Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Resumes: are they outdated?

Are resumes even relevant anymore?
Google /online data gathering ability, Linked In profiles, Twitter summaries… it’s easy to uncover a candidate’s skill set, mindset and experience. Plus, the online communities often is vocal/visible in its support of the candidate so potential employers can easily judge success and leadership – at least at a superficial level.
Do companies want to hire people who have done a job before or do they want to hire a relevant skill set that can be applied across a variety of projects/fields?
Does a resume need to show related roles in a chronological progression or simply a filled chronological timeline?
Do gaps in a resume mean what they used to mean: unemployment? What about maternity leave? Immigrating? Emigrating? Moving provinces to support a partner? Skill upgrade time? Time to ponder passions and redirect skills? Illness?
In The Atlantic is an article about how a resume gap of longer than six months can mean employers won't hire you. The article presumes a status quo in how employers and potential employees approach filling a job. The candidate sees a posting; the candidate sends in a resume; the employer selects a few resumes for interviews; the position is filled.
It does still happen this way. However, job seekers also know this is the least likely way to find a job; employers know it's a random approach to sourcing the 'right' candidate. Networks, mentors, champions, online forums, informational coffees/interviews build stronger paths to success than hoping either a human or auto-filter will deem a resume fit for interview status.
While the resume remains the accepted tool to formally open a door, it still requires more than a chronological listing of jobs and duties. A resume should showcase your strengths, should tell a story and be coupled with a thoughtful introduction.
Will do everything right guarantee success? Nope. Rejection is a fact of life. But I don't buy the outdated thinking that your chronology is what determines your job seeking success.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just read your blog as well as the Atlantic article on the long-term unemployment. You’re bang on and I agree with you completely.

However, the irony of my situation was such that even as a "networker extraordinaire", a 2+ year unemployment resulted in:
0 job offers
0 offers from my "valuable" alumni networks (Queen’s, Waterloo)
1 close call from Rogers – intro provided by a professional 1st degree contact making an intro + recommendation
1 almost-offer for a 12 month mat leave fill – with my old team from 12 years earlier (we all knew I was 12 years "past" this role)
100’s of resumes in the vacuum of online job applications
Then TD specifically put out a request for "general managers" with a gap on their resumes as part of the Back to Business program. Voila, recognition! And a job offer.

So as an optimist, I’d like to think that my persistence and my networking would have also landed me a job, as you argue. But empirically, I have to say, in my experience, without TD’s explicit "let’s hire underemployed women & get them back in the work force", I’d still be looking for work, but enjoying a lot of coffee.

More food for thought!