Why the resume may be dead


(MoneyWatch) USA Today ran an article recently about a new business trend: Hiring people off Twitter. The idea is that you can figure out if a person thinks quickly and communicates well from how she expresses herself in 140 characters during a "Twitterview." As a bonus, reading through her prior posts, you can get to know her. Our digital footprints speak for us, even when we're not around.

I'm not sure if I'd hire someone off Twitter, but the implication is definitely true: The resume is becoming a less and less important part of landing a job. For starters, mass resume calls are an inefficient way to hire (and indeed, many companies have already identified a small binder of candidates by the time the resumes roll in). Plenty of companies use software to identify certain key words and phrases -- but then why go to the trouble of formatting a resume and describing jobs when only certain words matter? And more importantly, increasing numbers of us have working lives that can't be conveyed via a resume format.

At any given moment, for instance, I've got 6-7 active clients. Should I be listing them somewhere on a resume? If we're looking at "jobs" I'm kind of stuck, since I haven't been on anyone's payroll since 2002. Even people who have been on a payroll often have side gigs, some of which might actually make them better candidates for jobs. But the usual resume format doesn't lend itself to work that happens at the same time. Plus, what can you actually tell about someone from the fact that she worked at a company for two years? Maybe she showed up every day and did nothing except fulfill the terms of her job description.

That's why it's better to think in terms of a portfolio -- and your digital footprint. This is easy in certain fields. No one ever asks me for a resume, they simply look at what I've written and judge me on that. But even in fields that are less obviously portfolio based, a bias toward visible outcomes is a good way to approach a job. What could you pin on Pinterest and say "I did that?"

The reality is that hundreds of 140-character posts may show, better, who you are than a resume can. These days, we need an attractive digital footprint and a good portfolio more than we need a nicely formatted resume (even if they look nice on paper that's got a bit of tooth to it).

Have you gotten a job without a resume?