No Resume? No Problem. Why Traditional Resumes Are Dying

Thirty years ago, companies posted an ad in the local newspaper classifieds and applicants mailed a cover letter and resume to the address listed in the ad. With modern hiring procedures and applicant tracking systems, traditional resumes are going the way of cassette tapes, phone booths, and your local Blockbuster. In order to stay competitive, companies today must develop means for accepting applications that step beyond requiring resumes to be emailed or attached for processing through an ATS.

Traditional Resume Flaws

Consider a traditional resume. Job seekers must cram the entirety of their work experience into a page or two of text. In most cases, resumes do not properly express an individual’s skills, nor can they represent relevant soft skills, such as loyalty, trainability, and dedication.

Hiring managers dislike the chore of reviewing the stack of resumes that accumulate on their desks, making singling out a qualified candidate for a sole position nearly impossible. Resumes also open up the possibility of unconscious biases, as hiring managers are privy to information such as a candidate’s name (which may reveal her nationality, ethnicity, or gender) or clues to his or her age (based on work history dates).

Traditional resumes have four major issues:

  1. They Stress Employment History Over Skills: The employment section of a resume is typically a chronological listing of jobs held, with a record of activities performed at each role. However, this section lacks the capacity to reveal a candidate’s true abilities to perform tasks. A resume might list “communicate with clients” when, in reality, something like “responsible for writing a monthly email newsletter which increased leads by 35 percent” would be better received by hiring managers.
  2. Job Titles Are Unclear: Employment histories use job titles as headings; however, hiring managers may not be able to negotiate through modern titles like “innovation guru” or “creative engineer.” Titles vary from company to company, making it difficult to distinguish exactly what each role entails.
  3. They Become Outdated: Traditional resumes are static, but candidates are continually growing and changing. Job seekers must regularly update their resume, not only as they change jobs, but also as they develop skills. In the United States, the average time to fill a job is 43 days. In most cases, by the time a hiring manager actually reviews a resume, it is already outdated.
  4. They’re Ineffective For Freelance Work: One in three Americans work as a freelancer, a number that continues to grow in the current gig economy for two main reasons. First of all, Millennials are seeking roles that offer them the freedom to control their schedules and be their own boss. Secondly, there are more jobs than skilled workers to fill them, meaning that in-demand workers are skipping the full-time jobs and taking on gigs instead.

Skip The Resume

Many candidates – as much as 70% of the nation’s workforce – do not have an up-to-date resume. This includes employed workers, passive candidates, and gig workers. Basing your candidate pool on 30% of the working population is severely limiting the possibility of hiring the right fit for your organization.

Locating top talent seems impossible if you are basing your hiring process on the nearly obsolete need to produce a resume. Social and business sites are a good start, but hiring managers are already strapped for time, and perusing such sites is more time consuming than sorting through a stack of resumes.

The key is utilizing a system that is not resume-centric in order to access a larger candidate pool. When you engage talent, regardless of the status of their resume, you increase the likelihood of hiring the candidate that truly fits the role.

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