As someone who looks at resumes all day, every day, it is strange to think of a world without them. I think that day is coming sooner than we think. I recently read about Unilever moving in this direction in a Wall Street Journal article a few months back, Radical Hiring Experiment: Resumes Are Out. They are not the only company to use software, technology, and algorithms to sort candidates at the initial stages of applications but they have taken it to the next level in that they aren’t using resumes at all.
We are quickly heading towards a world of scientific hiring and job matching. At Small World, we use skill based job assessments, video interviewing, aptitude testing and other tools to ensure we aren’t shoving a square peg into a round hole. Soon, all jobs will start with online testing, some which now come in the form of video games and then wait to see if technology decides that we are a match. If there is no match then there is no interview, no human interaction, no opportunity to sell ourselves or our abilities to a real person.
In a way, I find the idea comforting. It would be great if we lived in a world where each person did what they were really good at doing. Recently, I had to hire a bookkeeper because Quickbooks hates me. Every time I go into Quickbooks to monitor our earnings and expenses I find myself ready to throw my laptop out the window. Thankfully, there are people out there that love numbers and live for accounting and data entry. I just decided to admit defeat. No matter how much I wanted to master the task, it just kept kicking my butt and leaving me frustrated and feeling inadequate. As a business owner, it made sense to pass the task to someone who excelled at it and to use that time doing something I am good at.
My point is that we are very much heading towards a world where we are assessed and tested and pushed towards a career. Remember taking that assessment in high school which spits out a list of careers you should consider? Imagine that on steroids. Imagine knowing at 10 years old that accounting is NOT your strong suit and that you will never work with numbers in any capacity. Why? Because there are people who DO excel with numbers.
I spent a good portion of my life in sales before finally realizing I am not a good sales person. Thank you to Maersk for firing me and freeing me from the vicious cycle of mediocrity. The stress from carrying around a career that didn’t fulfill me was so heavy. Once I dumped it and started doing something else, life became fun, work became rewarding.
Unilever and other companies using technology to hire people are experiencing great success. The people who are being hired for jobs which they are well suited for are experiencing great success. If you find yourself at a crossroads in your career, stop for a few minutes and think about what you are really good at and find a way to use that in your next position. We are heading in that direction anyway.
Until we stop using resumes entirely, make sure yours is a focus of what you have done well and what you’d like to do again. If you hated doing “X” in your last role then, for heaven’s sake, don’t highlight it as a skill on your resume. Your resume should be a snapshot of where you are headed, not a look back at where you have been. I know, it sounds crazy, but give it a shot and I bet you find yourself in a much better position.