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Many smaller firms and start-ups are learning that a resume isn’t the best away to determine talent, potential or culture fit. So we started thinking: what would happen if the resume no longer existed? And we asked our friends at Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) this question:

If resumes are dead (or dying), how does a potential employee get your undivided attention?

Here are some of the answers sure to make you think twice about relying on a resume to find your next gig:


Make Specific Suggestions

Patrick ConleyI am always impressed by people who come to us with specific ideas they think could make an impact on our business and a rough plan to implement. It shows that they have done some research and are familiar with our work, as well as have a specific useful set of skills that we could benefit from.

Patrick Conley, Automation Heroes


Offer Off-Topic Stories

Rob FultonActors normally list “special skills” that may have nothing to do with the characters they’re trying out for: juggling, chess mastery, etc. I don’t find these off-topic, but rather find they add to the robustness of a candidate’s ability. If a potential employee approaches me with a story of experience they may have that doesn’t necessarily relate to the job title, it helps their chances.

Rob Fulton, Exponential Black


Make Us Money

Liam NelsonOne of the best ways anyone has popped up on my radar has been to register an affiliate code for our company and send us leads. When he showed up for an interview, he said that the leads he sent us took him a day’s work — imagine what he could do every day if he was working with us. He was immediately way ahead of the rest of his competition.

Liam Martin,


Show Your Portfolio

Tracey WeidemeyerDon’t tell me how good you are with words on a paper, let me experience it by seeing your portfolio of previous work. If you’re a designer, show me some creativity and have a viewpoint. If you’re an engineer, show me your Stack Overflow, Server Fault, GitHub or Google Code. Past accomplishments are more indicative of future success than simply writing a few things down.

Tracey Wiedmeyer, InContext Solutions


Solve Our Problems

Nicholas GremionOne of our last hires pinpointed, via email, a number of areas for improvement within our business and the ways in which he could improve them. I love people who demonstrate initiative — who look to improve/grow the business without being told what to do all the time. He essentially created a job for himself and now spearheads his own department.

Nicolas Gremion,


Be Polite but Persistent

Neil Thanedar

Every interaction I have with a potential employee is an opportunity to evaluate their skills. Simply dropping your résumé into an open submission form will receive only a couple minutes worth review. But someone who sends me interesting articles, asks me pointed questions about my business and shows polite persistence will stand out as an ideal candidate.

Neil Thanedar, LabDoor


Apply With Visuals

Brooke BergmanIf a potential hire is trying to get my attention, I’m more likely to respond to an easy-to-read visual than an email or anything else. The ability to think outside the box is important, but so is proving added value. By laying it all out visually so I can’t argue with their points, I have no choice but to hire them.

Brooke Bergman, Allied Business Network Inc.


Reach Out to One of Our Employees

Kelsey MeyerI’ve been impressed by candidates who find Influence & Co. employees on LinkedIn and reach out asking for more info on a specific job description, or tips for applying to the company. Doing this in a professional and respectful way shows that you really are interested in the company, and not simply sending your résumé to any company you can find.

Kelsey Meyer, Influence & Co.


Get an Intro to the Founder

Ben LangGet an intro by someone who’s a friend of the founder of the company. If the founder sees that the introduction is coming from a close friend, it boosts the chance of a potential interview.

Ben Lang, Mapme



Leverage Social Media

Kris RubyThe key is using social media creatively to differentiate your personal brand equity from all of the clutter. Linking to a digital portfolio or résumé is critical. On Twitter, identify your most unique attributes in 140 characters and include a link to your website. On Instagram, follow and comment on potential employers posts to show interest.

Kris Ruby, Ruby Media Group


Indicate How Your Core Values Match Our Core Values

Beck BambergerI want long-term team members who are fired up about being at this company because what we believe in as a company is what THEY believe in personally. Tell me in person or via email or whatever, “I reviewed your core values, and many of them are ones I believe in. Let me expand…”

Beck Bamberger, BAM Communications