Retire the Resume by Dr. Kandis Boyd
Updated: Mar 28
The Great Resignation is the new term coined to the thousands of Americans who are quitting their jobs in pursuit of their passion. People are leaving for a multitude of reasons - I hate my boss, they don’t respect me, they are trying to push me out, my job perceives me as old, I don’t feel attached to a company, and the list goes on and on. In short, companies have failed to retain key employees because of a lack of retention tactics focused on providing the employee with the tools to succeed;
1. Training - providing resources to ensure employees have ongoing professional training
2. Flexibility - providing remote work, telework, and hybrid work environments as well as flexible start and end times
3. Appreciation - recognizing individuals for both little and big accomplishments
4. Company culture - developing an equitable and inclusive environment that recognizes everyone's contributions
5. Salary - providing wages and benefits that are competitive in the industry
6. Promotion potential - providing the ability to provide upward mobility
7. Work-life balance - enable workers to have time off to address personal issues
Every job field has been affected by the great resignation, but especially skill sets which can be executed in a remote setting thanks to the use of modern technology. As a result, companies have had to pivot to rely on recruiters to find qualified applicants as well as adopt faster application processes to address gaps in the workforce. Which begs the question - are resumes still relevant?
Recruiters and experts have expressed that resumes are bad for business because they are an inflated and false sense of reality, and resumes only highlight your professional achievements. The reality is, all of us have had failures, but that never appears on a resume. In addition, one’s personal life shapes their professional life, but you rarely hear about how life’s challenges (marriage, divorce, relocation, illness, death, births, etc) have made you a better person. Most standard resumes are two pages in length, but for the aforementioned reasons they can falsely represent someone who is full of potential in real life, but not on paper. Resumes miss a person’s passion, motivation, struggles, and failures, how one has overcome obstacles, and if someone is willing to face their fears. Therefore, a two-page summary of one’s professional life does not provide the true context and background of the person.
A resume can serve as a writing sample and highlight what you can convey in a work setting. However, some argue that resumes are irrelevant because it does not help the selecting official understand if you will be a good fit for the company culture. A job is more than just executing duties, it’s interacting with people, showing creativity, working toward deadlines, building relationships, and ensuring the company’s success. All of these items are not found in a 2-page resume. Some key aspects of the resume include;
1. Contact Information
2. Career Objective(s)
3. Positions (paid and volunteer) listed in chronological order
7. Position-specific information (as defined in the job description)
While there is no one format for a resume, a resume can be overlooked if it includes an unclear objective, omits vital details, is formatted poorly or repeats information several times throughout the document. In addition, quantifiable results matter. Resumes that lack descriptive adjectives, adverbs, and accomplishments throughout the document are often overlooked. To that point, a resume should read like a story with an engaging beginning, middle, and end for each key point. Especially for mid-career and late-career employees, verifiable and quantifiable results highlight your ability to accomplish the goal for the benefit of the company. However, a resume can also have negative consequences, such as implicit bias, where people will negatively judge you because of biases related to gender, age, geographic location, education, and job experience.
In summary, resumes are nothing but pieces of paper that speak about the past but do not speak about the future. A resume is intended to show exceptional ability and the desire to obtain a specific position. However, the great restructuring of work will basically change the way companies hire individuals and hopefully for the better. Resumes are bad for business because it creates a transactional exchange between people and businesses and often omits key information regarding a person’s character, personality, and life experiences. Companies need to employ flexibility to get the best talent, and in some cases, this may mean placing less weight on the resume.