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Have Traditional Resumes and Job Descriptions Become Redundant?

The race to find talent in the modern-day hiring process is growing more intense, and forcing us to re-think traditional recruitment methods.

The Quickening Pace of Modern Life

We live in a world that increasingly values immediate gratification. The pace of modern life is undoubtedly going to have a disruptive effect on hiring processes that for decades have remained fairly constant. I made my first placement as a recruiter more than 25 years ago; and the process was almost identical to the placement I made last week! But change is coming.

Traditional Job Descriptions Lack Appeal for the New Generation                                                         

Historically, recruitment usually starts with a fairly long job description. It lists all the responsibilities the employer is looking for. Often these are written with a narrow point of view that is inwardly focused, without much consideration for the wider target audience.  Job descriptions frequently contain acronyms used only within the company.

A series of bullet points follows, enumerating all the required qualifications and experience that the applicant must have, for example: 

  • Bachelor’s degree in business, engineering or related field
  • Minimum 8 years’ experience as a supply chain manager
  • At least 4 years in a leadership position

The traditional job description is not enticing. It can appear stiff and aloof, off-putting to today’s next generation of up-and-coming talent. More importantly, these job descriptions often do not precisely describe exactly what and who is needed.

Most Resumes are Uninspiring

Then we look at resumes. Most candidates make their first resume when they graduate from school. Instead of properly updating and overhauling their resume every year or two, jobseekers usually just add job descriptions to their resume as they go through their careers.

Most of the resumes I see simply list the responsibilities the candidate had in current and previous jobs – sometimes they just copy and paste the corporate job descriptions onto the document. Crafting an attractive resume requires more effort than this. Otherwise, you’ll end up with an uninspiring resume that fails to showcase your abilities and the best aspects of your character.

Consult with a Professional Recruiter

My role as a recruiter is to analyse job descriptions and resumes, and then to consult with both hiring managers and candidates to ‘bridge the gap,’ and get us to the short-list and interview stage as quickly as possible.

The Talent Marketplace is Evolving

Let’s start by looking at two vital trends in the talent market:

First, candidates now expect companies to “sell” them on a job: in-demand talent will consider an employers’ image and culture more than ever before, placing a high value on ESG, DEI, and work-life balance.

Secondly, it’s important to keep in mind that specific skills and experience quickly become out-of-date in today’s tech-driven marketplace. For candidates, demonstrating agility, eagerness and a propensity to learn are keys to growth and success.

How to Write More Appealing Job Descriptions

For hiring managers, it’s important to remember the goal of the job description is to attract the right candidate; it’s not necessary to list and describe every possible scenario that may occur on the job. Here are a few simple changes you can make to attract the best talent:

  • Start from scratch: do not simply update the old job description
  • Highlight the company’s shared values
  • Keep the list of responsibilities concise
  • Avoid the use of internal company terms and acronyms
  • Requirements and qualifications should focus more on skills and character than specific experience
  • Always include information about career development

Update Your Resume, Get More Interviews

Here are a few tips on how to present yourself in the best possible light. Remember, the goal of your CV is to get an interview – you can worry about landing the job later!

  • As you go through your current resume, look for all areas that can be updated. This document needs to represent who you are today. For example: You may have described in great detail the responsibilities of a job that you left 10 years ago. But that role is less relevant to your professional profile than more recent positions. So revise the job descriptions accordingly, to emphasise the talents and capabilities you possess now, and focus less on the jobs that served as stepping stones.
  • Write a concise statement describing yourself to provide immediate impact
  • Start your career history with your most recent job
  • Focus on achievements more than responsibilities
  • Include some information about your life outside the workplace – interests, activities, sports, charity work
  • Keep it simple – your resume should not be longer than two pages
  • As you read the resume, ask yourself: Would YOU want to meet and interview the person described in this document?

Keep Evolving, Keep Adapting

The nature of work has changed a great deal and will continue to do so. Some jobs will be taken over by AI, some jobs will disappear. There are always new jobs appearing – such as Prompt Engineers – but most jobs will just continue to evolve as skillsets become redundant more quickly.

Therefore, companies will rely more and more on hiring and retaining talent with the right mindset, character, and capabilities to learn new things, build strong relationships, and develop new skills.

With all these changes, there is one constant: Employers’ job descriptions and jobseekers’ resumes are key to attaining mutual success and happiness.

If you would like to discuss how to optimise your company’s job descriptions or how to polish your resume, please feel free to reach out to me at LinkedIn