They Say the Resume is Dead! Is It?

I recently came across an article on Yahoo Finance that talks about companies moving away from accepting resumes, instead focusing on evaluating applicants’ work samples. While this may seem like a sound idea to some, as as resume writer I just can’t let this notion slide without putting my two cents in.

In the article, Bob Pritchett, the CEO of Faithlife, does not like the idea of picking out candidates based on their resumes: he contends that “most [resumes] seem to look the same to him,” he wants “evidence of what [candidates] can do, or what they’ve done in the past,” and feels that resumes don’t show him anything about “[candidates’] actual abilities.”

Well, I’m here to tell you that this is the best ringing endorsement on the value of a GOOD resume; one that highlights the applicant’s relevant skills, quantifies accomplishments, and includes meaningful, specific examples of expertise.

It is true that the great majority of job seekers are not good resume writers. They don’t have the required skill set to evaluate their own career history, extract meaningful details, and format a resume to reflect who they are as a professional. The real job of a professional resume writer is clear: to take an objective look at the details of a client’s work history in order to create a career document that highlights accomplishments, quantifies results, and draws attention to the client’s specific value to the next employer. Of course, this is easier said than done, which is why Bob Pritchett and many other hiring managers are wary of reading through yet another boring resume that doesn’t show what the candidate can do for THEM.

The truth is, most resumes out there are just plain bad. They are nothing more than a collection of job duties and a list of past employers and dates of employment. These resumes do nothing to sell the job seeker to the hiring manager. No wonder some are attempting to move away from resumes; they are sick and tired of reading “fluff” that doesn’t tell them anything about what the candidate can actually do!

I urge job seekers to consider what using a bad resume is really costing them – their job search is prolonged, they are not seen as the expert in their field, and the offer they do get months down the road may not be what they were hoping for. On the other hand, consider the alternative; a relevant, impressive resume document that clearly shows the reader who you are and what value you can bring to them. Such a document, even briefly reviewed by the hiring manager, is sure to land you an interview.

Even if a few employers are moving away from using resumes, I contend that resumes are, and will always be, a crucial tool in the job search process. It is the “face” you present to employers even before you meet face-to-face. It is the one single document that shows potential employers why their company can’t afford to NOT have you on board. Don’t blow your chance at a good first impression by submitting a poorly written resume.

If an employer asks for work samples, or specific evidence and examples of what you can do, then so be it – show them the proof! The employer in this article wants to see and hear concrete examples of what you can bring to the table. Attach links, documents, and other proof of your expertise, but don’t forget the resume!!!