Business, Call to Action, Opinion, Professional, United States

Is the resume out of date?

The resume was created 500 years ago. That is old. As far as I can tell, over these 500 years not a lot of people have stopped and asked the question “is the resume out of date; is it time for an upgrade?” The consequence is evident. Instead of innovation we have simply worked our systems around the underlying fact, that, the resume is terribly inefficient and far from perfect.

Those born in the 1960’s or earlier never saw this consequence (when first applying for jobs). When my parents were applying for jobs, their interactions were almost always face-to-face. And then came the internet. When I was a child, the internet was a tool. Then came Myspace, Microsoft office, Facebook, then… You get the idea. Instead of a luxury, the internet has more or less become a necessity. More and more became digitized over a fairly short period of time; a tragedy of innovation is the resume ultimately got left behind.

And more so, populations have grown exponentially. Where once a high school diploma was enough, and achieving one was a sense of pride, a high school diploma is now a prerequisite. And while a College diploma is better, it is still not enough. The problem is not a lack of jobs but rather unrealistic criteria that employers have come to expect of newly graduated students. Everyone is supposed to be a leader, have excellent communication skills, be a 4.0 student, be involved on campus, and have someone who can vouch for them that A) either works for the company or B) Has a prestigious title. What’s more, employers want cheap. Instead of proper training programs, companies look to cut costs by having overly simplistic programs and simply choose the lucky few who do not require initial training.

That’s not to say all companies do this but after interviewing with a handful of companies and declining a few offers, the trend is alarming. What’s more is a lot of the more “prestigious” companies don’t take the time of day to look at your resume. We are keyword searches to some. The process has nothing to do with qualification but rather who can write well and use the best buzzwords. It’s an absolute tragedy. Is a text the same as an email? Is a phone call the same as talking to someone face-to-face? No. And many would agree. Does a page of paper tell the story of a person? Do a few sentences and a few bullets points show a persons charisma? Does it show their grit, how well they’ve dealt with adversity? No. And yet, with so many applicants, what is a company to do?

The best innovation, after centuries of having the resume, is the the Curriculum Vitae. What is it? The crude definition is a two-page resume. That’s it. If employers barely have time to read over a 1 page resume, who had the bright idea of “innovating” so that the resume is now two pages?

What can we do?

Call it naive, but I want to solve this problem. The resume has become a norm when it should’ve been discarded decades ago. We need a better standard to use. If we continue to perpetuate the problem by continuing to use the resume, imagine how much talent will be lost. Too many people have to ask the question “if I could only get my foot in the door…” Imagine a world with an open door policy. The question is how…

What’s being done

LinkedIn –

LinkedIn has done a phenomenal job of shifting the process towards the future. It’s created a community of professionals where people need not be afraid to share their stories and play with their professional identity. Easy apply takes the job search process and makes it a one-click, stress free hassle. I can write all my experiences on LinkedIn, employers can see what skills I have, and I can requests recommendations so employers don’t have to.

Staffing Agencies-

Staffing agencies have become increasingly relevant over the last decade. Staffing agencies work much like a middleman. If companies are feeling cheap, they can hire a staffing agency and essentially outsource their recruiting. These are professionals trained to sniff out potential. It’s a way to reach almost everyone and while not perfect, more often than not you will get an interview with a company that is a proper person-fit.

New Power School of thought-

New Power is the idea that information should be shared rather than withheld; blogging is an example of ‘New Power’. This is not so much a system or institution but rather an emerging social trend (as well as a new way of thinking) that is beyond exciting. Old Power is a system where seniority and title take precedence. As I’ve come to believe and see, this school of thought (old power) is on it’s death spiral. With the emergence of the internet, the potential employee is equipped with knowledge at their finger tip. Sites like Glassdoor have capitalized on this new school of thought and have brought a level of employer-employee transparency the likes we have never seen. While ‘old power’ still exists, I imagine it will be almost unheard of in the next decade or so.

