This is the first in series of articles presenting my views on the gap between what can be and what is in the HR or Talent world.
I am looking out for work opportunities actively at this point. I have sent my resume to several HR folks and to several head hunters in the process. Let me begin by explaining my resume. I have a single page resume divided into two parts – infographic timeline of my education and experience. This includes where I have worked or studied, when and what. The other side provides glimpse of range of my skills and key projects in core areas of work. This has tools and techniques I have used in my work, projects categorized by HR function, my social and industry contributions and my interests (beyond work and I mention my blog on this).
I know that the resume catches attention. I was asked to send a two page text resume because some recruiters found my current resume too confusing. The first page has all of the above except the timeline. That is because I refused to cave in to recruiters’ ask to share detailed description of my work on each job I have held in the last 12 years. I refused to be judged by conventional standards of role definitions and have highlighted what I have done. I have converted the timeline into text talking about my work history and education with what my role in each organization was.
As HR professional, I see merit in knowing how applicant’s career has progressed over time. However, the offer is still based on last designation and salary held. That is quite conflicted. This decision is not not based on other experiences the person brings to the new role or the right compensation for work involved in new role. Its always about progression according to industry standards. Even as HR professional the term industry standards has me often confused. I will leave that topic to another day.
The readiness of our traditional HR recruiters to pace with creativity in resume writing requires mindset shift. I list three things we as HR professionals need to do to become progressive.
1. Manage the disruptive. Disruptive ideas bring innovation to organizations. We talk about breaking biases and avoid hiring similar people in a team. We need to consider disruptive folks who bring a fresh perspective. A wise person said – “If you continue doing things the same way and expect different results, you must be stupid”. Organizations need diversity and not just for statistics but for the value it brings. I remember one of my work colleague and a good friend confide in me about diversity in his team. He said he was all for more women on team and he managed to have the highest diversity of 70% of women on his team. He told me that 80% of these women were either on maternity leave or were getting married. His team’s productivity was at lowest, those still working were overloaded and were demotivated. There were new fathers on the team who did not have similar luxury to spend time at home with the child or be with their wives. Instead they were working more than ever when they should have at least taken it easy at work. Teams require diversity in life stage, in mindset and thought process.
2. Get over the conservative considerations. If we continue to look at the resumes the same way and put tick mark on – years on required skillset, team size managed, no gaps in education or work etc. I have had someone ask me that my first three jobs, I switched in a span of 1.5 year each. In the last 9 years, I have only been with 2 companies. I still don’t understand how my reasons at the start of my career will influence my decisions now. Is there an assumption that we never grow up? Also, we live in an age where many people have two careers. We have enough techies venturing into music and forming their local bands. We have enough bankers who love photography. We have enough retailers who are shaping social media via detailed or microblogging. This world has changed. We need to change too. A resume needs to convey applicant’s ability to work. Willingness is assessed during the interview process. It is important to understand applicant’s motivation to work but finding out why they took a break in their studies 15 years back or why they quit a company within 6 months, 10 years ago does not define their current motivations. They are not in same stage of life, economic environment, maturity levels or even their aspirations.
3. Embrace and advocate the new. We as HR professionals not only need to embrace and adopt new practices, we need to advocate them. We need to drive culture change and pace up with the growth in industry and with generations.
I want to also talk about why I am advocating infographic resume.
Visual judgement: All of us have a huge visual component in our decision making. We make judgements on looks, dressing, expressions, body language, presentation etc. Infographic resume simplifies the scanning process via visual representation of skills and experiences.
Resume is summary and interview is details: When we look at resumes, we typically look for key words in skillset we want for a job and a role. Infographic showcases the same effectively. We don’t need to scan the entire resume to pick and highlight the keywords.
As mentioned earlier, we also need to create this shift in organization with our business professionals who interview specially on technical ability of the prospective hire to do the job.