I still get asked – quite regularly, actually – about the importance of a resume as one moves through the selection process. Your resume (and other job search documents) actually become more important as the competition becomes tighter.
Let me explain.
We all know that an outstanding resume is a critical component of an effective job search. However, we tend to forget the valuable role the resume can play during the interview and selection process. An outstanding, achievement-focused resume can set you apart in a sea of mediocre job search documents, and not just initially. As you move through the process, your resume continues to represent you.
Once the candidate pool has been whittled down, your resume becomes even more important. For instance, after you have secured an interview, the resume can help to steer the conversation. What you include on the resume can serve as a jumping off point for the interview and may focus the interviewer's attention on those achievements about which you are most proud and / or most prepared to speak.
Finally – and in many ways, most importantly – an outstanding resume and any associated documents (cover letter, follow up letter, thank you letter) can serve as a tie-breaker when just a few candidates remain.