A few closing thoughts

While the current trends are promising, if you’re unemployed, it’s still a tough grind and can seem impossible to get noticed. And that’s a shame. As far as innovating the resume, my idea is that innovation will come in the form of an App or perhaps a more visual format. Imagine if the resume was designed around telling a story. Instead of writing buzzwords on a piece a paper, imagine creating a five minute video where you didn’t feel pressure to say exactly what the employer wants to hear. The job searching (and application) process shouldn’t be a chore, it should be fun! And that comes only from employers and potential employees finding common ground. Especially in the realm of business, we need systems that reflect and encourage creativity, not ones that encourage cookie cutter attempts to impress employers.

A Call to Action

If you have ideas, don’t be afraid to express them. Nothing changes if we do what already has been done. Play around, discuss with friends and start creating the new normal. Try using your idea with an employer. If it fails, try again. And do not be afraid to share; sharing gives us a new perspective and helps an idea grow.


Thanks for reading! I’ve been wanting to talk about the resume for quite a few years now. However, each time I approached the topic it never felt quite right. It’s a sensitive topic and must be handled with grace. I hope this helps and feel free to comment below if you have ideas or simply want to point out what I might of missed.

Advice, Business, personal

Embracing Chaos

So let’s start where it all began; The Big Bang. The Universe was in harmony, molecules bonded, planets formed, life was created. The Universe was in order. Every moment that passes the Universe expands ever faster and the unforeseen happens, bringing a little more chaos into our lives. Is it bad? Not at all! I may sound like a mad man, but hear me out.

So, what is chaos? Chaos represents that which we cannot control and that scares a lot of people. Control gives us a sense of stability, so as humans we seek to control the world around us. Yet this is a futile effort. We have this illusion of control, that somehow our lives will be better tomorrow than they are today. This is not guaranteed. Some may say it comes down to perspective, that if you think positive, your life is all sunshine and rainbows. This is a false assumption. Optimism only goes so far and it can be a slippery slope. Being overly optimistic can lead to a false sense of security. It can become easier to ignore reality than face that the world can be a cruel, unforgiving place. “Good to Great” wisely stated (I’m paraphrasing, but you’ll get the gist) that optimists don’t survive in the real world. The people who survive believe they will prevail but set realistic expectations. So pessimists rejoice, you have the right attitude (just don’t have a rain cloud over your head)!

I have spent my entire college career trying to answer what role chaos has played in my life. Like the great human being I am, I spent the the first two years trying to control the chaos with no avail. Then I simply let the chaos control me. And then, I invested a lot of time and energy building myself from the ground up, the typical reinventing that many-a -college-student goes through. What did I find? Once I understood how to control myself, how to self manage and all that good jazz, I didn’t see chaos as such a detriment. I wouldn’t say chaos and myself are BFF’s right now, but I’ve found life to simply be more enjoyable. I know what you may be thinking “hey, he figured himself out, that’s great! But doesn’t the act of finding/creating yourself help reduce chaos?” Yes and no. The way I see it, investing in yourself is the equivalent of being handed a compass. A compass may point you in the right direction but at the end of the day you can choose any map you want to follow. But there’s a difference between looking at a map and having direction vs. actually setting down the path you’ve chosen. All the preparation and tools in the world won’t prepare you for reality, the environment and situations you may or may not come across. You may find that the road you chose to wander down is a dead end. If you are afraid of chaos, you’ll turn around and retread your steps. The familiar will  always give a false sense of stability. If however, you embrace chaos, you might say “this road is blocked, but I know where I’m headed, so here’s another road that’ll get me there”.  So go ahead and embrace chaos, you won’t be disappointed.

Book Review, Business, personal

Go-Givers Sell More: Worth a read?

