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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