Will Resumes Become Obsolete?


Obsolete Resumes

Enter the phrase “will resumes become obsolete” into Google search and over 4 million results are returned dating back 10 years so the topic is literally a decade old! It is interesting to look back at how this concept has evolved over time and what are the forces that we believe will drive meaningful change in the outdated value exchange between individuals and employers.  

It is believed that in 1482 Leonard da Vinci submitted the first resume. He wrote a letter to the Duke of Milan in an attempt to gain his patronage and support. Da Vinci’s letter listed his skills and experience to his potential patron, the same thing we all do in the modern world to our potential employers. Little did Da Vinci know that he was starting a process that would continue on into today and become an integral part of the hiring process (from the History of the Resume).  The traditional resume format emerged, evolved and solidified its role in the hiring process in the 1950’s up until the start of the digital age when the reports of its demise start to surface.  

A 2009 article explores the undoing of a resume due to the emergence of social profiles and tools (like socialmention.com that are no longer in existence) to aggregate those profiles. Imagine being able to automate getting a list of a person’s profiles?  Jump to 2014 and again the prediction that “the social media profile is becoming the new resume and should replace it” and suggests that individuals should be diligent in their use of social media to highlight their skills and passions. Fast forward to 2017 where Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn spoke at the ASU/GSV summit about resumes becoming obsolete because they are not the best identifiers for good hires. But what is? He talks about looking for talent in non-traditional places and “For individuals wh

o have many skills but few experiences, resumes aren’t an accurate summary of their potential. Resumes do a good job providing a timeline of your work history, but they focus on aspects that don’t necessarily apply to the work you’ll be doing with a specific company.”  So if HR experts keep declaring that the “resume is dead” then its demise has been greatly exaggerated since the paper or LinkedIn version of a resume is still the definitive marketing tool that initiates the potential value exchange between an employer and an individual.

According to behavioral economic theory, we humans have a bias towards the status quo.  We believe it is efficient. So, how can resumes be repurposed to enhance the value exchange? The powerful combination of technology to amass real-time labor market skills data and artificial intelligence can be applied to de-construct resumes and profiles into a set of skills. The same can be applied to job descriptions.  Here is an excerpt from a podcast of Harvard Business School Professors Bill Kerr and Joe Fuller talking to leaders grappling with the forces reshaping the nature of work.

You have to invest the work into taking every job description you have in the company, and breaking that job description down into what are the underlying skills that are represented by those jobs, as we look at individuals. The answer to that is technology, right? So it's, we're introducing technology and in this particular case, actually artificial intelligence, so it's self-learning and develops over time. That will initially, off a database, translate jobs into sets of skills. Individuals can download their resumes from LinkedIn down into a Prudential application. It takes that resume and it translates it into a set of skills. They have the opportunity to then look at those skills and say, "Is that a complete representation of who and what I am?" You can edit that. As you're doing that, incidentally, the program is learning.  



Frontier Signal sees the future of work as uniquely human and our mission is to help people maximize their talent. We deliver augmented-intelligence technology for business and HR leaders to acquire, develop, and retain an engaged and aligned workforce to meet current and future needs and drive revenue in their organizations. If you would like to learn more, you can contact us at info@frontiersignal.com or call us 646-866-7028 or visit our web site at https://www.frontiersignal.com/contact-us/.

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