Short answer, it depends. In my honest opinion, I’d say no. You are much better off reading “How to win friends & influence people” or “7 habits for highly effective people”. This book, while not inherently bad, offers nothing new. In fact, the title gives away the entire book. Read the title and you’re good to go. The premise is if you’re nice to people, you’ll be more successful. This is a lesson you learn just by breathing and living. The difference is that this book places it in the context of “making sales”. The advice given is filler, while decent advice, there’s nothing that makes this book stand out. This a book you’ll read once and put away on your shelf. This book is a business book but as with all business books it can be applied to your personal life as well. Yet most of the techniques I’ve read in the book were watered down versions of what previous authors/philosophers have said before. Building off the ideas of others is a foundation of success, but for all it’s talk about creating value, this book came off as filler. The anecdotes used in the book are bland and boring, offering very little substance to get the gears turning.

Final Verdict:

Time is the most valuable resource we have. While I didn’t feel like my time was completely wasted I still felt that a lot of this book was trying to live up to greater titles such as “How to win friends & influence people”. This book never really found it’s footing. I can neither recommend it as a business book nor a personal book. The ideas presented in this book have been written about before and in a much more entertaining manner.

Business, personal, Recommendation

The Power of Context: Life isn’t a one size fits all label

Ever heard the phrase “it’s the little things that matter most”? Of course you have, unless you’ve lived under a rock your entire life; no judgments here. Is it true? Yes, yes it is. That’s not to say big moments don’t matter but it’s often the little moments that add up and create big moments. So why then, as human beings, are we stuck in a vicious cycle of oversimplifying the complexities of life? We can say criminals are evil but that’s an easy answer that doesn’t add up. If I volunteer on the weekends, I’m perceived as a good person. As flattering as that is, that’s a generalization. So what makes everything add up, where you can say, “oh, now that makes a lot of sense”? Well, my friends, it’s context. We are not always good and we are not always evil. Context explains why “good” people do “bad” things and “bad” people do “good” things.

Why Context Matters:

Context matters because it allows us to make better sense of the world. Instead of saying someone did something out of “character”, we can analyze and break down what they did and why they did it. When we make generalizations, we are left scratching our heads. If I’m perceived as a good person people will dismiss when I do something out of line, or worse, change their view of who I am with this one instance. If, for example, I call someone a “bad” name, rather than trying to understand the context and what lead to the name calling, they can simply say I’m a “bad” person. And due to personal bias, once they make this new assumption, they will look for anything that will reaffirm their new belief that I am a “bad” person. Yet, flip the story around. Let’s say I compliment that person and reaffirm their world views. Then I am a “good” person. So, simple. Just be a “good” person. This would work in a perfect world. Yet what as human beings do we tend to do? We focus on the negative. We are hard-wired to do so. Everyone wants to feel as though they have worth and we seek this through the approval of our peers. Humans are social creatures, so it makes sense. In a perfect world, we would be 100% intrinsically motivated and not care what others thought of us, but once again, we do not live in a perfect world. So back to my previous example. We can have a thousand positive interactions with an individual yet it only takes one moment to destroy a relationship. Does this seem logical? No, yet we do it all the time. We hold grudges and we put up walls. So an understanding of context in a sense can overwrite what we are hard-wired to do and make forgiving others much easier.

Asking the right questions:

A question we don’t ask enough is why. Such a simple question yet so powerful. Why is a question of trying to understand context. It encourages discussion and facilitates results. It not only helps you understand the situation better but shows appreciation of the other party. Ask why enough times and you have an answer. Instead of “good” or “bad” we get “Oh, I never saw it that way” or “Oh, that makes a lot of sense”. That’s the power of understanding context. It’s understanding. Context encourages us to break down labels and try to understand the other person on a situation-by-situation basis. “Heat of the moment” now makes a lot more sense. So go ahead, ask the question “why” and let the results speak for themselves.

Business, Recommendation, Self Improvement

A Key to Success: to tell a…

So , there are many ways to be successful. This happens to be what’s worked best for me and I truly believe if you do this you can find success wherever that might be. What is it? It’s learning how to tell a good story.

Yes, from the dawn of time we have been story tellers. A story can take any form, it can be a painting, a photo, a blog post, literally anything. Let me clarify, just because you have something to say doesn’t make it a story. A story is a process of organizing information, tailoring a message to your specific audience. This audience can be yourself or others. We are constantly absorbing new information and this information is just noise until we break down the noise and organize. So what do stories need?

