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Whither the Resume?

July 26, 2011

There’s been a lot of chatter going on (for years actually) in regards to whether the resume will be going the way of the dodo bird, Kaboom cereal, and the tin-can telephone as a childhood toy.

“It’s definitely going away” say some. “Job candidates’ online/digital profiles are replacing the need to have a traditional resume!”

“It’s not going away anytime soon” say others.  “Reviewing the resume continues to be the preferred technique for initially assessing a candidate’s suitability for a position.”

Let me give you another take on the situation.  One can’t truly eliminate what was never fully there in the first place.  To wit:  there are still a number of job seekers who do not, even now in 2011, have a resume. 

How do I know this?  Because I’ve talked to them.   They call me up and ask if they can stop by my office to fill out an application form…because they don’t have a resume.  I see them walking in to stores and asking if they can pick up an application…because they don’t have a resume.  I observe them visiting booths at the (few) job fairs that are still held in my city and, when told they can leave a resume, they state that they don’t have one.

These are individuals applying for clerical positions, service jobs, manufacturing jobs and health care jobs.  They’re interested in working at the restaurants (where you eat), the day care center (where you drop off your kids every morning) and the department stores (where you go to buy those fancy Coach bags).  These are the blue-collar/skilled trades workers whose jobs were offshored and they find themselves out of work after 25 years.  These are the hard-working adults who’ve been unemployed, underemployed or have taken time off to raise a family or care for an elderly parent.  These are the job seekers for whom capturing a continuum of service jobs on a resume may be challenging:  6 months at EZ Mart, followed by 2 months unemployment, followed by 11 months at The Food Stop Café, followed by 8 months at St. Swithin’s Hospital, followed by 4 months unemployment…etc.

It may be 2011 but we still need to ask the question – how do we bring a number of working adults INTO the resume age?  

And that’s the challenge we face even before we start talking about the ‘end of the resume’ era.  The reality is that job applicants still need a resume.  They may be required to upload it as part of their online application to work at that restaurant or department store.  They certainly will need details/dates (as found on a resume) handy so that they can complete an online application, push ‘submit’ and send that online application humming its way on up to EZ Mart’s corporate HR department.  And even if s/he is filling out a paper application, the forklift operator candidate who includes a resume is providing a little something extra which just may land him/her the job – or at least the interview.

There are a number of job seekers who will never be concerned with their LinkedIn profile nor will they worry about their SEO so that a recruiter can find them when performing an online search to fill an open req.  These aren’t candidates working to increase their Klout score so they can use it to impress the hiring manager. These are job seekers who still need to understand that crafting a resume – old-fashioned, boring and predictable as it may be – continues to be the FIRST step they need to take when they’re searching for a job.

So no, the resume isn’t going anywhere.  Not quite yet anyway.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 26, 2011 9:58 am

    Robin –

    Thank you for this refreshing perspective. “Living” online as so many of us do, we tend to forget not everyone lives here too. I (almost daily) run into individuals whose work and career will probably never dictate a need for a complete online portfolio or even a LinkedIn presence. While I stress the importance of being found online to all my clients, I also understand it’s not a requirement for every position and career level out there.

    An online presence helps in being found, and helps land an interviews, but not for every industry and not for every position (as you indicated.) True, in every instance though — online or not — if the candidate can’t convey value and discuss accomplishments confidently during the interview the chance of landing a new position diminishes greatly.

    Doing the deep-dive introspection required to put together an effective resume (not a laundry list of job duties thrown together in 30 minutes) helps clients develop their core message. The resume-creation/self-analysis process lies at the center of all successful profiles.

    Individuals can use the compiled information to customize presentation, platform and voice appropriate to their specific industry. There are many, MANY, tools available to job seekers; not every tool is right for every person in every industry — select accordingly.

    You’re so right, creating an “old-fashioned, boring and predictable” resume (in the most up-to-date, effective and compelling way) , is the “FIRST step” in successful career management.

    Great post.

  2. Kris permalink
    July 26, 2011 4:25 pm


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