Friday, June 5, 2009

Are resumes obsolete?

Kill BillImage via Wikipedia
Resumes must die

It is time to revisit this idea again.

You need to kill your resume!

It is especially time for me to kill my resume.

For a lot of reasons.

Me, circa 2007

I dug up an old resume from Careerbuilder that I put out there a long time ago, like in somewhere around 2007.

It looks like this:

This is how employers will see your resume when you apply to jobs online.

Experienced Human Resources Leader

Name: Michael VanDervort
Home Location: US-FL-Lutz-33558

Job Categories: Human Resources (17 Years experience)
Consultant (5 Years experience)
Manufacturing (17 Years experience)
Training (17 Years experience)
Management (10 Years experience)
Total years experience: 17 Years
Company Information

Resume / comments:
Michael A. VanDervort
Lutz FL 33558

Human Resources Professional with strong labor
relations and employee relations background in high tech, manufacturing, logistics, service
and sales organizations. 

Worked in both unionized and non-union facilities.

Design and implementation of new cultures within existing and
blended organizations. Mergers and Acquisitions
• Full range of strategic and tactical human resources knowledge.
• Proven problem solving and leadership skills, including
conflict resolution, investigation and project management.


Velocity Media, Tampa FL.
1/2005 - Current

Assist with daily operations of a rapidly growing web design business. Wide variety of duties in an entrepreneurial environment.

The GEO Group, Inc., Boca Raton, FL
4/2005 - Current
HR Consultant

Worked for several months as a Regional Director of HR for 3000 employees (April - September 2005) filling in while a full-time candidate was sought. Currently consulting 5-6 days a month on labor relations matters and specific projects.

Andersen Logistics Inc., Bayport MN.
4/1999 – 1/2005
Regional Human Resources Manager

Manage and direct all HR functions in region with 650 employees and 8 Distribution Centers located in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Kansas, Colorado, Texas and Arizona.

• Successful reduction of 17 collective bargaining agreements from 1999 to 2004 via negotiated settlements.
• Successful campaigns resulting in elections to decertify 5 Union bargaining units since 2002.
• Successful handling of multiple complex labor negotiations, including closures and sale of locations with no strikes or labor charges.
• Major revamp of hiring process including behavior based interviewing training, upgrade of recruitment sources and other cost reductions resulting in savings of $100,000.
• Business consultant to divisional management team providing support on strategic plans including start-up of new locations (2), closures (5), acquisition (2) and on-going change due to growth at remaining facilities.

BICC Cables Company, Marion IN
1995 - 1999 Human Resources Manager

Managed Human Resources plant of 350 employees, supervising 4 employees. Negotiated and administered two labor agreements (IBEW and Teamsters), grievance administration, arbitration preparation, and day-to-day labor relations. Activities included staffing, manpower
planning, training, organizational development activities, compensation, worker compensation, and plant safety and employee recognition programs.

• Implementation of a multi-skilled maintenance group, reduction of existing classifications in the plant by more than 50%.
• Broad-based improvements in hourly workforce flexibility through cross-training programs.
• Participated on consolidation project involving transfer of work from Canadian plant to Marion location.
• Upgrade of management staff as part of improvement program to correct overall performance issues for the manufacturing location.

Thomson Bloomington, IN
1991 – 1995
Manager of Labor Relations, Compensation & Training

Supervised activities of three direct reports, and managed daily administration, providing support to plant HR Manager in developing policy and strategy at unionized plant with 2000 employees. Directly responsible for negotiations planning and preparation, grievance
administration, arbitration preparation, as well as all local plant compensation administration including job evaluation and performance appraisal management, coordination of technical and non-technical training, daily attendance control programs, overtime equalization monitoring, and supervision of an 18-employee internal security department.

• Designed, negotiated and implemented supplemental work force of 200 employees who provided day-to-day, casual labor at lower labor rates, the negotiation and implementation of self-directed work group within a unionized environment. • Suggested and co-managed a project to evaluate and redesign trucking fleet management staff and collective bargaining agreement
producing a one-year turnaround savings of $950,000.
• Applied for and obtained a $200,000 State of Indiana training grant, utilized funds to develop hard and soft training programs for hourly work force.
• Certified Quality Leadership Program trainer.

Texas Instruments, Dallas TX
1988 – 1991
Human Resources Administrator

Generalist supporting business partners on all aspects of Human Resources, including policy and procedure, supervisor training, resolution and investigation of employee relations issues,
communications and employee contact, benefits communication. Supported various organizations across semi-conductor division, including manufacturing facility with diverse workforce of 1200 employees. Led or participated in various corporate/division project initiatives such as redesign of supervisory skills course, managed annual employee opinion
survey for divisions and reported world-wide results, and doing field visits to remote sales and marketing office locations.

Prior employment

Care-Free Aluminum Products, Charlotte MI, Human Resources Director 1987 – 1988
Melling Forging Company, Lansing MI, Human Resources Manager 1986 – 1987


Michigan State University East Lansing, MI Masters of Labor and Industrial Relations, 1985

University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI B.A. of Political Science

Thanks Careerbuilder for creating a template that takes 23 years of professional work experience and turns it into a jumbled, difficult to read mess.
If I was me, and I got that piece of crap, I wouldn't hire me! That is one of the reasons I need to kill my resume.
Why kill your resume?
Another personal reason for wanting to kill my resume is that in looking at this little historical snapshot from so long ago - slightly over two years - it is is really shocking to realize that it does nothing to communicate anything at all about me that I would want to put out if I were job searching. It doesn't effectively reflect:
  • extensive skills in social media
  • knowledge and expertise of Hr and how it applies to today's work environment
  • research skills, especially deep skills on the net
  • networking
  • blogging, writing and thought leadership

Ok, so maybe I am stretching, but looking at this makes me realize that what I do today versus two years ago is light years apart in almost every way, and if I were job searching, I would much rather have my current body of social media work representing me in the market place than even a cleaned and pretty copy of this resume.

