate their job search: strong network, powerful resume, excellent interview skills and the confidence to negotiate compensation commensurate to the value they add to the new company.  Congratulations to you, your client and your coach-friend for your success!

– How many people know decision makers well enough that they can secure a job offer them a job on the basis of a meeting or two? Perhaps there are a few. However, in the absence of having really good friends in high places, the process of friend making or networking (call it what you will) is about getting recommended to decision makers or influencers. In such cases, you will still need to submit / provide a resume. “I have known Jane for several years from my days at ABC Corp. I think she would make a great addition to the team. She has done this, that and the other. Blah, blah, blah.” “Great, ask her to send me her resume. If her background and achievements stack up, I might ask to meet her.” Decision makers in businesses still need to go through the due diligence process. Jane might be a great candidate. But an intelligent senior manager who wants/needs to fill a key position owes it to their shareholders/owners, their colleagues, and the other members of the team to make sure that Jane is the best candidate available right now. They shouldn’t be offering Jane the job on the basis of a recommendation alone and they should be considering other people who might be as good as or better than Jane. In any event, even if you are highly recommended, you probably still need a resume that showcases your achievements and contributions, even if you are only handing it to the decision maker during a meeting. And if your resume is not top notch, the decision maker will wonder about you. “So you thought you could waltz in here on the back of Joan’s recommendation and I would offer you the job and think you can get away with a half baked resume.” is a possible train of thought.

– Although I believe that the vast majority of job seekers will be more successful through networking, I could not disagree strongly enough that one does not need a resume. The networking process my get the introduction to the employer, but it is the resume that is the ultimate sales brochure, one’s “passport” if you will, that will introduce him or her to those with whom s/he will be interviewing. Remember this….most people who conduct interviews are not professional interviewers. They often ask very lame and routine questions. A well-prepared resume that is focused on achievements and RESULTS can be used as a guide for the interviewer to ask the cogent questions that will enable the candidate to show how s/he can demonstrate the problem solving skills and results s/he has done in the past, and how they can be applied to the present situation. A good resume is necessary; a poor one can be disastrous.

My Take:

Tell that person good luck when someone DOES ask to it. I understand their mentality in that the most effective way to find work is via networking. However, one must have all the correct tools in his or her tool belt when going into their job hunt. Not having a resume is like not bringing the hammer!

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