Why Resumes are Relevant (and will be for a long time)

So much debate about whether resumes are dying… is LinkedIn (or farily-newcomer VisualCV) going to replace the boring old resume?


I’m not much of a visionary, and I don’t have a crystal ball, but I cannot imagine that resumes will ever go away.  Maybe some day, in a hundred years… but in my foreseeable future, I can’t imagine they will go away.


Simple: because when you apply to a job, in general, you have to have a resume. (perhaps not true with startups, but I’d guess this is true in most companies)

HR and hiring managers and recruiters need your resume so they can evaluate you and compare you to other candidates.

Until the hiring process/system changes, resumes will be an essential component.

What do you think?  Can technology make resumes irrelevant?

(thanks to David Spinks’ post 3 Reasons Why Resumes Should Be Irrelevant – and no, I’m not necessarily promoting Brazen Careerist stuff, I just found two different posts that made me want to react here :))

10 thoughts on “Why Resumes are Relevant (and will be for a long time)”

  1. I don’t think technology will make resumes irrelevant, but I think it will give them less importance in the hiring game. So many positons are filled by referrals or word-of-mouth now with the resume being a supporting document rather than the mode of connection. Just as job seekers need to launch a multidemensional campaign to gain notice; so do employers need to check multiple avenues in sourcing good candidates. The resume is only one factor, and I think its role will diminish to make room for more current and interactive methods.
    It’s a good question, and I’d love to hear what others think.

  2. Resumes work because they can provide a quick summary, and you don’t have to hunt down 5 social networking sites. I selected and interviewed my own teams, and anything easy to print and look at, especially on the road, makes the process simpler. This is true if the candidate is a referral or cold. Yes, the on-line presence can be researched later, but that’s asking a potential employer for more of their valuable time upfront. Candidates need to stand out with their resume.

  3. I tend to agree with Melissa, even though I see the value in an on-line presence, and I coach my clients to have a good one. But having been a hiring manager, I see the time saved by looking at a resume vs having to check numerous social networking sites.

    Perhaps a better option for the future would be to have a paper resume and a summary of some on-line information. A hiring manager would then have some idea of where to go for more information about the candidate.

  4. A resume is a piece of paper, and when you pile ’em up on a desk, one really doesn’t look much different than any other. It’s flat and one dimensional, and that’s a game I don’t want to play. My thinking about this has changed in the last couple of weeks. I was freaking out about my resume being perfect and wondering if I needed a professional resume writer to tweak it. However, based on my own experience in my last 2 jobs, the resume really never had much to do with landing the job in the 1st place. It was more a formality than the reason for me being hired.

    I agree that it’s important, BUT it’s only one tool in the arsenal, and its ranking is sinking by the minute with me. It really comes down to marketing YOU, and the resume is minor compared to other aspects of a real marketing campaign. If your resume is in a pile of 100+ others on a desk, it’s more of a lottery than selecting the best qualified. I think the goal is to be in a position where, in the end, yours is the only resume on that decision maker’s desk, and only then, after you’ve already met.

    My next piece of paper is I think going to be a 1 page biography, and my emphasis is 90%+ on the networking part of meeting people, in person, and on the phone.

  5. Hi Jason!

    I’ve said for years that resumes are becoming less relevant and may one day go the way of other dinosaurs. That time has not yet come, but the resume is losing its position as THE job search document.

    The problem with typical resumes, as I see it (after 20 years as a resume writer and coach), is that jobseekers 1) write historical “job graveyards” rather than targeted marketing documents, and 2) they use these ineffective resumes as a crutch (I have a resume, it’s on-line, I’ll get interviews).

    If they did the homework needed to unearth their branded value and to create a powerful, organic, branded, value-driven presence across ALL platforms (print and on-line, and including a resume), they would be FAR better prepared to attract opportunities, interview, and win. (And they could even do it without a resume!)

    Today’s resume is changing in response to the avalanche of social media / on-line information available about anyone, and in response to the ways companies, recruiters, and decision-makers want/need to receive information (think: no time, iPhones/Blackberries, need for speed, multi-tasking, etc).

    Long documents with dense text and no easily-discernible message of value are out. Effective resumes are now more concise, more branded (with a clear value prop), and more focused on accomplishments than responsibilities. (https://www.job-hunt.org/executive-job-search/executive-resume-trends.shtml)

    I had a lively blog comment exchange about the future of resumes after I wrote two posts about it on the CareerHub blog last year (https://www.careerhubblog.com/main/2008/10/career-hub-cont.html and https://www.careerhubblog.com/main/2008/10/do-you-still-ne.html.

    BTW, my senior exec clients are getting great results using one-page exec summaries (micro-resumes) and/or one-page value-driven bios (as Glenn mentioned above) as their “point of entry.” Often a resume is never requested. If it is they have it, but it’s usually not the gateway to their contacts. More often a series of brief case studies of their best accomplishments is more valued by the decision maker.

    A trend to watch? Who knows, but relying on “just a resume” is not smart job search!

    The debate continues 🙂

  6. Hi, Jason,

    I coach clients to use their resume for more than one purpose–as a marketing document, a “leave-behind” after an interview, and a summary of their accomplishments and successes they can expand on in an interview.

    Beyond that, I always coach clients to use multiple channels in their job search, including social media such as LindedIn.


  7. Hey I just came across this post. Not sure how I didn’t see it earlier.

    I appreciate the link love and your interest in my post. Thank you.

    I’ve answered many of the questions brought up here in the comments on my post so I don’t want to be repetitive. I’ll be glad to chat with anyone who’s interested in taking the discussion further though.


  8. Resumes only became customary after World War II, as a means for employers to eliminate unqualified candidates among scores of GIs looking for new jobs. Not much has changed. Nowadays, nearly every individual, starting a job search, begins by developing a resume, but decision makers only spend and average of ten seconds scanning them. A resume cannot do the heavy lifting in a job search. Its purpose is strictly to function, in conjunction with a follow-up call, as a marketing tool to initiate a conversation with the decision maker. Your goal should be to present your background and accomplishments in a visually appealing, reverse chronological order, with dates, succinctly and honestly. Stay away from functional resumes, extensive formatting and leaving dates off to hide age. A resume is like Coco Chanel once said, “When a woman is badly dressed, you notice the clothes. When a woman is well dressed, you notice the woman.” You can’t build chemistry on deception. You will also want to write a cover letter projecting the job description, that you are going after, through your experiences. You can go to job sites like simplyhired to look up job descriptions. Use the same rules in developing the cover letter as described for the resume.

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