In a world in which access to knowledge is democratized and elite universities are exposed as little more than factories for social network currency and expensive badges, how should we be reading resumes? (Assuming, that is, that we should be reading them at all.)
While it depends on what exactly you are looking for, I’d bet that most 21st century jobs value:
Capacity for learning over knowledge.
Ability to build and provide value to networks over credentials and badges.
Expanding disciplines of responsibility over contained functional expertise.
Facility navigating multiple cultures over being able to thrive within one culture (note: culture is not the same thing as nationality. Not even close.)
Sustained and deep effort that result in exceptional skill in an area of interest.
GPAs, going to a fancy school and job titles with incrementally more seniority are terrible proxies for these sorts of capabilities. Which is why I’d rather see a resume that:
Tells me the latest skill you mastered and what you’re working on.
Describes a knowledge gap you had in your latest job and how you filled it.
Identifies the networks you’re a part of or have created, and what you’ve done to strengthen them.
Helps me see that these networks bring together all sorts of different people with a shared purpose.
And highlights a few areas in your life where you’ve been putting in the hours for a decade or more, even if it has nothing to do with “your job.”
We can do so much better than a listing of schools, job titles and “accomplishments.”
And what better way to stand out from the crowd than to have a resume that actually stands out?
It’s true, most people reading it won’t like your new resume. That’s good news, because your 21st Century Resume will serve as an automatic filter to help you identify the kind of people you want to be working with in today’s fast-changing world.