Do Resumes Still Matter?
Resumes are interesting documents: everyone has to have one but they’re losing their relevance in an increasingly digital world.
People in my generation were always taught to nail the resume because that’s how employers ultimately decide whether or not they want to hire you.
Was it fair?
No, but that’s not the point. The point is that’s the way it was.
It’s similar to the idea of working hard to get good grades in high school and college: your GPA depended on it. A good GPA got you into a good school and a good GPA once you were there opened the doors to a good job.
That was the idea, anyway.
Theory vs. Reality
That was how we were brought up.
But things have changed:
- Skills have superseded institutional references like diplomas and resumes
- Diplomas have gotten increasingly expensive
- People can’t afford to go into debt to pay for school
- Entrepreneurship has exploded (what @chrisguillebeau calls microbusinesses)
- Businesses have been forced into being more efficient with their hires
That paints a pretty grim picture, but it also creates an atmosphere that’s perfect for a person that’s simply good at what they do.
Regardless of where they went to school or what their grades were.
Why Portfolios are Great
When I first started getting into advertising, I remember loving the idea behind the portfolio.
Instead of creating a boring resume, here was a chance to show off what you could do.
In my case, it was to write good copy. Instead of writing “Copywriter with extensive experience in both long and short form copy” on my resume, I now had a chance to show instead of tell.
The best part was reading about all the people who had become incredibly successful copywriters despite never having gone to school to learn advertising.
These were people who worked in all kinds of odd jobs that had figured out they could write compelling copy.
And that’s what mattered.
And that’s what should matter: can you do the job and do it well? Do you have proof of your past successes? Let me hire you based on your work, not on a piece of paper that probably exaggerates what you’ve done in the past.
What’s why everyone needs a portfolio.
As they say in programming, it’s time to deprecate the resume and focus on your portfolio.
Who’s with me?
Image by psd