Flickr / JD Lasica
Even with new innovations like LinkedIn, website portfolios and unique interview questions, one part of the job application process has always remained the same — the resume. It’s a standard document that highlights your recent and relevant experiences. It’s your one-sheet; your main rationale for getting this job.
But what if it didn’t have to be? According to top CEOs, resumes aren’t the best identifier for good hires. Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, believes that the key to finding strong talent isn’t looking at more resumes — it’s about looking in non-traditional places.
Speaking at the ASU GSV Summit, Weiner acknowledged that companies need to update the way they’ve traditionally hired people. “There are qualities… that have a tendency to be completely overlooked when people are sifting through resumes or LinkedIn profiles,” Weiner said. “And yet, increasingly, we find that these are the kinds of people that make the biggest difference within our organization.”
For individuals who have many skills but few experiences, resumes aren’t an accurate summary of their potential. Resumes do a good job providing a timeline of your work history, but they focus on aspects that don’t necessarily apply to the work you’ll be doing with a specific company.
“After two or three years, your ability to perform… is completely unrelated to how you performed when you were in school,” Bock said. “The skills you required in college are very different. You’re also fundamentally a different person. You learn and grow, you think about things differently.
“Google famously used to ask everyone for a transcript and G.P.A.’s and test scores, but we don’t anymore,” Bock said. “We found that they don’t predict anything.”
Weiner agrees. It’s one of the reasons he supports LinkedIn’s internship program, REACH, and its focus on a new kind of recruiting.
“Yes, degrees from specific schools can lead us to finding incredible talent. But it’s not the exclusionary domain of incredible talent,” Weiner said. “This [program] is trying to get away from this idea that everyone on the engineering team, everyone we recruit, has to have come from a specific school and has to have a specific kind of degree.”
Unlike a traditional internship program, REACH is an apprenticeship. For six months, participants work full-time as a member of LinkedIn’s functional engineering team to learn from managers. By proving their skills at the end of the program, successful apprentices have the potential to be offered a full-time software engineering role.
“We’re looking for folks with a growth mindset,” Weiner said. “We’re looking for people with the dedication, with the work ethic. We want to give them a shot. And what we’re finding is, these people are… incredibly talented, and they need a chance.”
Bock agrees. “You want people who like figuring stuff out where there is no obvious answer.”
So, while this does mean that your resume has less of an impact on your overall hiring, it means that within your next job interview — you should focus on how you can put your hard-earned skills to use for the company. Keep the focus on your skills and you’ll go far.
“There’s just so much talent to be had if people are open to finding this talent in different places,” Weiner said.
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