I was reviewing some resumes a little while ago for a position at our company and started realizing very quickly that they all came from the same mold. Growing up, most of us were taught a specific way to format and structure a resume so it would be more appealing to a potential employer. Add your name, objective, experience and skills. Fill in the blanks with as many big words as possible and hope for the best. We were taught to avoid pictures or fancy fonts and use plain old white paper. But over the years I’ve realized the flaws in this system from both sides of the equation and have struggled to grasp what a resume really means to an employer. So, are resumes really important anymore?
I remember graduating college, working hard at putting together my resume and creating enough cover letters to publish a book. I sent my resume off to twenty different companies hoping to hear back something, anything that might lead to a lucrative job. Days and weeks went by with no answer. I didn’t get one response from the HR departments at any of the companies to which I applied. I couldn’t get their attention. My frustration built and, with more and more free time on my hands, I decided to do something drastic. I created my first ever video resume.
Now I’m not necessarily saying that you should go out and put together a video resume. Heck, at the time I wasn’t even sure that I should be going out and putting together a video resume. In the end it was worth it because it got me in the door for interviews at a total of five places, one of which resulted in a job. This of course got me thinking, “Why did I work so hard on molding my resume so closely to the way everyone told me to do it?” I didn’t really have time to reflect on this question until just recently. From a business perspective, it’s much easier to glance at the skill sets of individuals subjectively when all of the resumes are on the same playing field. But with the increase in social media and the importance of creating an online identity for yourself, isn’t it more valuable to showcase your personality?
The thing I’ve learned is that resumes are only slightly important. They verify that the person you are looking at possesses the proper skill-set required for the position (and thus an interview.) However, and I know resume text books are going to hate me for this, add some personality. Of course, your industry will determine just how creative you can get, but if you’re passionate about what you do why not let it show in the first impression you make? Personally, I would much rather see a creative, thought-provoking resume than a cookie-cutter Microsoft Word template document with a whole lot of big words on it. I hate big words.