As you’ve made a decision to read this piece, I suspect you’re interest in doing so is from one of two perspectives: 1) you’re a job seeker who is elated with the thought of no longer having to put together the dreaded resume or 2) you’re a resume writing professional who is interested in knowing what’s going to replace it.
The traditional resume hasn’t dramatically changed a great deal over time; it’s still that 1-5 pages (“5 pages!” I hear some of you gasp) which lays out your qualifications, current and past experience and education. The resume has traditionally been your personal marketing document, hopefully making you one of, if not the most attractive applicant to have in for a chat. It’s been your first impression on an employer; on paper anyhow.
Some months ago now, I read a job posting on a very traditional employment website. It was remarkable only by the method of application. Instead of requesting people apply with a resume, the posting advised applicants to write them a, ‘get to know me’ essay, the subject being to share some major accomplishment. The ad even went so far as to say and I quote: “We’re not really impressed with resumes”.
Well, that caught my attention. First thing I did after reading this was to zero in on the employer to find if this was a minor or major player. Turns out it was for an outdoors adventure store that has a chain of operations. I was intrigued with this approach enough to contact the employer and have a conversation in order to determine what has prompted this approach.
The company noticed the many resumes they were receiving looked very much the same. The words they included in their job postings were showing up consistently in the resumes they received, but when invited in for an interview, few of the applicants actually possessed the right combination of personality and passion in addition to experience in the outdoors. The standard resume isn’t a good tool for communicating personality, drive and passion. Their essay style of application is their attempt to hear people’s enthusiasm through their words. Grip the reader and you’ll grip the customer.
A second indicator that times are changing has to do with the increasing emergence of Recruiters in non-traditional areas of the employment market. In the past, they generally worked with senior executives; those in high income brackets and high on the organizational chart. With many people out of work, many have created their own jobs and become Recruiters themselves. As more and more Recruiters spring up, the market they have traditionally tapped into had to expand, and so you’ll see them at every level, working with people in mid and entry level positions too.
When these Recruiters go about their business, they certainly want a paper resume but it’s what they do with the information on it that is impacting and changing the application process. These folks are not approaching employers with resumes but rather with conversations that build relationships. By building relationships with employers, they come to know what the employers are looking for, their issues and challenges and their hiring needs. They then have further conversations referencing those they are working with to find employment that have what the employer is looking for. In short, the Recruiter advocates on behalf of a job seeker with the employer, and ensures the applicant knows the employers expectations and needs. The Recruiters livelihood depends on making a solid referral that turns into a hired employee.
The resume is a formality in the above scenario, where the company is intrigued because they trust the Recruiter to refer people who will be a good fit. This process saves the company time to advertise jobs, scan resumes, create short lists, interview applicants, and further interview applicants just to get to the potential employee.
Now imagine a third way that makes the traditional resume redundant. A company posts a job opening, with a brief description of the requirements. No resume is required to be transmitted. Instead they request interested applicants send a recording video of themselves, stating their qualifications and their motivation. In addition to employment accomplishments and qualifications, the employer gets to see and hear the person. Now they are assessing tone of voice, enthusiasm, communication skills, appearance, technological skills, attention to detail and the ability to show themselves at their best. You’ve heard you should smile during a telephone interview as it affects your presentation. Now they can hear and see the impact of your smile – or the lack of it. If they don’t like what they hear and see, they’ve only invested seconds.
Best get prepared now for the major changes that have already started and are going to be the norm in the near future. You can already view applicant’s photos on their LinkedIn profiles, and in some cases, watch recordings of people self-marketing themselves to potential employers – again on their LinkedIn profile pages.
As a job seeker who may hate making a resume, you may applaud or be upset with changes coming. As a professional helping the unemployed find work, it is important to stay up on emerging trends and help your clients with cutting edge advice.
Sure beats photocopying and distributing 50 copies of a standard resume and hoping for a bite. Now that’s really getting old.