What hiring managers use as your “resume” is changing. It’s becoming less backward-looking and more about the present. It’s not just where you’ve worked, it’s a deeper look into you. Very quickly, it’s becoming the conversations you’re in and what you have to say. If they can find you, the person considering you wants to know: what are you really into?
Why the Resume Exists
While most people think of resumes as something indispensable for job seekers, it’s in fact the hiring managers who initiated and have come to depend on them.
As originally conceived, the resume played a critical role for a hiring manager — a sorting mechanism for their time. The resume does not determine whether someone should be hired. The utility of a resume is as a filter. A resume answers whether a person should be considered — Is this person worth spending more time on?
The resume excels at being the quick look in the rear-view mirror. We all know it well — it’s a list of employment, usually full-time. Within that skeleton, there are three types of information that a hiring manager can use to sort people into worth-more-time or not.
- Area of work (subfield experience, functional expertise)
- Reputation of what you worked on (company, project)
- Results (numbers, measures)
In other words, resumes are a short-hand for the arc of a story. They answer in brief: What did you do? With who? How did it work out?
If you’re considering someone for a team, and you know nothing about them yet, it’s easy to see the utility of a resume. It provides an initial reference point for comparison. It can start to give a sense of patterns over time. It can begin to answer the amount of growth required of the person in order for them to thrive in the new role.
What Hiring Managers Really Want to Know
Hiring managers face two hard problems that resumes can’t wholly solve:
- they need to discover talent, and
- they need to distinguish between them once they’ve found them.
Since they’ve been around, resumes have always been necessary but not sufficient on both counts.
Besides the most well-known complaints (easy to spoof, keywords are grossly inadequate, they’re free to replicate so thousands can show up for an open job), resumes have always had structural limitations in the questions they can quickly answer. After getting a historical baseline, hiring managers have filled the gaps in other (time-intensive) ways, usually through interviews and references.
So if you were going to make a hiring manager’s job easier for them, let’s figure out: what else do they want to know? (Or better, put yourself in their shoes — what else would you want to know if you’re considering someone to join your team?)
Even more helpful than the potential hire’s full-time role 3 or 10 years ago, when distinguishing candidates TODAY it’s immensely helpful to know what they’re really into right now. Where someone is investing their attention now is the best proxy for what truly motivates them, and as a result, a more distinctive predictor of whether they might thrive in the specific role at hand.
Think: what is this person so into that they’d talk about it even if they weren’t getting paid? What’s something either they’re learning quickly or teach a lot about? Hiring managers are looking for a fast and reliable way to gauge a candidate’s intrinsic motivation.
Current genuine interest is not the only input for a hiring decision, but it’s a huge one. Current genuine interest fuels a person’s willingness to expend the real effort required to grow and get the hard work done. It also helps signal what else — people and insights — they can bring to the table.
Beyond the historical list that a resume provides, hiring managers want to know:
- What are you genuinely interested in?
- What have you learned about it lately?
- Who are you learning from (and who’s learning from you)?
- How fast do you learn? Is it superficial or is there clear-thinking that’s leading to a point of view?
The hiring manager faces the needle in the haystack problem — and if you want to be readily hired, part of your job is to help them solve it. They’re trying to find a very specific person for a very specific role. Put another way, once they find you, the person considering you for a job is trying to discover if what you’re really into is what they really need.
As a job seeker, your job is to help make your answers to these questions as easily discoverable as possible. Your resume, built for a different purpose in a different era, isn’t going to get you there. Here’s what will: showcasing what you know, a few sentences at a time, around a very specific job (i.e. in a way that makes it easy for hiring managers to find you).
Remember, hiring managers are awash in a sea of resumes. They’re trying to separate the wheat from the chaff — they want to discover the few bits you’ve said online that are relevant to their open role without wading through the noise of all the other conversations you’re in. They want to quickly see who’s sharp at being an analyst in management consulting or doing curriculum development for new teacher development.
This is by the way precisely how Daily Endeavor and our partners can help you. At Daily Endeavor you can showcase what you know.
The main question for you: what have you done recently to make your interests and insights discoverable for hiring managers with a very specific job in mind?