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Why Resumes Aren’t Quite Dead (Yet)

Why Resumes Aren’t Quite Dead (Yet)
    From Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/dreamingofcalifornia/

    Being someone that just entered the job market about 2 months ago after graduation from a four year school, I placed the emphasis on creating a résumé to give to potential employers. In fact, I even met with some of my universities “career development” professionals that help me craft and hone my résumé, making sure that it was the best it could be.

    But according to many of the tech, productivity, and social media experts online, my résumé was all wrong. According to many of these outlets I shouldn’t even be using a résumé at all.

    I consider myself to be a tech-geek type of guy, trying to keep up with the latest and greatest stuff online and in the technology realm. But I notice most times that many of these “experts” online give advice that they and their direct colleagues hold to be true and not what the mainstream still knows to be true.

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    The résumé is dead… sort of

    The social media experts will tell you that the résumé is dead, and that if you are trying to get a job in today’s market that using one will not only get you overlooked, but will almost guarantee you not to get a job.

    That’s not entirely the truth.

    The idea that the résumé is dead could be true in some fields, like graphic and web design, marketing and social media jobs, some development and programming jobs, etc., but to say that it is dead (period) is pretty hyperbolic.

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    So, here is what these experts should really be telling you:

    “A résumé alone is in bad company”

    Why you need more than a résumé

    Listen, if you are going for a position in the aforementioned fields, then making something other than a résumé is the right thing to do. But, if you are in the other 90% of applicants in the world in other fields you have to have a strong résumé along with some other things.

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    I will give an example of something I know the best, software development. When applying for a programmer analyst or developer type of position it’s important to have the following things:

    • A strong résumé. Also ditch the “objective” section, that is so 2000’s. Instead consider using an “executive” or “skills” summary where you highlight what you are the best at right off the top. It helps when HR people are going through hundreds if not thousands of candidate profiles.
    • A creative, well thought out, custom, cover letter. Cover Letters is where you can show some more about yourself that isn’t in your résumé and where you can show your communication skills. Also, if you have heard of the position through someone in the company, this is a good place to name drop. Yeah, maybe a little sleazy, but it works.
    • Information regarding your current or latest projects. Including a link to your site or online profiles at GitHub or Codeplex (remember for software developers) is an awesome way to show potential employers that you are busy and that you really love to do what you are applying for.

    Giving your employer some stuff to pick through rather than just a simple résumé will surely get you noticed. I remember how interested my potential employers were when I had that I wrote about technology and software and included links to some of these writings.

    Remember, it isn’t that hard to stand out from the status quo; anything more than a résumé and dinky cover letter will do the trick.

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    How to hone your résumé to be the best it can be

    Since you need a résumé for most “mainstream” type of jobs, you need to make sure that it is honed and looks awesome. I don’t agree with the “social media experts” that employers will laugh at the idea of sending in a résumé in 2011, but I do agree that they will if you don’t meet the following criteria in your résumé.

    1. No spelling mistakes. Seriously, NO SPELLING MISTAKES. Checking for spelling errors is cheap. If you have spelling errors on your résumé you should consider it to be complete garbage.
    2. No cliché and run-of-the-mill résumé sayings. If you have “strong interpersonal skills, productivity skills, and communication skills”, that’s pretty cool. But don’t write it like that. Cookie-cutter sayings are noticed a mile away by HR professionals. Be creative and avoid clichés like the plague.
    3. Length doesn’t really matter. Many people argue about this but in reality having a two page résumé is pretty good. I don’t agree with the idea of student coming out of college only having one page résumé. To me that means you really haven’t done enough. Coming out of school mine was about a page and three quarters and after talking to a few HR reps in large companies that looked it over, they all agreed that the length was good. Don’t worry about length, worry about content.

    So, the next time you are online looking for a job just see how many companies don’t require a résumé; it won’t be many. Unless they are social media companies. But, if you want to make sure that you résumé is kept up with the times, try to include more than just a simple, dull, boring résumé with cover letters and links to other work online.

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    CM Smith

    A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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    Last Updated on June 18, 2019

    5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

    5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

    It takes great leadership skills to build great teams.

    The best leaders have distinctive leadership styles and are not afraid to make the difficult decisions. They course-correct when mistakes happen, manage the egos of team members and set performance standards that are constantly being met and improved upon.

    With a population of more than 327 million, there are literally scores of leadership styles in the world today. In this article, I will talk about the most common leadership styles and how you can determine which works best for you.

    5 Types of Leadership Styles

    I will focus on 5 common styles that I’ve encountered in my career: democratic, autocratic, transformational, transactional and laissez-faire leadership.

    The Democratic Style

    The democratic style seeks collaboration and consensus. Team members are a part of decision-making processes and communication flows up, down and across the organizational chart.

    The democratic style is collaborative. Author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek is an example of a leader who appears to have a democratic leadership style.

      The Autocratic Style

      The autocratic style, on the other hand, centers the preferences, comfort and direction of the organization’s leader. In many instances, the leader makes decisions without soliciting agreement or input from their team.

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      The autocratic style is not appropriate in all situations at all times, but it can be especially useful in certain careers, such as military service, and in certain instances, such as times of crisis. Steve Jobs was said to have had an autocratic leadership style.

      While the democratic style seeks consensus, the autocratic style is less interested in consensus and more interested in adherence to orders. The latter advises what needs to be done and expects close adherence to orders.

