Who Am I Anyway? Am I My Resume?

“Who am I anyway?Am I my resume? That is a picture of a person I don’t know.

What does he want from me? What should I try to be? So many faces all around, and here we go. I need this job, oh God, I need this show.”

When I work, I am prone to listen to old musicals as my background noise. I’m not talking about just the soundtrack; I play the movie on a separate tab of my browser semi-listening to the dialog and songs. Musicals are my happy place.

An idea has been rattling around in my head for a while to write an article about the musical Gypsy, about how it’s just a story of self-realization. I mean, “Everything’s coming up Rose!” is basically a song about a woman who’s been the power behind the scenes wanting, for just one moment, to be the star. LOVE IT.

This past week, however, I was listening to A Chorus Line. Similar to Gypsy, it’s a back-to-back tap-dancing extravaganza of “please like me!” songs. I was plugging away on some spreadsheet or another, and a remarkable tenor voice rang out:

“Who am I anyway? Am I my resume? What does he want from me?”

A song! A song that pleads with the reader to understand that he’s more than just a piece of paper. A song that begs the director to hire him, see that yearning inside him to dance.

I’ve written before how we’re all artists in some shape or form. Like the dancer is an artist, we’re just artists who use different mediums. [Check out this fantastic article from Rachel Vick about dance and the corporate world.]  I suggest that you’re also more than just your resume too. A succinct document that you spend hours pouring over to make sure every word concisely tells the story beyond the list of accomplishments, beyond a list of searchable keywords. A document that, if you’re lucky, gets 8 seconds of attention.


Hiring managers, you want people who are more than just a resume, right? You don’t want a bunch of robots who can do laid out tasks. You want people who can think, venture beyond the checklist of assignments.

That being said, to get the job, boxes must be checked.

A second character in the A Chorus Line, Carrie, is a former star who just “needs a job.” She is schooled by the director not to stand out, to be a machine so she can fit in the chorus. She struggles with blending in, with not being herself, with being a mirror of everyone else.

If you’re not there yet with my whole beef with the resume, even with my toe-tapping tunes in the background, let me what ask these questions:

  • Does your resume talk about your human value or does it list all the things you’ve done?
  • Does your resume look like a checklist of accomplishments or does it show what problems you’re great at solving?
  • Could the accomplishments be done by an AI or robotics enabled machine in the future? I know you’re pretty special, but are you quite sure a machine couldn’t do your job?
  • Are you your resume or are you more?

There is an opportunity for something big here. I think it’s time to disrupt the resume. Like a rotary phone it’s a relic of the past when humans were part of the supply chain, we were part of the process – like a machine.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not my resume. Far from it. I’m off to go figure out what the resume of the future might look like. Furthermore, Job Descriptions need an overhaul too. Those things read like requirements documents. Last time someone handed me a requirements document I built technology, I didn’t hire a human.

#morethanamachine #morethanaresume


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