Instead of Resumes? Misguided Advice

Job seekers on alert for the latest ideas asked me about a novel suggestion they recently read online:  Don’t prepare a resume.  Don’t submit one either.  A resume just becomes an opportunity for rejection, something for “the corporate behemoth” to chew up and spit out.  This advice comes from author Seth Godin, a blog post he wrote last year but that’s apparently still stirring interest. 

Instead, Mr. Godin says, blog.  Or have a reputation that precedes you and a handful of extraordinary letters recommending you. 

When it comes to communication, it’s always a good idea to shake things up.  Be different, not predictable.  But I don’t really think the world is ready to replace resumes with blogs, or predictably upbeat recommendation letters—especially in an economy where no one is looking for you. 

Mr. Godin’s advice encourages job seekers to see themselves, and present themselves, as “remarkable, amazing or just plain spectacular,” not as “ordinary” people seeking average jobs.  Cartwheels and handsprings (metaphorically speaking) win the day, as you demonstrate in blog, word and deed what a star you are.  It’s the “American Idol” approach to life:  Look at me.  It’s all about me.  You want me.  If you don’t (for some unfathomable reason) want me, it’s your loss.

Sorry, I’m not buying it.  It’s not about you.  Work, and your willingness to do it, is a contribution, your contribution.  You, prospective job candidates, are giving your talents and abilities to an organization that needs you.  It’s not about you, it’s about them.  Look at them.  You want them

So should we replace resumes with other forms of self promotion?  I don’t think so, if for no other reason than no HR rep is going to cruise hundreds of thousands of (mostly poorly written) blogs looking for the right fit.  A resume is a calling card that says “I’m interested, and here’s what I have to offer.  I might be right for your company/this position.  Please take a closer look.” 

No rule says you can’t have a blog, too, but the likelihood that the entire hiring culture in the western world would start looking for qualified (even exceptional) candidates in blog-dom is pretty remote.

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