courses on resume writingWrite a great resume! This is the cry that people hear when they say they’re interested in finding a new job. High schools and colleges even teach courses on resume writing. But is that really the best option? Will it get you hired? Is that really what employers are looking for?

Sixty-one percent of the American public believes there is a skills gap, and 90 percent of employers agree.

If that’s the problem, how does describing your work and education experience show an employer that you have the skills they need? It doesn’t. In reality, it can create more confusion as you try to describe the jobs you’ve had in the terms you think a prospective employer wants to see.

It is increasingly obvious that employers need to better describe the specific skills they’re looking to hire, and that job seekers need to be able to show that they have the skills employers need. This requires a new approach.

Too often, job descriptions – and as a result, resumes – ask for experiences that are supposed to represent something else. For example, there is too much weight placed on what your last job was or where you went to college, rather than what you actually did in those places.

The first step is to develop a skills-based job profile. This enables an employer to take, for example, a four-page job description and translate it into a clear, condensed job profile with a specific number of prerequisites (usually 4-6) and a specific number of skills (usually 10-20). Job seekers can build their own skills profiles and match to opportunities based on criteria established by the employer.

Can a resume still help you get a job? Yes, but probably not as often or as effectively as those resume writing classes would have you believe.

Right now employers and job seekers are each working independently to guess at what the other is looking for, which contributes to the skills gap and a great deal of frustration for everyone involved in the process.

By matching work, education and other life experiences directly to a skills-based job profile developed by an employer, job seekers have a transparent way to demonstrate their qualifications. After 500 years, the resume needs some disruption. It is time to refocus our attention on skills. A job profile creates a common language to connect employers and jobseekers – and it levels the playing field in hiring. This makes for a more transparent process and achieves more successful hiring outcomes.