Is it time to ditch the resume?

almost 5 years ago by Sally Bartley

Sally's Abc Newcastle Blog

Sally Bartley joined Kia Handley of ABC Radio Newcastle on Thursday 1 August 2019 during her Mornings segment to discuss whether its time to ditch the resume for job searchers.

Listen to the segment yourself here, or read below for Sally's point of view on the age-old resume.

Kia: People are saying Recruiters aren’t reading resumes at all. I need to know if this is true! Is it really time to ditch the resume?

Sally: I hope it’s not true! The realities are that Hiring Managers are getting bombarded with so many resumes, and we are in a world where we are constantly asking how do we stand out?

Kia: We get told that resumes are a quick way to sell ourselves, no more than 1 to 2 pages, list your attributes, isn’t that easy for a Recruiter to read rather than pages of essays and documents?

Sally: You’re spot on. 1-2 pages is brilliant, however it needs to be 3 or 4 that’s okay, as long as it is clear and to the point. But more importantly, make sure you put your resume forward for the right job.

Kia: So why is the resume important? Why have we seen it as a staple to our job applications up until this point?

Sally: It’s a quick find in showing us a snapshot of the person applying for the role, so we can make an informed decision on whether we invite the candidate in for an interview, or call them over the phone for a quick screening. I still believe resumes are important, however they are now just a small component of what can be quite a daunting process for people when applying for a role.

Kia: It is such a process; there’s sometimes extra exams or tasks and multiple interviews. Why are we seeing it get so hard?

Sally: There are a lot of people looking for work, and the realities are that recently we had a very straight-forward administrative role which received over 200 applications. We have a dedicated team of three people in our office physically working through those applications, but over the years we have seen some great technology enhancements and platforms that helps point us to talent quickly.

Kia: Wow so with three people working through all of those applications, are they reading through every single word?

Sally: Not every single word, and this is a really great tip for listeners or people out there looking for work, we look for keywords. These may be words that have been mentioned in the advertisement that stand out, so it’s important for job seekers to capture those key words in their application for us to spot the right candidate, and continue to read. The reality is that of those 200 applicants, only 10% are actually suitable for the role. It can sometimes be more than that with a larger pool.

Kia: Does this mean that you can see quite quickly when a resume is good? When you can see the skills and attributes that you need?

Sally: Absolutely, and also seeing if the person has taken the time in their application to read over the job description. All too often we are seeing applications for an ‘Administration Assistant’ role and the person states they are applying for the role of ‘Receptionist’. Straightaway you can see here that applicants are quickly blasting out applications to multiple roles through multiple platforms and not taking the time.

Kia: If we were to flip it over, what’s not to love about a resume? Why might we see some Recruitment Specialists say ‘enough, we’re done’?

Sally: I think because Specialists are getting such a high volume of applications. What can we do help that as job seekers? People looking for work really should only apply for jobs they’re suitable for, and as Recruiters we can also start writing better job ads by being really specific about what we are looking for, not broad and open.

Kia: I am glad you said that because I feel like the onus is always on the job seeker, however some advertisements can be so broad and difficult for applicants to meet the job ad requirements. Now to read a text message we have received “I am a business owner, I read the resume to make sure they’ve read the position details correctly, but beyond that it means little. My experience is that most applicants lie on their resume, its frustrating”

Sally: Definitely do not lie on your resume. You might also like to make sure you have updated it on LinkedIn, load it up to SEEK and don’t be afraid of video resumes if you’ve been asked to. They can be extremely daunting, but we’re all confident in sending little videos to our friends on social media so why not? These are the tools we’re seeing coming through, as well as cognitive based assessments once you’re in the process, certainly organisations are using those to take away the bias.

Kia: I’m glad you mentioned LinkedIn - is what employers are looking for instead of a paper resume?

Sally: Some employers are, and sometimes we receive resumes in that format. As Recruiters, our role is to find talent that aren’t necessarily looking for work, and we do that through the likes of LinkedIn. You might be sitting at work one day not realising that someone is about to give you a call because they’re really interested in your skills and experience from your profile, and you have ticked on LinkedIn that you are interested in hearing about new opportunities.

Kia: I find that overwhelming with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, I find LinkedIn is always the one to fall down first. Why should I putting more attention into LinkedIn and making sure it’s always updated?

Sally: It’s your personal brand, and it’s an opportunity for colleagues within your industry to engage with you too. Even if you aren’t looking for work its still important to keep it updated and fresh.

Kia: This texter says “The whole recruitment process is broken. As a male aged in his 50’s I see the words diversity and inclusion as telling me I have no hope. I am experienced with two degrees, I tailor every cover letter to the job I am applying for and change my resume to suit. Most people who apply for jobs can do the work, but fitting in is key and recruitment processes don’t cover that”. Do you agree?  

Sally: I do agree that paper shouldn’t be the decision making tool right at the end, however it is key in making the decision of if we are going to bring the candidate in for the next step in the process and speak to them based on their transferrable skills. It’s heartbreaking to hear that people are spending all this time on their applications, which can almost be a fulltime job, and they are simply not hearing back.

Kia: What about older workers?

Sally: This is a question I have been asked countless amounts of time because most people say they feel they are being discriminated against based on their age. My response is always that they don’t need to put their date of birth on resume if they really feel it’s something that is getting in the way. You could also try only putting your last 8-10 years of experience on your CV, and remove anything relate to age that you think may affect your chances of obtaining the role.

Kia: Plus just making sure you’ve got the most appropriate information on there like you said. So Sally, you don’t think they’re going anywhere yet? We should still be working on resumes?

Sally: Absolutely, I certainly would.

Tell us your thoughts, do you think it's time to move away from the typical resume when it comes to job searching?