Resumes are obsolete

I was doing a little housekeeping the other day, and I found a packet of cream-colored, cotton fiber resume paper that I must have bought a long time ago. I remember painstakingly laying out my resume in MS Word and printing it on this high-quality stock, then tucking it into a matching envelope with a cover letter and dropping it in the mail.

More recently, I’ve sent soft copies (pdf or Word) of my resume via email, where the body of the email is the cover letter.

As a side note, maddeningly, I’ve had more than one company make me fill out a standard in-house form with essentially the same information as a bureaucratic hurdle, once I’ve actually been hired.

Now that I’m entertaining freelance opportunities again, I’ve had a few recruiters ask me for my resume, and perhaps because business is good right now, I found myself refusing. I haven’t assembled a formal resume in a while, so I told the recruiters to use my LinkeIn profile instead. The profile includes pretty much everything I’d put in a resume, along with a link to this blog. Plus, it’s up-to-date, so I think it’s more than sufficient.

Seth Godin said a while back that “if you’re remarkable, or amazing or just plain spectacular, you probably shouldn’t have a resume at all.”

Instead, he suggests that some credible and compelling letters of recommendation, or an actual project that people can see or use, or a compelling and insightful blog – or a combination of these – is much better for evaluating a person’s strengths and aptitude for a job.

I won’t presume to call myself remarkable or amazing, much less spectacular, but I totally agree that if you want to position yourself as a good candidate for anything, then a resume is a pointless formality that needs to die.

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