Why is it that resumes – the single most important part of a job application – are so rigidly designed?
Resumes ask for your academic background, your work experience, and a little bit about what you do with the rest of your time.
Isn’t this a bit backwards? Shouldn’t ‘what you do with the rest of your time’ play a bigger part? I mean, sometimes, at least for students, work is a means to an end…not an indication of skill, talent, or even potential.
Maybe I’m being a bit naive and harsh…For people with work experience within their career paths, resumes can be useful. They tell potential employers exactly what you’ve done (aka exactly what you can do at their organization with little or no training). They might even tell potential employers that you’ve grown quickly within your roles, etc.
But resumes miss out on some pretty important stuff. For example, why are reference only ‘available upon request’? Sometimes, what other people think about you can say a lot more than what you might say about yourself.
More importantly, if you’ve just come out of university or college, your work experience is often irrelevant. In fact, the life experiences that the work experience paid for might be more important (did you use your bar tips to take a trip to India?).
For more, Seth Godin has a lot of great thoughts on resumes and how to effectively market yourself.