THE BLOG

It's Time for Resume Reform

03/05/2014 05:02 pm ET | Updated May 05, 2014

There are so many qualified people for any given job. Just getting an interview is nearly like winning the lottery. Everyone wants the secret to winning that lottery.

Shockingly, Harris Interactive recently polled 2,076 hiring managers and found that nearly 50 percent of the time they hire the candidate that they feel more comfortable with (through having things in common, liking their sense of humor, etc.).

It's shocking because these deciding factors do not really have anything to do with being skillfully qualified for the position. It seems to come down to a surprisingly basic, instinctual question for the hiring manager:

"Do I feel comfortable around this person? Do I like them?"

It sure does not feel good thinking that your future career lies in the gut instinct of a hiring manager, but that's just the reality of human nature.

LinkedIn recently spent $120 million to buy Bright, which uses formulas and algorithms to match applicants to jobs.

Bright has solved part of the problem. They're figuring out how to connect great people with jobs at great companies.

The bigger problem isn't finding the jobs, but rather that the current job application system doesn't take advantage of that 50 percent of hiring decisions being made on a gut instinct by the hiring manager.

If that is truly half of the decision for a hiring manager to make, why do we keep using a system that forces us to wait until the interview to start showing our personality and interests with the hiring manager? Why are our resumes currently built around just displaying skills?

The problem is that resumes do not allow hiring managers to get comfortable with candidates. Until now, we've been submitting plain, boring Microsoft Word templates as a representation of ourselves. Applicants are told to fill out their resume in a specific way -- the exact same way as everyone else. This means their personality, humor, story and experiences do not get expressed.

We need more complete resumes that can go past just one page of skills. "But that would take too long for the hiring manager to read through," you might say. Time will be spent at one point or the other in the hiring process. Either the hiring manager will spend more time reading through the applications or they'll potentially waste time interviewing a bunch of applicants they could have ruled out with a more personal resume.

We need tools that leverage that 50 percent of hiring decisions that are made on "feeling comfortable with the candidate." I'm not specifically talking about online profiles.

It's time to fundamentally change the way people apply for jobs. We need a format that allows the applicant to express their unique personality and experience in a beautiful format.

Whether you're in a design-related field or a more traditional finance field, you need to show more personality in your application. We need resume reform. We must give the hiring managers what they don't know they need yet: a personal resume that gets them to the place of feeling comfortable with a candidate long before they every spend the time and energy facilitating an interview.

A lot has changed in the job application process over the past 20 years, yet we're still applying with the same MS Word template resume.

It's time for a change.

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