The explosion of social media has caused a disconnect between who we really are and the version of us portrayed on Facebook, Instagram et al. Some say it causes depression, others that it boosts self-esteem. We were all embellishing our accomplishments and dressing up our skills long before the Like button came around, except then it was on the printed page. And instead of doing it to impress your friends and relatives it was to get a job. Yep, the resume.
Everyone knows resumes are full of half-truths and over-enthusiasm. Have you ever read a personal mission statement without at least an eye-roll? It’s just an accepted dance that employers and prospective employees silently engage in and move on. But Oglivy & Mather New York creative Jeff Scardino, one of the minds behind last year’s Tinder smoking experiment, is hoping to cut the crap and instead turn the worst experiences of your career into an advantage.
His new site The Relevant Resume provides a template for job seekers to ditch the inflated skills and not-so humblebrags of their careers in favor of setting them apart by showcasing their failures. “I’ve always found it fascinating, especially in the creative world, when I’m asked for references,” says Scardino. “The idea hit me recently when I was helping in an interview process and people were providing references; what if I asked for bad references? References from people who didn’t like the person or thought he or she wasn’t good. That would tell me more about the person.”
The idea of failure is big right now. Fail fast. Learn from failure. You can’t succeed unless you fail. But will that idea get you a job? Scardino says perhaps a willingness to talk about our failures, challenges, and difficulties, says more about us than our accomplishments. “You have to fail in order to learn, so why not be proud of what you’ve overcome?” he says. “By having a relevant resume, you show that you’re confident in your abilities and that you have humility and room to grow. It also allows companies to find applicants who are comfortable with where they’ve been and what they’ve overcome, rather than sifting through the same old lies and embellishments.”