Your resume is only 10% of why a company hires you—here's what to focus on instead

Korn Ferry CEO Gary Burnison
Photo courtesy of Korn Ferry

You've probably been led to believe that a good resume is the key to landing your dream job.

But Gary Burnison, CEO of executive search firm Korn Ferry, says one of the biggest mistakes job seekers make is thinking their resume accounts for 90 percent of the job search process, when it really only accounts for 10.

In his book, "Lose the Resume, Land the Job," he writes, "Yes, you still need to have a resume, but don't expect it to be more than a calling card, a conversation opener."

Networking, he says, is a step that many people forget about, despite the fact that it's one of the most crucial parts to finding your next job. Making an effort to connect with people face-to-face, be it at an event or through a mutual friend, can easily put your resume at the top of the pile and into the right hiring manger's hands.

Korn Ferry CEO Gary Burnison
Photo courtesy of Korn Ferry

"You have to be proactive in that," he says. "If you are just blindly sending out resumes then you might as well just go down to 7-Eleven and buy a lottery ticket."

Matt Youngquist, career coach and president of Career Horizons tells NPR that "at least 70 percent, if not 80 percent, of jobs are not published." Yet, he says, most people spend a majority of their time surfing the web for their next opportunity when they should be out networking.

Rather than getting in the habit of sending out endless resumes in hopes that you'll catch the attention of at least one employer, you should first take a step back and really assess the type of job you want.

"Start with purpose and happiness and an honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses," says Burnison. "Then target the cities and industries that you want to work in, and then do the networking."

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