Resumes are Worthless

by | Jan 7, 2011 | 4 comments

Resumes are worthless

Yes – resumes are worthless!! When I speak, I often say “resumes are worthless” to the shock of many in an audience — especially when I am following well-meaning career counselors who just spent 15-20 minutes explaining why your resume needs to be perfect.

Why do I say they are worthless?

First – it is not that they are bad as a tool to help you define what you have to offer (a tool for YOU) and to help remind people what you have to offer AFTER they have met you. But our society has given resumes a higher calling – that of being the main element of a career search. Over and over I hear people talk about the importance of networking — but all they ever teach you is about how to do it FOR writing a solid resume – perhaps with a cover letter. Then you post that information to a job site or send in your resume and wait. Or — even worse – you send your resume to someone in email who will likely just delete it.

Second – We all must be introverts or something because we all seem to want to use the resume as a way of avoiding talking to people. I think the idea of a job search being me “selling myself” (which is not really true) makes people so uncomfortable that they prefer to hide behind a document.

Third – Almost every company of any size has automated tools to scan, store, and sort resumes. All your work is wasted, since often the only one reading your resume is a machine. And — machines do NOT hire people.

Fourth – Resumes are just paper. People do not hire paper – they hire people.

What does work?

Like it or not – success comes from operating as if you are an independent company. You, in fact, ARE an entrepreneur – and you HAVE to act like one to really thrive AND be in control of your career.

Details of how to operate as your own company and getting a job the real way are going to be in my book Resumes are Worthless – which is due to be released soon!

About the Author

Dale Callahan

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  1. Elbert L Jenkins II

    I agree. Through my past experiences, I found that the age old saying of “It’s not what you know, but who you know” to be accurate. Networking is one of the most valuable job seeking tools that one can utilize in order to land that “ideal” job. The problem is knowing HOW, WHERE, and WHEN to network.

  2. Larry D. Robinson

    Dr. Callahan,

    I agree also. I would like to share an example of how you are correct that just happen to me this past week. I applied for a job with a local hospital of which I know that I am at least qualified for to be looked at for an interview. Well upon applying I received a general email response that says, “We are looking at more qualified candidates”. Since I knew I was qualified and wanted to see if WHO you know would really work; I went to work on using my resources to find out who was over the position and to email him/her directly. Lo and behold what do you know it worked. I got information about the department and who was over the position. I emailed him directly and apparently he got in touch with HR and I had a phone interview this past Friday and I really believe I may get the job offer. So “Resumes are Worthless” and I will be looking out for your book.


  3. Henri Delisle

    Indeed! I’ve had plenty of personal expreience with trying the “résumé shotgun” approach. You have a better chance of winning the lottery. At least that pays much better if you get lucky.

  4. Dale


    Did you ever find an approach that worked?

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