Monday, July 6, 2009

Is the Resume dead?

With high unemployment rates (9%?) and jobs becoming harder and harder to find, esp for new grads, is the resume dead?

The resume, or the "Curriculum vitae" is a listing of experience and qualifications. While there are a large variety of formats and a larger body of recommendations for how to write a resume, the concept is to display what you have done in the past that will qualify you for the future. As technology has progressed, resumes seem to have boiled down to documents sent through key word searches or quickly scanned and parsed by a Human Resources professional.

Just because an applicant has a well presented and written resume or a large list of qualifications, there is still no guarantee that they will work for the company or that the company is the right fit for them. In fact, the flat, stale document only tells a small story that can make the matching process almost impossible for anyone who is not highly experienced or in some cases, just lucky.

So what solution is there for this problem? With the trend in technology towards the sharing of more and more information, shouldn't the resume also get a face lift? Why not present a more holistic approach where the elements that makes up a person's life are included in the hiring determination process? Already places like Facebook, MySpace and even Twitter are being examined, sometimes without the prospects knowledge. Why not make this information part of the process for the applicant?

My proposed solution is for prospective employees to scrap the online application process. Instead of having to fill out the same forms for every application, this information should be included in our online representation of ourselves. Entered once, privacy can be placed around it so that it is not visible to the general public but could be quickly sent out to companies of our choosing. In this ideal representation, an individual can keep record of all the activities they feel are relevant and then these will be displayed as a listing of credentials.

The benefit of leaving it to the user to update their profile, is in their choosing of activities worth listing. While they may participate in ten activities, the two or three they then write into their profile are going to be the ones they enjoyed the most. Essentially this filtering allows for the individual to lay out their interests and passions for all to see. Companies can then find the people who are most likely to enjoy the job they need filled based on a quick search of public profiles.

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