“I think if you’re remarkable, amazing or just plain spectacular, you probably shouldn’t have a resume at all.”
Here goes my take:
Let’s start with the objective of a resume. To distil your human capital (qualifications, experience, skills, competencies etc) into a few pages for the benefit of a recruitment agent or prospective employer when you establish formal contact, with the intention of landing the interview. The initial contact could be informal. For example, a chance encounter by sitting next to the Executive on a flight who wants you to apply the next day, meeting a recruitment agent at a social function who mentions a lucrative position or a blog comment/query from a HR person at a prospective employer. The initial contact could just as well be formal. You cold call a recruitment agency and they request your resume or you send a targeted application to a specific employer and the specific HR/recruitment person for a specific position.
Notwithstanding that you may be remarkable, the process of establishing formal contact inevitably involves the submission of a resume. Sure the recruitment agent/HR/exec may be impressed from their informal chat with you, perform a snap Google search, read through your Linkedin profile, study your blogs, look at samples of your work and talk to those with the glowing endorsements* But it is not a substitute for you what you are supposed to explicitly tell them, in writing, in your resume about you (the person), your track record (the performance) and your value (the future potential). Rather these online and offline elements provide solid evidence for the statements and claims in your resume. Or shoot it down.
Now if you are a remarkable **individual, the resume will shine and the evidence will have the recruitment agent/HRs chasing you as the one person they MUST have in the organisation. In fact, they may not even know what the position will be. But they will pull strings, burn the red tape and toss the rules to bring you on board.
On a related tangent, many talented individuals are shown up poorly by their resumes – vague explainations of their jobs, faulty statements, poor grammar, hopeless personal branding which is valuable to discerning emploters about attention to detail, personal pride and accuracy.
* In SA, the majority of employees are light years behind when it comes to their online presence – what are you waiting for?
** Remarkable employees are rare, if you are remarkable, please drop me an email at worksuck at worksucks dot co dot za!