While some companies still collect them, resumes rarely indicate which candidates have the most potential. Today more than ever, companies are looking for employees with qualities that don't typically show up on paper. How well do you communicate? Can you truly connect with others? Do you have the potential to be an influential leader? Companies want to know how you respond in the real world, working with the people around you. Those who have the social fluency to succeed in face-to-face settings and who use rich stories to promote their brand emerge as the rising stars.
Beyond simply getting along with others, we all have to "sell" our value and our ideas to get ahead. While most of my clients have reached some level of success, many struggle to communicate their value propositions during personal interactions—interviews, networking events or high-stakes meetings. My advice usually involves finding ways to make their individual strengths come alive. People need to know about your skills, but they are more interested in how and why you bring those skills to the table. If you can weave that information into a relevant story that is anchored by your unique capabilities, you can make a positive, lasting impression (without sounding boastful or awkward).
If you doubt the importance of selling your value beyond the resume, just look at the way many Fortune 500 companies are now evaluating employees to determine their readiness for the next-level. At Deloitte, for instance, candidates for partner or director participate in a review that involves making a value proposition presentation—complete with PowerPoint decks and compelling graphics. The people selected to advance can clearly communicate their energy and passion, as well as the value they have to offer the company. They are the ones who present their performance metrics layered with meaning, their industry knowledge, and examples of their impact at the local and national level. I have worked with clients to prepare for these presentations, and one thing's for sure: the message they are sharing is light-years ahead of the one-dimensional resume. Success—especially at higher levels—is determined by how you say things, not just what you say.
Even if you're not competing for a senior position, you can use this idea to communicate your value more effectively and accelerate your own career. It's a new era for self-promotion, and it's time to think outside of the resume box!
I'd love to hear your thoughts.