Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Read my blog, not my resume...

I've had the opportunity to work with personnel and human resources quite a bit this year, and the learning curve has been tremendous! More importantly, I have gained valuable experience and insights into the world of HR and the many intricate moving parts that keep a school district running.

Most districts still have prospective employees turn in a traditional resume. Whether this resume is actually turned in via a hard copy or included as an attachment to an online application, the resume in education is still the predominant source for employment.

Now, it's not my goal to upset the masses, but I have to question why this practice is still allowed, and frankly, why is this practice still viewed as the most effective means to employment?

Let's face it, a resume doesn't really tell you much more than the prospective candidate's background and credentials. Though this information is important, is it really the most important information you are looking for when hiring an educator you are going to charge with helping to shape the minds of children who will ultimately dictate the future of our world?

Ok, I know the resume is typically used as a 'filtering' process before a phone interview or an actual face-to-face interview. But, while we are being honest and candid, we all know there are some people who are just smooth talkers who could sell a bag of cocoa powder to Mr. and Mrs. MM in a candy lounge inside Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory.

So, somebody has the 'appropriate' background and credentials and is then able to sell themselves during an interview, and BOOM, they now have a job. 

I know it's not that easy and I'm not trying to make light of those who recently got education jobs or the many who are struggling to find jobs, but my point is simple. Do we really feel we know that much about this new employee based just on a resume and an interview? Do we really know their true feelings and philosophies toward educating students, or do we just know they can write the right things and say the right things when necessary?

I applaud all of those (many of whom will read this blog post) who regularly use social media not just as a growth tool, but also as a self-branding tool. I can confidently say that I know more about many of the educators in my PLN when it comes to their true beliefs and feelings about education than I do some people with whom I work on a daily basis. I know this because they have shared their thoughts with the world. They have embraced transparency and open collaboration as a means to growing and developing.

And yes, of course it's possible there could be lousy educators who just happen to say a lot of great things online, but I am willing to bet that this is a small number.

Here's the thing, I would like to see more prospective education candidates get their thoughts 'out there.' I want to see more college education students documenting their learning progression and learning journey. I want to be able to take something they have written and shared and then talk with them about it during a phone or face-to-face interview. 

I also want school districts to start expecting prospective candidates to have a digital presence or some kind of portfolio showing their thoughts and beliefs about education. I'm not talking about a portfolio full of college papers, I'm talking about a portfolio that takes me into their mind and gives me a glimpse of their vision for the future of education.

In closing, I challenge all future education candidates to embrace and utilize social media as a means to possible employment. Remember, it's a competitive world out there, and you want to do everything you can to show your true colors, and separate yourself from the pack.