        The Transformational Style

        Transformational leaders drive change. They are either brought into organizations to turn things around, restore profitability or improve the culture.

        Alternatively, transformational leaders may have a vision for what customers, stakeholders or constituents may need in the future and work to achieve those goals. They are change agents who are focused on the future.

        Examples of transformational leader are Oprah and Robert C. Smith, the billionaire hedge fund manager who has offered to pay off the student loan debt of the entire 2019 graduating class of Morehouse College.

          The Transactional Style

          Transactional leaders further the immediate agenda. They are concerned about accomplishing a task and doing what they’ve said they’d do. They are less interested in changing the status quo and more focused on ensuring that people do the specific task they have been hired to do.

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          The transactional leadership style is centered on short-term planning. This style can stifle creativity and keep employees stuck in their present roles.

          The Laissez-Faire Style

          The fifth common leadership style is laissez-faire, where team members are invited to help lead the organization.

          In companies with a laissez-faire leadership style, the management structure tends to be flat, meaning it lacks hierarchy. With laissez-faire leadership, team members might wonder who the final decision maker is or can complain about a lack of leadership, which can translate to lack of direction.

          Which Leadership Style do You Practice?

          You can learn a lot about your leadership style by observing your family of origin and your formative working experiences.

          Whether you realize it, from the time you were born up until the time you went to school, you were receiving information on how to lead yourself and others. From the way your parents and siblings interacted with one another, to unspoken and spoken communication norms, you were a sponge for learning what constitutes leadership.

          The same is true of our formative work experiences. When I started my communications career, I worked for a faith-based organization and then a labor union. The style of communication varied from one organization to the other. The leadership required to be successful in each organization was also miles apart. At Lutheran social services, we used language such as “supporting people in need.” At the labor union, we used language such as “supporting the leadership of workers” as they fought for what they needed.

          Many in the media were more than happy to accept my pitch calls when I worked for the faith-based organization, but the same was not true when I worked for a labor union. The quest for media attention that was fair and balanced became more difficult and my approach and style changed from being light-hearted to being more direct with the labor union.

          I didn’t realize the impact those experiences had on how I thought about my leadership until much later in my career.

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          In my early experience, it was not uncommon for team members to have direct, brash and tough conversations with one another as a matter of course. It was the norm, not the exception. I learned to challenge people, boldly state my desires and preferences, and give tough feedback, but I didn’t account for the actions of others fit for me, as a black woman. I didn’t account for gender biases and racial biases.

          What worked well for my white male bosses, did not work well for me as an African American woman. People experienced my directness as being rude and insensitive. While I needed to be more forceful in advancing the organization’s agenda when I worked for labor, that style did not bode well for faith-based social justice organizations who wanted to use the love of Christ to challenge injustice.

          Whereas I received feedback that I needed to develop more gravitas in the workplace when I worked for labor, when I worked for other organizations after the labor union, I was often told to dial it back. This taught me two important lessons about leadership:

          1. Context Matters

          Your leadership style must adjust to each workplace you are employed. The challenges and norms of an organization will shape your leadership style significantly.

          2. Not All Leadership Styles Are Appropriate for the Teams You’re Leading

          When I worked on political campaigns, we worked nonstop. We started at dawn and worked late into the evening. I couldn’t expect that level of round-the-clock work for people at the average nonprofit. Not only couldn’t I expect it, it was actually unhealthy. My habit of consistently waking up at 4 am to work was profoundly unhealthy for me and harmful for the teams I was leading.

          As life coach and spiritual healer Iyanla Vanzant has said,

          “We learn a lot from what is seen, sensed and shared.”

          The message I was sending to my team was ‘I will value you if you work the way that I work, and if you respond to my 4 am, 5 am and 6 am emails.’ I was essentially telling my employees that I expect you to follow my process and practice.

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          As I advanced in my career and began managing more people, I questioned everything I thought I knew about leadership. It was tough. What worked for me in one professional setting did not work in other settings. What worked at one phase of my life didn’t necessarily serve me at later stages.

          When I began managing millennials, I learned that while committed to the work, they had active interests and passions outside of the office. They were not willing to abandon their lives and happiness for the work, regardless of how fulfilling it might have been.

          The Way Forward

          To be an effective leader, you must know yourself incredibly well. You must be self-reflective and also receptive to feedback.

          As fellow Lifehack contributor Mike Bundrant wrote in the article 10 Essential Leadership Qualities That Make a Great Leader:

          “Those who lead must understand human nature, and they start by fully understanding themselves…They know their strengths, and are equally aware of their weaknesses and thus understand the need for team work and the sharing of responsibility.”

          The way to determine your leadership style is to get to know yourself and to be mindful of the feedback you receive from others. Think about the leadership lessons that were seen, sensed and shared in your family of origin. Then think about what feels right for you. Where do you gravitate and what do you tend to avoid in the context of leadership styles?

          If you are really stuck, think about using a personality assessment to shed light on your work patterns and preferences.

          Finally, the path for determining your leadership style is to think about not only what you need, or what your company values, but also what your team needs. They will give you cues on what works for them and you need to respond accordingly.

          Leadership requires flexibility and attentiveness. Contrary to unrealistic notions of leadership, being a leader is less about being served and more about being of service.

          More About Leadership

          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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