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The tough economy means that hordes of hungry job seekers are applying for every open position. The resume is supposed to be a cheat sheet that helps employers sort out the unqualified candidates and find the perfect hire. But for the small business owner, a growing chorus of voices say just the opposite: the resume is dead, don’t waste your time.The resume, says 37 signals Jason Fried, doesn’t help to define a person at all. “In my experience, they’re full of exaggerations, half-truths, embellishments — and even outright lies. They’re made of action verbs that don’t really mean anything. Even when people aren’t intentionally trying to trick you, they often stretch the truth.”
Fried wants to understand potential hires as more than just the sum of their previous occupations. “What does “five years’ experience” mean, anyway?,” he writes. “Resumés reduce people to bullet points, and most people look pretty good as bullet points.”
Best selling author Seth Godin takes things a step further. Resumes aren’t just unhelpful or unnecessary for job seekers. He thinks they can be downright harmful.
“This is controversial, but here goes,” Godin writes on his blog. “I think if you’re remarkable, amazing or just plain spectacular, you probably shouldn’t have a resume at all. Here’s why: A resume is an excuse to reject you. Once you send me your resume, I can say, ‘oh, they’re missing this or they’re missing that,’ and boom, you’re out.”
Ok, but how to begin finding good people without a resume? Jason Fried likes to bring promising candidates on for a trial period. That lets him see how they work with his team and how they adapt to unforeseen challenges.
Sites like The Brazen Careerist offer a less expensive solution. Instead of posting traditional resumes, candidates create profiles, network with one another and engage in ongoing conversations about their field.
“Traditional career management sites don’t allow users to express themselves, become known for their ideas, find a voice or find out who they are,” said founder Penelope Trunk. “In contrast to the static resume approach, Brazen Careerist allows professionals to present a dynamic picture of their strengths – not just their experience.”
In an age of disruptive business models, a resume doesn’t say much. The smart hire puts the candidates ideas first, then looks to see how they network and collaborate. It’s about seeing what someone can go, not where they’ve already been.
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