Should Resumes Be Killed

Posted by Chrissa Dockendorf

Help should resumes be thrown awayThroughout history the resume has transformed from a record you handed to an interviewer after you met with them to a barrier to entry into getting a job. Maybe that is why so much innovation happened during those times, we were judging people based on conversations we had rather than a sheet of paper we hope accurately reflects our abilities

Job seekers spend hours writing, formatting, cutting, and rewriting their resumes to fit the job description. Every detail is reviewed and agonized over in hopes of getting their foot in the door. So many rules pop up around how a resume should be written:

It should be 1 page, no 2 pages!

Functional vs Chronological

Where do I put my education?

Is an objective statement still necessary?

What font do I use?

Do I have enough bullet points?

Do I have enough action words?

Did I address that gap in my work history properly?

The list goes on.

Then when you apply for a job often you never hear from anyone. You don’t know if the ATS ate your resume, if their information was parsed correctly or whether a human will ever lay eyes on it.

Assessing a person’s skill set based on their ability to write a resume only gets the people in the door that have “resume writing” as a skill. It doesn’t properly vet their writing abilities or their knowledge nor does it truly evaluate innovative thinking. Resumes also allow for bias to creep in. I’m sure you remember when Jose became Joe and was finally able to get a job. And the bias doesn’t stop at a name.

The structure of the resume, the grammar you use, even your education and address all create barriers to entry. The recruiter might not be aware that they are doing it, but unconscious bias keeps certain candidates out of the pool.

This is not a new conversation. If you Google “death of the resume” you will get countless articles/blogs/posts going back several years about the impending doom of the resume. Some companies and people have been trying to kill it for years but the resume is like a cockroach ever surviving the apocalypse. But as social communities continue to grow we will see a changing tide in the way people are applying to jobs. Your time is up cockroach!

Which means for you as a candidate, you must evolve as well. Burn your resume and take notice of what companies are looking to do or should be looking to do next.

Companies are responding to the next generation and how they function within technology. With that in mind, companies are going to have to look for new ways to evaluate talent if they want people to apply for their jobs. Recruiters already use social media, blogs and web presence when we are sourcing for talent. It shows us that you actually know what they are talking about- TANGIBLE PROOF! Then we ask you to take what we already know you know and put it into a structured tome. No more! Tell that Recruiter that your online presence clearly showcases your skill set and you will not be reduced to a piece of paper.

Some companies are using gamification and contests to bring in potential candidates. In the future I believe you will see online challenges, campaigns, crowd sourcing solutions, social interviewing and algorithm based matching replace the traditional application process. Prepare yourself for this shift. Do some research and see how you can be more discoverable online. If you are ahead of the curve you will show your resilience and flexibility which are skills most employers are seeking.

Hard skills can be taught so why shouldn’t companies home grow their candidate pool? We did it before and saw great success! During WWII when all the men were shipped off to war the women were brought in and trained how to do their jobs. No resume, just training.I won’t get into what happened after the men returned, my point is companies didn’t have time to try and find candidates that already had the skills, those candidates were all fighting a war! They saw a need and they filled it by training those available to them.

Generation Z is looking for those types of companies as they get ready to enter the workforce. The way they learn has changed, they are doing a lot of learning online and going to college with a career in mind and often with work experience from side hustle gigs. Student debt is a big consideration for them and many are looking to avoid the same burden their parents still carry.

Companies that offer training opportunities to entry-level candidates based on their soft skills will attract new applicants. No experience means no resume. So assessing a candidate’s skills will need to be determined in a more hands-on way. Even if you aren’t in Gen Z you should take notice of this trend as it will impact you as an applicant. This is also an opportunity that those looking to change careers should take advantage of. Seek out companies that will help you grow your career into the future.

Change won’t happen until HR/Recruiting professionals all agree to off the resume. So if you want the resume to die then write to your Congress—er HR Representative! Tell them to kill the resume and run head first into the future!

Chrissa DockendorfChrissa Dockendorf is a recruiting resource manager for g2, Inc., and program support / social media manager for Redefining Women in Tech. She is a supporter of diversity and equity efforts, addicted to coffee, and mom to 4. 

This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 29, 2018 12:53 pm

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