Stories need focus

One story at a time. Yes we have a lot to say and want to say it all at once, but this almost always ends in disaster. You end up having too much to say and end up spreading yourself too thin. You end up jumping from topic to topic and lose the interest of your audience.

Stories need a message

There is no point in telling a story if it doesn’t have a message. People want application. A story without a message is simply put, a waste of everyone’s time. You don’t tell a joke without a punchline and the same applies here.

Stories need to matter

You must tailor your story to your audience. Some stories are best left untold if they don’t add value to the other person. That’s not to say the story doesn’t matter, but it might be a story for another day and a different audience. If you find value in the story, great, that’s your own personal story. This said, my advice is try to find universal interests to frame your stories. Like, for example, everyone can relate to wanting to feel valued, to know that they have worth. You can tell many stories from this frame, whether that be giving advice through a blog or telling someone how much you appreciate their work and listing specifics.

So there you have it, a simple guide on what stories are and what to watch out for so you’re not giving people word vomit. I would like to note that this post is just one story. There very well has probably been another blogger who’s written about telling stories and reached a completely different outcome. Life isn’t about right or wrong, it’s about valuing the differences! Now go out and tell your story (or stories) whatever that (those) may be! Thanks for reading!

Business, Review

The One Thing: Worth a Read?

So, what is the one thing? Well, that’s the idea behind this book. People are constantly making themselves busier and busier but for what? People try to achieve a work life balance but only find themselves stressed and frustrated. This book challenges this belief and instead refers to the “work-life” counterbalance. If you’re working, your focus should be on work. If you’re “living” your focus should be on life (family, friends, yourself, etc). This is just one of many ideas touched upon in this book.

Readability:

The book is easy to read and is very engaging, often riddled with pictures and diagrams. Gary Keller and Jay Papasan take the time to literally underline important concepts in the book, as if you were making notes in the book yourself. It’s a cool and memorable idea, and makes it easy if you want to refer to the book later on. The end of each chapter has a “big ideas” section that covers all the key concepts.

Application:

This book is extremely useful. I read the book a few weeks ago and a lot of the concepts have stuck with me even though I haven’t been practicing all of them. This is a book that gives you specific techniques to do more with less and really helps you manage your time more efficiently.

Final Verdict:

Amazing book, I’d put it high on my list for “must reads”. I’d say it was just as helpful as “how to win friends and influence people” and “7 habits for highly effective people”. If you’re someone who feels like you want to make the most of your time and not waste it doing things that don’t matter to you, pick up this book!

Business, Recommendation, Review

Good to Great Review: Is it worth a buy?

So “Good to Great”,  was it good or was it great? Well, that’s a tough call. As an “essential” business book I found it a little meh when compared to the works of Stephen Covey and Dale Carnegie. Th basic premise behind “Good to Great” is that in order to make the leap from good to great, a company must have “disciplined people, disciplined thought, and disciplined action”. It’s a fun idea and what I liked is the book found this information through extensive research into companies. For that fact alone it’s worth a read. This is a data driven book that tries (and largely succeeds) to marry the data to “universal rules”. I thought Jim Collins was a good author, being honest and transparent in his language. He does tend to repeat a lot of the concepts but for the most part I never felt like it was going in circles. So what’s my recommendation?

Recommendation: Worth a Buy, but I’d definitely wait until you’ve read some other “essential” business books. The book can get dry at times but there’s a lot of good material to read. Can also apply what you learn to your everyday life (although not to the same extent as “7 Habits” and “How to Win Friends”).

Note: I listened to the audible version, which was fun because Jim Collins himself narrated it and added extra snippets that weren’t in the original book. As far as content, there are a few diagrams which couldn’t be shown that are in the book but that Jim Collins took the time to describe in detail. As far as using this book as a reference, I would most likely recommend the hard cover.