Are Resumes Dead or just Mislabelled?

Are Resumes Dead or just Mislabelled?

I’m seeing a lot of buzz around articles from USA Today and CBS News about how the resume as we know it is dead (or very near death). Let me quickly address the sensationalism behind all of this and then we’ll get practical.

The Sensationalism

The stories being covered are for tech and marketing positions. Basically positions where the person will live on social networks, so it makes sense to test them out via those networks. In fact, I think it’s very clever. I’ve seen a lot of “social media experts” talk their way into jobs or speaking gigs but when you really press them, they’re just as confused as you are. It’s the equivalent of calling someone who adds oil to their car a “mechanic”.

In short, something extravagant is being passed off as common. Just because one company or sector is doing something doesn’t mean it’s applicable to everyone else.

The Practical

The resume isn’t dead, but it is mislabelled. It’s not an insightful document into a person’s work history and educations—it’s a marketing document. Maybe that’s why a marketing company wants to do away with it – because they realize that.

Let’s consider this: the candidate writes the resume (or hires someone else to do it), they decide what content appears, in what order, in what language, and in what style. Sounds like marketing to me. Every bullet point on that resume has a story to accompany it. Every job has a list of things the candidate did well and areas where they could improve (but still manage to shine).

This piece of paper in front of you
has one sole purpose: to get whomever handed it to you hired.

It’s About Balance

how to hire

I created the diagram above to show the ideal way to conduct your interview. You give equal weight to the Resume, the Interview, and a Pre-Employment Test. The resume and interview are subjective while the test is objective and that’s on purpose. You’re still hiring a person, someone that you need to get to know, someone that you’ll have to tolerate working with, and that requires some contact and context.

However, since most of us make snap judgements about people—in 5 second, 30 second, and 5 minute intervals, with that 5 minute mark pretty much locked into our brains—you need something to snap you out of whatever positive or negative opinion you’ve formed and present you with solid truth.

Don’t Skip The Resume, Skip The Sensational

Let’s not get caught up in the sexy buzz of some article or think that just because some wacky marketing company does something that we should copy them. Instead, let’s bring balance to our hiring methods and stay objective.

Are you ready to throw out resumes, or do you think they’re still valid? Share your thoughts in the comments below.