Several people, including some that are generally considered smarter than me have suggested the idea that resumes are obsolete.

One of the really smart guys is Seth Godin. You can see what he had to say here.

My friend Franicine Hardaway who has a Ph.D. from somewhere, Columbia I think, also chimed in at some point.

Another dude argues that your blog is your new resume.

Not sure I totally agree with that one.

A snapshot of me, circa 6/5/2009

I think you have to throw your LinkedIn profile and all the other places that today's employers will see you, including twitter And you simply can't forget what they will find on Google or Yahoo or even more obscure search places like Bing. There are more, but you get the idea.

This is what employers are going to see rather than the paper you send them. Your on-line profiles and communications and networks are rapidly becoming the thing that really represents who you are right now, especially in the unguarded, wide open social media world.

I don't recognize the 2007 Careerbuilder me any more. Those things influence me, but they are no longer what I do.

The other reason Resumes must die!

There is another larger and more important reason that I think resumes must go away as part of the hiring process.
Lately, I have been thinking that recruiting is very much like the American auto industry.
Go with me on this.
There are embedded systemic structures and economic forces in place that make it difficult to alter the fundamentals of the industry.
In other words, we upgrade systems, create pretty new user interfaces, and design better engineered products to track the same old information, but at the end of the day, it still comes down to one thing.
Recruiting is still a process that comes down to a metaphorical “2 people in a room” doing their best to make an educated guess about a major life relationship, and quite often not getting it right.
So that begs the question of how do you alter the paradigm of what puts those two people in that room when there are so many systemic controls overlaying the process?
Here is where the auto analogy comes back into play. We drive internal combustion cars because we have too many systemic interfaces and economic forces in place for the auto companies (and most others) that keep them from coming up with viable alternatives like the electric car. We are only now seeing Tesla and others become viable as the larger auto industry is crumbling, opening opportunities for them. We haven't killed the traditional car just yet, but it is happening now before our eyes.
We are probably seeing the same thing in the entire recruiting process. Monster and their peers are stumbling. Google searches are the new Monster. The industry is scrambling to adapt.
Let's start our own disruptive revolution in the world of recruiting and talent management.
Start with resumes. If we kill those, and establish a new standard, the entire system collapses from there. Out of that rubble will emerge something new and more useful!

Thoughts? Leave them in the comments!

Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. Hi Michael. This response isn't exactly in keeping with your post but it's related. Here is another reason to kill your online resume: in some major systems (like Monster) killing your resume and entering a new one (rather than simply updating your online resume) shows your resume as new. My daughter had been updating her resume since November but little to no activity. She killed it and entered a new one and she got three calls in one day. Just an FYI.

    Love reading your stuff all over SN sites. Thanks.

  2. Interesting post! But I'm not sure the resume has to die just because yours doesn't capture all the stuff you want it to. Maybe you just need to rethink your resume.

    I do agree that online profiles are just as important - but resumes are not going anywhere for a while, so I recommend making yours a gateway to those other places. And rewriting it is so that it does capture your personality and style and knowledge and 23 years of experience.

  3. Fun post Michael! I couldn't agree with you more about the difference between who you are and what you've done. Historically, resumes were all about what you've done in the past. With the speed of information exchange, and growth of user generated content on the web, anyone can get a snapshot of who I am very quickly. Even my mother. She recently called me to say she was so proud of me... quite out of nowhere. Not that my mother isn't always proud of her youngest, but usually I've done something in particular to warrant such a call. Not this time. This time, she had googled me "jason c. blais" and was overwhelmed by what she found. My profiles and comments on social media platforms, my articles in trade pubs, my own blog posts, my linkedin profile, my twitter handle.

    Rounding this back to my initial point, all of these things are the current me- the WHO I AM. Thanks to search engines for applying filters of relevance to help sort out the most recent and most important aspects of what I'm doing right now in my professional life.

    HOWEVER, the resume is not dead, nor should it be. It could use a reinvention, however. Maybe two pages is the new standard- one page for your current state that demonstrates your professional activity/soft skills/motivation/eq, and one page of functional/hard skills experiences/competencies.

    Yes, I can do the work you need to do, but is that really all that matters? Of course it shouldn't be. What should matter is can I contribute the success and culture of your company. That header isn't yet common in most resumes.

  4. Let’s imagine what resumes could look like if Web 2.0 concepts were applied.

    Video as part of the resume, not as the resume?

    Tagging to help people searching for your skills find you?

    Aggregated feeds of comments and discussion from professional sites, detailing your thinking

    The same for blogs, publications

    Links to quotes in magaizines, articles, books, the press…

    I am thinking it doesn’t have to be a static written vehicle any more!

    Thanks for the response!

  5. It’s appropriate time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you few interesting things or advice. Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article. I desire to read even more things about it! human resources consulting


We appreciate your thoughts on the blog. Please add your comments. It helps keep the place interesting!

Everything you post will be read, and responded too!
-- Michael VanDervort