Seth Godin is one of my favorite bloggers and but in this post about resumes, he's only 50% right.
Seth's looking for an intern and he doesn't like the resumes he's seeing. They're bland and boring and they don't tell him why these candidates are remarkable. Well, that means they're like 99.9% of all resumes out there (which is why people like me get paid to write the other 0.1%).
Seth goes on to say that he wants evidence of what makes a person remarkable:
If you don't have a resume, what do you have?
How about three extraordinary letters of recommendation from people the employer knows or respects?
Or a sophisticated project they can see or touch?
Or a reputation that precedes you?
Or a blog that is so compelling and insightful that they have no choice but to follow up?
Some say, "well, that's fine, but I don't have those."
Yeah, that's my point. If you don't have those, why do you think you are remarkable, amazing or just plain spectacular? It sounds to me like if you don't have those, you've been brainwashed into acting like you're sort of ordinary.
I absolutely agree that those things are important - that's why I often include glowing LinkedIn testimonials when I write resumes. It's why I advocate for those clients who are good writers to start blogging. It's why I create online portfolios where people can show off their extraordinary work.
That's the 50% that's right.
But it's wrong to advocate for people to scrap the whole idea of a resume, just because the resumes they are writing are ineffective. For better or worse, almost all hiring managers want to see a resume. Seth might not, but he's unusual and most people won't thank you for mailing in 3 reference letters and a blog URL when they asked for a resume. It'll just make you look like you're too stupid to follow instructions!
Instead, you should look for ways to communicate all those great things that make you special via your resume. You should include quotes from former managers (or peers or employees or clients). You should post the link to your blog and/or Squidoo page and/or web portfolio. You should focus the entire resume on showing how you have made an impact at former employers, how you've shaken things up, what you've contributed ... above all, how each company is different because you worked there.
It's not the resume that's the problem - it's what's on the resume that Seth doesn't like.