What is a Networking Resume? 

You’ve likely heard the advice that it’s important to tailor your resume, and also modify it based on the specific job requirements. This advice is absolutely true, BUT what if you meet someone influential who can directly refer you to the decision maker? A detailed resume may not be the best tool to give this person. Instead, sharing a crisp, impactful, and meaningful one-page networking resume has the power to encapsulate your  career journey and get more traction in your search by drawing a quick picture of your brand value. 

This resume can be a tool for you to keep on hand and give to friends, colleagues, peers, recruiters in order to showcase your strengths without providing a full resume.

A networking resume is also an excellent option for entrepreneurs or consultants as a way to synthesize work history when applying for an award, speaking engagement, project bid, or entertaining a business meeting with a potential client. 

This type of resume can help you initiate meaningful conversations about how you can solve an employer’s problem or meet a specific organizational goal/need. You can utilize this resume to effectively convey your professional offerings while maximizing your time in networking with trusted contacts. 

Essentially, the networking resume is a “down and dirty” document that is specifically targeted to explaining who you are and highlights the value you bring to an employer within seconds. 

How Does a Networking Resume Differ from a Bio?

Bios tend to be more narrative, history-oriented, and in paragraph form. In contrast, a networking resume is future-focused and formatted in such a way to give freedom to use bullets, graphs, and colors to highlight the analytical details. 

Adding a biography along with the networking resume can offer the employer, recruiter, or key networking contact a complete snapshot of your career story and expertise relevant to the targeted role. Often, Boards of Directors, C-suite leaders, and company owners prefer to read a biography, which can then be followed up with the one-page (or full) resume, or vice versa. 

How Should You Use a Networking Resume? 

It may seem obvious that a networking resume is used for, well, networking, but are there other opportunities to use the tool? Our members think so. 

  • Personal Networking: A networking resume is ideal for jobseekers who are meeting contacts for coffee, at networking events, and for informational interviews. Sometimes, friends or family members want to “take a look” at the resume to learn a bit more, and the one-page resume can be the best tool for that interaction. 
  • Networking Events: The networking resume is appreciated by contacts who find a full resume overwhelming. This is most often at a networking venue or job club, or in the case of presenting a resume to a contact who will then forward it to recruiters or employers to gauge their interest. 
  • Invigorating Stalled Conversations: Hiring processes can meander and occasionally stall. This document can be sent with a follow-up email reminding recruiters and decision-makers as to why you are the best candidate for the job as it outlines your top attributes. This makes you stand out as a candidate who does more than the others. 

What Sections are Included in a Networking Resume? 

If a one-page networking resume is a different tool than a traditional resume, how do they differ in terms of content? 

Keep in mind that your top accomplishments and results must be featured prominently, in addition to branding headlines, job targets, and keywords for an easy-to-read, yet hard-hitting brand message. 

Key Sections 

  • Name & Contact Information 
  • Targeted Headline / Tagline: This should stay to-the-point and impactful, and typically can contain the same heading and tagline of the resume that is not the same, but parallels, the resume.
  • Summary + Leadership & Top Contributions: There are many ways to assemble this section or sections. Sometimes you see a summary handling all these segments. Sometimes you see them being separated into two sections. Other times the specific top contributions are rolled into career progression/employment history. 
  • Career Progression: It is not necessary to list the entire career chronology. Live in the present! Go back only ten years, listing companies the jobseeker worked for with the job titles and corresponding dates. In the networking resume, select three to four significant achievements to highlight from your career that can help you stand out. Key results replace the elongated details of the work history. Focus on metrics, key processes, and other value-adds that help you stand out in the role. 
  • Board & Advisory Roles or Volunteer Leadership. Include as appropriate. 
  • Formal Education: Education should only be a couple of lines, but this section can also include Affiliations, Training, and Publications (as they apply to the target). Since this is a smaller section, creativity can be used in placement and design. 

What’s the Style & Format of a Networking Resume? 

When it comes to formatting a networking resume, know the target audience(s) and include key employer preferences. Ideally, this strategy caters to what a particular employer values most. In one case, an employer may value education, such as a Bachelor’s degree in business administration or a major in the science of information management. In another case, the employer may place more value on interpersonal communication or skills in verbal or written materials. This can often be determined by reviewing open job descriptions. 

The key strategies for creating a stand-out networking resume are to feature value-added content, and results-driven accomplishments using visual infographics, charts, or graphs. Testimonials or quotes are also effective in highlighting the candidate’s offerings and performance. Design and formatting are significant to draw the eye to the relevant information. Relevance and conciseness of content are important to capture the accomplishments in a few seconds. 

Considerable strategic planning and information gathering along with sound judgment are required to make this document very distinct from the other brand marketing documents. The profile summary, work history/experience, and education sections need to be strategically written since the resume length is usually condensed to one page. 

With every word significant on a one-page resume, it is important to include information in a sleek format. For instance, entire career chronology and dates employed can be listed in one line per position (five jobs, five lines). This allows for a quick review of employment history—e.g., longevity, promotions. 

A networking resume lives and dies by the job description. Only include your achievements and transferable skills that apply to the position requirements. 

The resume content must also fit the target like a hand in a glove. So, yes, this often means leaving off achievements that are unrelated to the target to make room for those that are. Why include all career successes if they do not apply to the position? 

Similar to career resumes, the networking resume’s format depends on your background. If you are in sales, marketing, or creative roles, the document might have less words and more graphs. The style utilized can be simple to more sophisticated with a splash of refreshing color added depending upon your needs, brand, and audience. A networking resume is often submitted directly to networks, so it is not usually passed through the ATS system. 

Good luck!

Mary Southern, M.Ed | www.resumeassassin.com