Market Overview

RIP – The Resume? Executives Surveyed By Korn Ferry Futurestep Weigh In On Landing A Job


A new executive survey conducted by the Futurestep division of Korn
(NYSE:KFY) indicates that resumes may not be the power tool
they once were for landing a job.

Editor's Note: Survey Results at Bottom of Release

More than one-third (35 percent) of those surveyed said that resumes are
less important to the job search process than they were 5 years ago.

In addition, 77 percent said networking was the most important part of
the job search process, followed by interviewing (16 percent) and
social/online presence (4 percent). Dead last? Resumes at 3 percent.

"Candidates who rise above the rest in this very competitive job
environment, are those who understand that landing a job takes a
balanced approach," said Peter Keseric, Managing Consultant - Financial
Services and Real Estate, Korn Ferry Futurestep. "Resumes are not going
away– they're still an important part of the overall job search process.
However, nothing gets a candidate ahead like networking. And networking
today is a contact sport."

Although all (100 percent) respondents reported that they read
candidates' resumes during the hiring process, 51 percent of executives
surveyed said they spend less than five minutes reading a candidate's
resume and 13 percent spend less than two minutes.

While a resume's concision is critical, the survey findings also
indicate that candidates should take great care in preparing and
proofing their resumes. Ten percent of those surveyed said they would
disregard a candidate if they found a typo or bad grammar in the
candidate's resume, even if the candidate had appropriate
qualifications, and 46 percent said they would keep the candidate in the
pool, but with reservations.

In terms of work history, direct experience is king. The most important
information on a resume, according to the survey, is that the candidate
has experience that is relevant to the position (83 percent). Only 15
percent cited the quality of the candidate's previous employers, with 2
percent citing education (university they attended, GPA or types/levels
of degrees). None of the respondents said the candidate's job title
mattered most.

Despite the surge of a gig economy, longevity still matters.
Eighty-seven percent of respondents said short tenure or ‘job hopping'
matters to some or a great extent.

As for the cover letter, nearly half of respondents (49 percent) said it
is less important than it was 5 years ago.

"Several elements go into the making of a successful job search," said
Keseric. "Candidates who know how to communicate and create compelling
resumes will have an advantage. But at the end of the day, direct
experience and fit helps puts them over the top."

About the survey

Korn Ferry fielded the survey in April 2017 and it garnered 1,815
responses. Percentages are rounded to the nearest decimal. Totals may
not equal 100 percent.

Survey Results

What is the most important part of the job search process?

Networking 77 percent
Interviewing 16 percent
Social/online presence 4 percent
Resumes 3 percent

Compared to 5 years ago, how important are resumes to the job
search process?

Significantly less important 7 percent
Somewhat less important 28 percent
The same 34 percent
Somewhat more important 9 percent
Significantly more important 21 percent

How long do you spend with a resume prior to interviewing a

Less than 2 minutes 13 percent
Less than 5 minutes 38 percent
Less than 15 minutes 30 percent
More than 15 minutes 20 percent
I don't look at resumes prior to interviews 0 percent

How far in advance of interviewing a candidate do you review
their resume?

As they are walking into my office / dialing in for the interview 2 percent
During the interview 1 percent
A half-hour before the interview 18 percent
The day of the interview 15 percent
I review all resumes in advance and then decide
Who I want to interview 64 percent

How much of a candidate's resume do you read?

All of it     58 percent
Just the executive summary 11 percent
I scan for key words I'm looking for 31 percent

What's the most important element you look for on a resume?

The quality of the companies the person has worked for     15 percent
Their titles 0 percent
Specific experience in the areas I need to hire 83 percent
Education (school and types/levels of degrees) 2 percent

How much does short job tenure or "job hopping" matter when you
are assessing whether a candidate is fit for a role?

It matters to a great extent     25 percent
It matters to some extent 62 percent
It doesn't matter 13 percent

What would you do if you saw a typo or bad grammar on a resume?

Disregard the candidate even if his or her qualifications met the
10 percent
Keep the candidate in the pool, with reservations 46 percent
Overlook the mistake if the person is qualified 44 percent

How many years of past experience should a candidate put on
his/her resume? (assuming they have a long work history)

5 years or less     1 percent
10 years or less 16 percent
15 years or less 24 percent
20 years or less 18 percent
Depends on the quality of the work history 41 percent

How do you view resumes prior to interviewing candidates?

On my laptop     44 percent
A printed copy 54 percent
On my mobile phone 2 percent
I don't review resumes prior to interviews 0 percent

Compared to 5 years ago, how important is attaching a cover
letter to a resume?

Significantly less important     26 percent
Somewhat less important 23 percent
The same 21 percent
Somewhat more important 8 percent
Significantly more important 21 percent

How much more likely are you to review a "creative" resume
(e.g. resume in a box, resume poster) vs. a traditional resume?

Much more likely     15 percent
Somewhat more likely 29 percent
Wouldn't make a difference 39 percent
Somewhat less likely 13 percent
Much less likely 4 percent

About Korn Ferry

Korn Ferry is the preeminent global people and organizational advisory
firm. We help leaders, organizations and societies succeed by releasing
the full power and potential of people. Our nearly 7,000 colleagues
deliver services through our Executive Search, Hay Group and Futurestep
divisions. Visit for more information.

More information on Futurestep can be found at

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