I’ve been writing about the Human Capital Industry for most of two decades. Over that time, I’ve made a lot of forecasts and predictions. A surprising number of them were right on target. Unfortunately, a fair number were way, way off.
This past month, I’ve been involved in any number of conversations about the future of the resume. The LinkedIn IPO has made that a hot topic. I’m not so sure that the resume is dead.
But, here’s the text of an article I wrote forecasting the imminent demise of the resume.
We’ve been asking people some simple questions recently.
- Have You Recently Prepared A Resume?
- How Long Did It Take?
- Was There Any Pleasure Involved?
- When Do You Plan To Do It Again?
In general, anyone who has recently created a resume felt like they were forced to do so as a part of the job hunt. It took from one day to two weeks to accomplish. No one liked doing it. Almost everyone would rather not do it again.
Resumes are a baby boom era invention. They require a massive effort and a change in focus. The only people who enjoy creating them seem to found small businesses devoted to the subject. The obscure more than they disclose. They seem to require a kind of behavior that resembles outright lying.
Have you ever seen a resume that said…”In my last assignment, I screwed up the following things…Here’s what I learned?” It very rarely happens. It’s more likely that a resume will describe the accomplishment of an entire team instead of the accomplishments of an individual.
Resumes make their creators feel inadequate. The conventional wisdom says (roughly) “Get it all on one page; Tailor it to each opportunity; Emphasize Managerial Behavior; Show that you took responsibility; Provide evidence of problem solving skills.” Most people, however, don’t spend their time analyzing their track records in terms of how it will look on their Resume. People who do make lousy employees for the most part.
We’re tempted to think that the Resume was designed as a tool to create entry barriers on a market that featured an overabundance of workers and a scarcity of jobs. Because it forces people to characterize themselves in ways that are unnatural, almost no one feels really good about their Resume. No one wants to do it again.
In a labor market characterized by the need for speed, the Resume is an obvious target for reengineering. Given the flawed information that a standard resume contains and the pain it generates, we’re expecting to see relatively rapid changes as the software required to manage non-resume profiles gets better.