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Because We've Always Done It This Way is NOT a Strategy | "Resumes Suck" Edition

On occasion I come across interesting articles written by thought leaders from all types of industries representing all types of points of view. The one thing they have in common is their refusal to accept "because we've always done it this way" as a legitimate excuse for why we're doing a stupid thing. For instance, resumes suck and we should quit depending on them.

Just because when you looking for a job you were required to submit a resume ... that's not a reason why you need to require resumes for your jobs.

Just because resume-writing was a class you took in college or a service you purchased once ... that's not a reason why you need to require resumes for your jobs.

Just because all the other businesses require resumes to "screen" their applicants ... that's not a reason why you need to require resumes for your jobs.

The only reason you should include something as a feature or function of your company's hiring process is that it is the best way to get what you need. Kathy Rapp, CEO of hrQ, articulates a compelling argument about why resumes suck and are the WORST way to get what you need. She suggests resumes be tossed out of the hiring process altogether.

You can read the full post by Kathy Rapp below:


I spoke at a conference 5 years ago in which I declared, “resumes suck”. The context was about over-inflated resumes filled with key words, and on the other side, employers who dismiss great talent based on a piece (or 10) of paper. In short, resumes needed to be retired and replaced with a more dynamic way of matching talent with needs.

Yet in 2018, we will still ask for traditional resumes, and expect internal and external recruiters to work magic when it comes to attracting high-demand talent and needed skill sets. WHY?!?

Let’s go back to why resumes suck. From a recent FastCompany article:

Technology has changed the marketplace, and HR is the only vertical that hasn’t seen a rapid transition, says Carisa Miklusak, CEO of the algorithmic hiring platform tilr. “Right now tech isn’t giving people a fair opportunity to compete,” she says. “Before you blame the resume, you need to understand that they’re a byproduct of old employer values. Titles and years of experience are no longer a person’s number-one currency.”

Resumes also:

  • Put an emphasis on titles – We all know titles mean different things in different organizations. Plus, there’s the continued movement to be creative with titles, such as “Chief Happiness Officer”, “Director of First Impressions”, “Ambassador of Buzz”.

  • Are static – And who out there wants to update their resume every month?!!

  • Don’t identify on-demand talent – No gig worker is going to put a resume in your ATS and expect to be called for a project need.

  • Slow up the process – Which is why 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn and other social tools. The rest…well, they must live on an island with very poor internet connectivity.

  • Highlight experiences over results – We need to be looking for skills and how those skills generated results. Not how many years someone has worked in “X” industry/role.

In addition to needing to identify the results of someone’s work, millions of people will be acquiring new skills that may have nothing to do with their past occupation or experience.

From McKinsey:

The changes in net occupational growth or decline imply that a very large number of people may need to shift occupational categories and learn new skills in the years ahead. The shift could be on a scale not seen since the transition of the labor force out of agriculture in the early 1900s in the United States and Europe, and more recently in China.

We estimate that between 400 million and 800 million individuals could be displaced by automation and need to find new jobs by 2030.

75 million to 375 million may need to switch occupational categories and learn new skills.

The future of work is here. We are in an ever-evolving era of a new workforce in which technology and where and how people want to work will impact how successful an organization will be. Freelancers, Gig Workers, On-Demand Talent, Independent Consultants are all a huge chunk of this new workforce and bring needed skill sets in a just-in-time scenario. Our people strategies need to progress and will require a non-traditional approach.

How HR leaders adapt their people strategies to identify and harness talent and skills will be paramount to their own success, not to mention their organizations.

And the ability to pull off that strategy won’t show up in a traditional resume.

The original post by Kathy Rapp first appeared on Fistful of Talent

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