A Resume, or CV comes from the Latin words for “The Course of One’s Life”. Whether you’re 16 or 56, I highly doubt whether you feel that the course of your life – your struggles, your victories, your learnings, your qualifications, your hot dinners, your cold ones – could ever come close to being cut down into eloquently worded lists, peppered with professional terminology and confident declarations.
If I had to think of my biggest learnings in life and how I’ve used them to accelerate or facilitate my career, most of them didn’t take place in a classroom, nor did they have a neat little letter or score to prove how well I learnt them.
Furthermore, it’s a big statement but it’s a big truth people: *looks both ways* EVERYONE LIES ANYWAY. There’s the obvious ones that are just bound to lead to awkward situations a few months down the track like speaking another language or going to a certain college or school. Then of course, there’s the myriad of “embellishments” or “tactical omissions” that we’re all guilty of. Being the only member of the HR department for example, may become “Managed the HR team”. A quick start-date change may conceal a lengthy career break spent back at mum and dad’s taking extended travel periods searching for one’s soul at the bottom of a UV paint-flecked bucket on a beach in Boracay. A filtered photograph taken by a photographer friend after a bout of food poisoning ten years ago may become a slightly misleading LinkedIn profile photo.
So where to from here?
All of this leads me to declare from behind my keyboard here on a Monday afternoon: the resume is officially dead.
With technical advances and greater legal ramifications, companies are using independent third party tools and specialised employment applications more and more in order to reduce the opportunities for these kinds of “embellishments” of the truth. Even in the case of a traditional hiring process which best case scenario, will involve a good HR department, trained in the specific field they are hiring for, an automated Reference Checking system plus time spent on lengthy phone discussions with referees from past roles; a resume becomes redundant when it comes to identifying true talent.
How to write a great resume you ask? In my new, resume-less world – there’d be more profound measurements of success and learning ability than arbitrary letters or numbers. Productivity in the workplace would be engineered by hiring managers that recruited not for job titles, but for skills and characteristics that their current workforce lacks or needs to improve on. But until we get to that place…. my point is: don’t spend weeks drafting, editing and designing a Resume with perfectly formatted spaces and beautiful fonts. The Resume is just an expression of interest in the role these days so keep it short, simple and specific to that role or company in particular, and in the meantime – build up your tangible life experience and learnings with as many different roles, companies, professional and personal environments as possible. If you don’t know how to do something, have a go at it and then review. Practise and ask questions along the way. Don’t say you can speak Latin if you can’t.
“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them” (Aristotle)