Four Reasons Resumes No Longer Work

According to experts, “titles and years of experience are no longer a person’s number-one currency.”

Four Reasons Resumes No Longer Work
[Photo: Artpilot/iStock]

When you’re job-hunting, a resume used to be the quickest way to get your foot in the door, but that’s not necessarily true anymore. Today, 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet candidates during the hiring process, and traditional resumes are becoming obsolete.


Technology has changed the marketplace, and HR is the only vertical that hasn’t seen a rapid transition, says Carisa Miklusak, CEO of the algorithmic hiring platform tilr. “Right now tech isn’t giving people a fair opportunity to compete,” she says. “Before you blame the resume, you need to understand that they’re a byproduct of old employer values. Titles and years of experience are no longer a person’s number-one currency.”

Traditional resumes have four issues that can make it difficult to win a new job:

1. They Focus On Experience Over Skills

Past generations valued years of experience, and traditional resumes convey this information by offering a chronological snapshot of your employment history. Today, however, candidates are being judged and employed based on their ability to perform–something that doesn’t easily come across on a resume, says Miklusak.

“Employers are interested in skills and the results someone can generate, rather than titles or previous employment,” she says. “Focusing on skills provides a fuller understanding of the candidate’s experience and capabilities, and opens up more opportunities.”

2. They’re Organized By Job Titles

Traditional resumes use job titles as headings, but these aren’t always as clear as employers would like. Creative names, like “success ambassador” and “office ninja,” make it difficult to understand what a candidate does, and there is no uniform use of titles.

“When resumes are uploaded into employer databases, crawlers can have a hard time with titles and keywords,” says Miklusak. “New titles are used every day that didn’t exist prior, and they don’t always give a clear picture of someone’s skillset.”


3. They’re Static

Candidates have to acquire new skills to stay current, and employers are often purchasing new technology that employees need to master, but resumes are static, requiring frequent revisions.

“Unless you update it each week, a resume becomes outdated by the time you need to submit or forward it,” says Miklusak. While updating your LinkedIn profile provides real-time ease, it’s flawed, too. “You’re still subject to your last job title leading off your experience,” she says.

4. They’re Cumbersome In The Gig Economy

Using a resume to find workers for on-demand positions is inefficient and costly for companies. “There is a skill gap in the economy, and we don’t have enough workers to fill current jobs,” says Miklusak. “Resumes slow the process down, and we have unemployed people who still can’t find jobs.”

In addition, a lot of qualified workers don’t want to be bothered. “A gig worker isn’t going to create a resume for a $15/hour holiday work,'” she says.

What Should You Do?

For now, resumes are still the standard way of conducting a job search, so make the most of yours until new technology catches up to hiring. If a company requires that you submit your resume online, it’s a good idea to use traditional methods of putting yourself out there, suggests Miklusak. “Submit your resume online and mail it in, including a short paragraph that describes how you can add an immediate benefit to company,” she says. “Summarize your skillset that is relevant to the role and rate your proficiency.”

You can also cold call the hiring manager or HR department to bring attention to your application. “They might receive thousands of resumes, so do something to help cull yours out of that pile,” says Miklusak. “If you’re interested, you’re forced to do something to set yourself apart.”


For gig work, companies are moving to platforms like Upwork, Shiftgig, and tilr. “They’re a better tool to find new candidates instead of wading through resumes,” says Miklusak.

Finally, get out from behind your resume by expanding your network. “When you meet someone who works for a company that interests you, ask if they’re hiring any more people,” says Miklusak. “You still have to have a resume, but presenting it live or over a phone call can help you cut through the noise.”

Employers are starting to reassess their talent strategy moving forward, says Miklusak. “Based on the type of business and type of workers they need, they are finding new ways to recruit and deciding where resumes are relevant and where they aren’t,” she says.