Apr 11, 2013

This ‘Reinventing-the-Resume’ Thing Needs to Stop

supplement for traditional resume

There are certain things in life that have become commonplace for everyone’s benefit. Red means stop. The sun sets in the west. The Browns will never win a Super Bowl.

So why companies are still hoping to reinvent the resume is beyond me.

And speaking of beyond, Beyond.com released a new “visual resume” last month. According to the news release, it “provides a new way for professionals to supplement their traditional resume with a dynamic infographic of their career history.”

You can click here for a live example.

Industry vet Peter Weddle is quoted, saying “The traditional resume is hard to decipher, at least efficiently, and is as inspiring as a brick. In today’s hypercompetitive job market, job seekers need a way to stand out, and I think that Beyond.com’s Career Portfolio is a big step in the right direction.”

If by “stand out,” he means ticking off a recruiter who’s used to looking at resumes in a standardized format, then sure, it’s a way to standout.

Another online recruitment stalwart and friend, Chris Russell, launched CareerCloud last year with a similar pitch: “Your paper resume says what you did. Your social resumes says WHO YOU ARE.”

These are all well-meaning initiatives, but history is against them.

Remember VisualCV? Launching in 2008, the company touted “a revolutionary approach to creating an Internet-based resume.” It was fun for awhile, and high-profile names like Guy Kawasaki got on board.

Five years hence, the site is still live but the most recent press release is from 2009 and the footer copyright reads 2011. It’s fair to say it didn’t take off. And a few more years of Facebook and Pinterest won’t change that.

There’s a reason resumes are the way they are. They work. They work because they’ve become standardized. Recruiters know the format. Job seekers are taught early on this format. And if they aren’t, Google searches are there to show them how it’s done.

Recruiters go blind as it is looking at resumes. Could you imagine a world where every resume they review is formatted differently? Some have pictures, some have tags, some have YouTube videos and some have all the above. 

Resumes work because everyone knows the rules and expectations are met. Expecting to change consumer behavior is a failed experiment. Just ask Ron Johnson, the now ex-CEO of JC Penney.

Companies like LinkedIn and Indeed got it right. If you’ve ever exported your LinkedIn profile to PDF, you’ll notice all the bells-and-whistles get stripped out – just like a pressed-for-time recruiter likes it.

Does this mean rules aren’t meant to be broken from time-to-time? Of course not. The guy who tricked-out his resume to look like an Amazon sales page, in order to get a job at Amazon, was brilliant.

visual resume release

Now, that was a legit purple cow. No company would ever fault a job seeker for having such creativity in trying to gain employment, especially a recruiter at Amazon coming across such a resume.

And don’t even get me started on video resumes. For the rest of world history, can we just skip all this reinvention of the resume stuff and put our resources to something a little more practical?


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