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Career and job search help for creative professionals.

Blue Sky Resumes is a small team of professional writers and job search experts. We offer one-of-a-kind resumes, smart career advice and fantastic customer service. This is our blog.


Don’t Kill Your Resume – Operate On It!


This post by Michael at Human Race Horses makes an argument that I hear often. In these days of social media and web-based job search, can a resume really do the job? Michael thinks not:

Another personal reason for wanting to kill my resume is that in looking at this little historical snapshot from so long ago – slightly over two years – it is is really shocking to realize that it does nothing to communicate anything at all about me that I would want to put out if I were job searching. It doesn’t effectively reflect:

* extensive skills in social media
* knowledge and expertise of Hr and how it applies to today’s work environment
* research skills, especially deep skills on the net
* networking
* blogging, writing and thought leadership

He wonders then whether he shouldn’t scrap his resume in favor of online profiles where he can better communicate these skills. But this is the part of the ‘resume is dead’ argument that I don’t understand. People say to me all the time “I can’t capture who I am in a resume” and I always ask them the same question: Why not?

Is it because words are just not adequate to describe the wonder that is you? Unlikely!

More likely it’s because you are being limited by what you imagine a resume should be. If you step outside the box (sorry for the cliche!) a little, you might see lots of ways to convey who you are and what you have to offer a company. For example, Michael could begin with a summary that outlines the skills he mentioned above, complete with links where appropriate, but then he could go on to provide evidence of these skills through action-oriented achievement stories and even by quoting testimonials from LinkedIn, or thank you letters from blog readers, or by listing training he’s completed or e-books he’s written, or by numerous other means to show that he is indeed a thought leader in his field.

If his resume were to do all that, it would generate phone calls and interviews.

As for the web profiles, it doesn’t have to be either/or. I like to end my client’s resumes with a section called ‘on the web’ or ‘learn more’ where I list their career-related web profiles and/or blogs. It can also be effective to add the statement ‘feel free to google my name for more information’ to either your resume or cover letter – nothing conveys more confidence than telling people to go look you up.

I’m not defending the resume because I make my living writing resumes – after all, if resumes go away, I’ll probably make my living writing web profiles instead. I’m just not sure that the answer to an outdated style of resume writing is to blow up the entire concept of resumes. At least, not yet.

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About the Author

Louise Fletcher

Louise co-founded Blue Sky in 2002 after a career as an HR executive. Her industry experience includes music, video games, fashion and advertising. She lived and worked in the US for many years, but moved back to her native UK in 2012, where she now lives in the Yorkshire countryside. In addition to her full-time role with Blue Sky, she's a professional artist, so you can imagine why she couldn't answer the 'what do you do with your free time' question! Contact Louise by email.

5 comments on “Don’t Kill Your Resume – Operate On It!”

  1. Let’s imagine what resumes could look like if Web 2.0 concepts were applied.

    Video as part of the resume, not as the resume?

    Tagging to help people searching for your skills find you?

    Aggregated feeds of comments and discussion from professional sites, detailing your thinking

    The same for blogs, publications

    Links to quotes in magaizines, articles, books, the press…

    I am thinking it doesn’t have to be a static written vehicle any more!

    Thanks for the response!

  2. He wonders then whether he shouldn’t scrap his resume in favor of online profiles where he can better communicate these skills.

    —————————
    Oh, Louise! What’s the diff between a visualcv and a resume? One’s online and one isn’t.

    I love visualcv and the capacity it brings to post audios and videos and whatever). When I was first approached about it I said ho-hum — but I was wrong.

    Still, it’s only a resume on steroids. Inotherwords, it’s mainly a resume.

    And I’m an online guy and I like online things but if you kill your standard, Word formatted resume you might as well shoot yourself as well because you have to meet the market where it is and as far as I know every recruiter wants a Word resume.

    We don’t even like pdf.

  3. I agree with you Louise- resume’s aren’t dead yet, nor will they ever completely lose their value. At some point, functional experience, listing of results of past work/accomplisment/previous employers, and hard skills aptitudes must be communicated to future employers. If the argument is that these are built into social media, then all we’re talking about is where the resume lives and in what format. If you post all of you background, hard skills, areas of expertise on a linkedin account, that IS a resume. However, most people keep their social media profiles at a much higher level- a 30,000 foot view, if you will. It is also common to use these to inflate experience and qualifications, so many people leave out the small details (thinking of Dwight Schrute in THE OFFICE- Assistant TO the Regional Manager v. Assistant Regional Manager).

  4. Louise Fletcher says:

    Hi Michael,

    I do agree with you that all those things would be great – Visual CV is a nice tool for that. As is Nombray.com (different but a nice idea). I just think there’s a lot you can do with a resume and that you still need one – and will for many years to come.

    Recruiting Animal, that’s the point I’ve been making all along – until the push to replace the resumes comes from recruiters and not from job seekers or career coaches, it will be doomed to fail. The job seeker needs to communicate in a way that works with recruiters’ systems and needs. Until something changes, people should write their resume in a way that works for recruiters AND communicates all the stuff they want to communicate. It just takes thinking a little differently about what to do with that Word document.

    Jason, I must see Dwight Shrute’s LinkedIn profile 😉

  5. Another ‘Web 2.0’ concept that may find its way into resumes: content created by others.

    This is already present to some degree in LinkedIn recommendations and in testimonials quoted on resumes.

    Animal, why does a resume have to be offline? I think of “resume” in the sense of “summary”…online/offline is the medium, not the message. Content is key wherever it lives.

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