Thursday, April 4, 2019

Have you modernized your resume yet ?

While reading the book- 'Smartcuts', I happen to read the story of Benjamin Franklin. As a 16 year
old, Benjamin was a terrific writer. His brother James ran a printing shop for the then popular newspaper. James didn't allow or accepted Benjamin's writings for the newspaper. Fueled by his incredible talent, Benjamin decided to write under a different name and left the articles at printshop door.
His work was noticed (though not by his name) and James eventually started printing the stories. Gradually, his stories starting gaining popularity and widespread interest in the community. When Benjamin stopped submitted these articles, James put up an ad to find who the author was. Not surprisingly, he was shocked to find who the writer actually was.

Let me come back to this story in a moment.

I often receive requests over LinkedIn inquiring about the job opportunities at my organization or in my network. I fully appreciate people reaching out and utilizing the power of their networks. In our careers, barring some specific situations, we ought to have a bias towards action, and this is what I appreciate about the people who bridge past their hesitation to reach out.
An aspect that irks me is that most of these requests are mostly similar in nature as far as
showcasing their work experience and skills is concerned.

Most people tend to use similar looking resume formats, some of which has been existent since decades. Let me clarify my stand here in a few points:
1. Unless your reputation is a pronounced one and has reached your future employer before you reaching them, you are looked upon through the lens your resume provides.
2. In other words, your resume is a proxy for your experience and achievements, till you are face to face with your future employer.
3. Using an old, beaten way to represent your work experience, can potentially cause your future employer being disinterested in you, without you even knowing it.
4. Using old formats can indirectly show your lack of passion and will to submit your candidature.
5. Older, tired looking resumes can be seen as an example of lack of originality on your part and hence robs you of the chances to differentiate yourself.

Now, why is Benjamin Franklin's story relevant in this context ? A couple of reasons below:
1. Benjamin didn't let constraints define his destiny.
2. When he was blocked from doing what he was capable of, he found an alternate, effective way to showcase his work and subsequently prove himself.

Adding what Shane Snow says in his book 'Smartcuts'

"The step-by-step advice that made an ancient Greek hero rapidly prosperous will be entirely different from what makes a 21st century businesswoman successful, just as the exact methods an Internet start-up uses to grow today will be irrelevant in five years."
We are lucky that we don't live in Benjamin Franklin's era and we have many vehicles to show our body of work to the world now but we still can learn from best of both eras to add the needed differentiation to our work.

Few thoughts, after converging some related points I raise in this blog-

1. You can now use a blog, your tweets, communicate via videos, use social media, public speaking platforms to build a following for your work.

2. You need not be restricted with your resume as an only source of introduction to your work. To maintain your edge, your work should be out in the open for everyone to review and critique.

3. The need for resumes won't go away very soon so shun the beaten resume formats, go for more visual ways to showcase your work. As an example, these are the formats I suggest to people who reach out.
4. Learn from Benjamin Franklin- not just focus on preparing an awesome content but also focus sharply on innovative ways to make your work noticeable. (This reminded me of my own blog- Work doesn't speak for itself )
What are your thoughts and ideas ?

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