Sunday, April 11, 2010

Resumes Are 99% Bullshit

Resumes are 99% bullshit. Is it possible to get a job without a resume? Yes. So why do people stress out about resumes so much? It's because the first thing most employers ask for is a resume. We think that having a pristine, nicely formatted resume is going to get us the next opportunity, and that assumption is wrong.

I've seen people with horrible resumes get jobs. In fact, pretty much every resume that is sent to me is lacking in some way - typos, grammar errors, hard to read, etc. Yet every not-so-great resume is full of jobs. People with bad resumes get jobs. I've gotten jobs without ever showing a resume.

The skills and experiences you build up before ever writing a resume are what 99% of what matters. I recently met a woman in college who had a resume with no work experience on it, yet it was covered with red marks. She'd been tasked with writing a resume for a class. Her teacher had gone to town on the resume with a red pen with a dozen formatting suggestions; the teacher was placing too much emphasis on how the resume looked. The goal of the assignment should have been to go get some real frikkin' experience.

Resumes are like nice clothes. You can dress up all you want, but the person on the inside is what counts. Looking good IS important, but BEING good is what counts. Trust me when I say if you set out to become good, writing a good resume when you really need one will seem trivial. If you aren't ready to compete in the working world, writing a resume will be extremely stressful.


  1. You say that it is possible to get a job without a resume, and claimed to have done so. The only way I see this being possible is if you are publicly known as an expert in your field. For the masses, this is not possible. How do you propose someone get a job without a resume otherwise?

  2. I agree that the best way to get a job is without a resume. Networking is still the best way to get a job. The next best way is getting hired away from your current role, something that also often can be done without a resume and is usually the result of impressing someone you have come into contact with in your current role.

  3. I call bullshit!!! You have never found a corporate job paying over 30k and benefits WITHOUT a resume!! Bottom line, your resume is a paper version of your corporate self. Dumb ass

  4. Beyond that there is no such thing as a "Good" Resume. Every Recruiter, HR Professional, Resume Writer, and Opinionated person will constantly contradict one another, and I do mean Constantly...

    Make it stand out, Make sure it does not stand out, Emphasize other experience that may carry over, don't mention anything unless it directly relates to the job, ALWAYS use an Objective, NEVER use an Objective, Use Color to attract the eye, NEVER use color, Emphasize Education, Play Down Education, Emphasize skill sets in detail, Minimize skills section...

    Apparently the perfect resume is a page with only your name, Phone number and Email.

  5. Every employer has their own version of what the perfect resume is.
    I have managed to land a few jobs WITHOUT a resume. However--it was ENTIRELY through networking or "chance" meeting with someone working for another company in a position of making recommendations for hiring. This has only happened twice in my lifetime.
    Since then--every employer has asked for a resume whether it was through networking or not.
    But that is not as pathetic as being "interviewed" by colleagues you have worked with for years in order to fulfill another role within the same organization.
    ie- A Language Arts teacher that is fully qualified and wishes to teach Social Studies.
    In many public schools you can't just cross subjects even if you are "highly qualified" the principal insists on putting you through a "panel interview". Utterly humiliating.
    Needless to say i, along with countless others, ultimately gave up teaching.
    Oh and NO it doesn't offer the "job security" it once did. It's a year to year contract now.

  6. Seriously,
    Before the economic crisis I landed three internships paying twice the minimum wage before I turned 21 without a resume due to networking and didn't have to fill out an application. Only a W-4. When I turned 21, while in college I land a minimum wage job with a half way filled out job application and no resume. Since the crisis, and now that I have a degree and is working on a seperate certification my experience is not enough. I was apart of organizations and was a scholar. My resume is not working. Im thinking about job hunting without a resume. I have had my schools and wife and professionals look at it. I am now
    24 and have been unemployed since December 2009. I wasted my time fixing my resume and not focusing on networking.

    1. Recruiters are 99% bullshit. While there may be a few good ones out there, recruiters today might as well be selling used cars. Networking and pounding pavement is still the best way to land a job though. In that regard, it's always been not what you know, but who you know. So the skills the author refers to are not as important as he wants you to think they are. If everyone in this country had a decent skill set in something, we wouldn't be in this sorry state and we wouldn't have middlemen such as recruiters. HR people suck, recruiters suck and they're both 99% bullshit because they essentially have no real skills.

  7. Ouch! Sounds like you had a bad experience :P