Linkus Group | Why Resumes Don’t Matter, But Everything Else Does
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Why Resumes Don’t Matter, But Everything Else Does


Have you ever stopped to think about what a resume actually is?

In its most basic form, a resume is a document with a list of your contact details, your career objective, your education history, your work experience, and your skillset. The theory is that if you’re qualified for a position, you’ll submit an application, including your resume, you’ll land an interview and eventually, a job. While resumes continue to be a part of the standard practice of hiring (I still ask for them when I’m building out candidate profiles), they have not exactly kept up with the way hiring has evolved or the way we consume content.

Through the Internet, all things are possible, including looking for jobs, as well as looking for talent. For the most part, job seekers and hiring managers alike have turned to LinkedIn to do these things, so why is it still necessary to submit a resume online or through a job board? Did you know that only 14.9% of hires are made from a job board candidate? Today, networking is king when it comes to hiring. Up to 39.9% are made through employee referral programs. It has become more important now than ever to connect with people, both online and in person, beyond a simple, “It was great meeting you at that event, at that place, that one time.” Follow up. Invite them for coffee. Let them know you read the book they recommended and say why you liked it (or didn’t). Introduce them to someone that you think would be worth meeting to get yourself closer to that 39.9%.

Here are three reasons why resumes are out and people are in:


You’re More Than a One-Pager

Part of my frustration with resumes comes from the fact that that they completely dehumanize a process which, when you really think about it, should be 100% people-oriented. In my last post, I talked about creating a candidate-centric experience and how critical it is to hiring. When you look at a resume, you’re looking at an exhaustive list of things people have done and what they called themselves at work, but you’re not really looking at who they are, and how that can translate to the job you’re hiring for or to other parts of your organization. Think about what people do outside of work or what else they’ve done in their lives. For example, people who lived abroad will likely be more adaptable, flexible and self-aware since they’ve been immersed in different cultures. Those who played sports will likely be great with time management, relationship-building and communication. Candidates who play musical instruments will be more likely be disciplined, patient and confident. While these may be key skills you’re looking for in your next hire, you might not find them on a resume. Without getting the conversation started and learning more beyond what’s on that one page, you could be missing out on great talent for your team.


Have Done, Not Can Do

As I’ve mentioned already, resumes simply outline the things you’ve done. Unfortunately, they are not always indicative of the things you can do. Imagine you’re a new grad with little-to-no work experience. How do you find a job if your resume doesn’t demonstrate 5+ years of being in the workforce? Leverage your transferable skills. I’ll use myself as an example. When I graduated, I only had a 3-month internship under my belt, but I also had volunteer experience at school, part of which included cold-calling companies to get sponsors for an event. When I was looking for a job in recruitment, I made sure to highlight this as a key skill, as being on the phone is part of the job. While it wasn’t direct experience, it was still relevant to the jobs I was applying to, and hiring managers took note of that. That said, I can certainly see how this would be harder to apply to technical roles, where specific technical skills are required (we’d be in for a good laugh if you asked me to write a line of code or diagnose an issue on a production line). However, I still think there can be value in taking the transferable parts of those skills and applying it elsewhere. If, for example, your tech team uses a specific stack, and you’re having a tough time finding someone else who knows that exact language, would it not be worth opening your search up to a strong candidate who can write wicked code, albeit in another language, but who has an interest in the industry you’re in, or who believes in your product, and is willing to learn it? While the ramp up time may be longer, you’re getting someone who has a genuine desire to be part of what you’re up to and will work hard to be successful and make sure you are successful as well.


The ‘Boo’ in Boolean

I have a very real love-hate relationship with booleans. While I can completely appreciate their efficiency in terms of candidate identification, I find them to be a tad restrictive in this quest for efficiency. A lot of the time, booleans are broken down by job titles, and although you can search for Keywords and Skills as well, I find that I end up missing people because my search is then limited by whatever I choose to include in that specific string. Not everyone lists every single skill they possess, and today, companies are adopting more non-traditional job titles (ninjas, gurus, and rockstars, to name a few), meaning that these people will be left out of my search, even if they actually have the skills I’m looking for. Quite the conundrum, isn’t it? My workaround to this is to make a list of all the skills required for the role I am currently working on, and then think about what other jobs require those same skills, and what those people might be calling themselves online. For example, if you’re hiring a customer service representative, it’s worth looking outside of call centres and banks. Wouldn’t a Barista or a Guest Services Agent at a hotel require incredible customer service skills too?

While your experiences will always be important, I don’t think resumes will be. The more I speak to candidates, the more I’ve come to realize how important it is to look at the whole person, rather than simply a list of their job titles and companies they’ve worked at.

At the end of the day, you’re hiring the person, not the paper.


– Ashley Shoul

Recruitment Assistant at Linkus Group.

Connect with me on LinkedIn here.