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Designing the Resume of the Future

Quick Summary

The project was a part of our 3 weeks long course module on Design Research Methods with our wonderful faculty Miki Aso (Co-Founder and Chief Strategist at Friends, A Brooklyn based Design Agency). We were given a brief by her to imagine and design the future of jobs, hiring, skills and how to grow professionally.


We were a team of 5 students (Me, Hiram Aragon, Karina Papalezova, Soninke Combrinck and Yiwen Yan) and as a part of the project we all worked together and divided our tasks for the research as per our expertise in the field where in the desk research phase, I gathered information about the current process and the current role of Resume and the future of work and hiring process, in the field research I conducted some interviews as well as helped as a note keeper in some interviews and we all worked to gather during Synthesis phase of the project.


The Brief

The brief was to design how we think and imagine the future of what it means to have a job, to find a job, to hire someone, to fill the gap skills and grow personally and professionally and to create concepts for a new product or service that doesn’t exist today though it can include parts and pieces of existing products or services. The idea was to move a bit into the future to create a radically new experience.


The Design Challenge

So, as per the brief, if we look from Employees’ perspective, generally they don’t know where to look, searching for a job is really difficult and it is always hard to know whether you are qualified or not. Whereas, from Employers’ perspective, hiring the right people is difficult, some of them are not qualified or they don’t have right mix of skills. If we look around the current education system, people are really working hard to fill the gaps of skills and knowledge, formal education lacks real world experience as industries are outpacing education.


As a part of our task, we got ‘Representation’. We need to look for that how a prospective employee should represent himself beyond the traditional resume and how can we create a post-resume future that better represents humans, skills and personality.


The Brief!!


How we understood the brief and how we interpreted it!


Our Own Experiences and Observations

When we started with some brainstorming exercise and we shared our own experiences with each other, we understood that How we as a people represent ourselves or ‘Who we are?’, ‘What we say and How?’ and ‘How we are perceived?’



Brainstorming and Finding our way!


Understanding who we are as applicants


What we say and How??


How are we perceived as applicants


Also from that, we tried to frame some statements to narrow down our main goal about what we as an applicants feel, what we look for, what are the problems we are facing.









What we as an applicant feel and what are our problems — Illustration Credits: Timo Kuilder


The Research Phase

We started with some desk research and divided everything in four different parts which were:


1. History of CV/Resume
2. Current forms of representation and Current Hiring Process
3. Innovation & Influence in Hiring Process
4. The Future of work



Preparing for our Desk Research — What to find, what to look for!


We first dived into the history and evaluation of Resume/CV. We found out that the first ever resume was created by Leonardo da Vinci in 1486 when he applied for a job with Duke of Milan and later the first big blip was during WWII, where people were asked to put their Height and Weight etc in their CV to know their Physical Strengths.


History of CV/Resume


Later, during the Baby Boom era, resume got more personalised which included things like hobbies etc. With the evolution of Technology in 1970 we got first digital typesetting which led to create a digitalised CV and in 1984, we got the first CV guide which helped to made CVs/Resumes more standardised.


After that in 1990s, in the internet era, there was a subsequent rise in headhunting and after that, in 2003, LinkedIn was launched which helped people to create their online work profiles. Later after that, people started creating their Video Resume in 2007 and subsequently from 2010, with the rise of Social Media is playing an important role to showcase the work as well as personal branding


Evolution of CV — Visualisation using a timeline (Created by Yiwen Yan)


After looking at the history and evolution of Resume/CV, we started to look for the current trends and tried to understand that what are the current forms of representations. So that we mainly listed out the forms of representation and how they help to represent our academic background, work experience, motivation, hard skills, soft skills etc.


Current forms of representation and Process


Current forms of representation and how they intersect with each other!


Also we looked at the current trends of hiring and screening process and we identified two main methodologies:


1. Manual Screening
2. Applicant Tracking System (ATS) — Algorithm + Some sort of Artificial Intelligence



Manual Screening v/s ATS — Who wins?


Some of the insights we found while doing our desk research, we found out that giant companies like Google receives 50,000 resumes per week and on an average employers spend 6 seconds in screening one particular resume and with in ATS, resumes are scanned on the basis of some sort of Algorithms (like Schools, Companies, Skills etc) and we found that, these processes are not being helpful to understand prospective employees’ personality as well as soft skills and sometimes capable and talented applicants are getting rejected because of not having some keywords in their resume.


Influence on Screening Process and the Future


With that we also looked at how Innovation is influencing the screening process and how companies are trying to identify the soft skills of an applicant. We found an example that, the CEO of Charles Schwab, takes their prospective employees for lunch and asks restaurants to mess up the order intentionally just to understand that how the applicant will react in such scenarios. Apart from that, companies have started creating immersive Virtual Reality Environments in which they ask applicants to perform some tasks or play games to understand their decision making power and soft skills etc.


Also, some companies have started taking Reverse Engineering Approach with picking up their best performers and collecting their data about their performance, work history, personality etc which will be fed into an algorithm and that algorithm will create a cluster of all their data. On the other side, they will feed the data of their applicants (like their resume, answer they have given in an interview, coding challenges etc) in the algorithm and the algorithm will map all the details and identify the likelihood of success for that applicant to be a top performer.


Influence on Screening Process and the Future


With that, we also tried to identify the future of work particularly how some of the jobs will be automated by the machines and some new jobs will be created and what skills will matter and we found out that:


1. By 2030, 400–800 million jobs will be replaced by automation.
2. 2.66 billion people will be working, and 8–9% of the occupations will be new.
3. New occupations will be opening up relying on qualities such as empathy and communication.



The Future of WORK! :O


After that, we started looking for doing some field research because from the desk research we identified some questions for which we wanted to get an answer from our Field Research.


What we wanted to know from User Interviews


As we mentioned above about the cultural behaviour, we believed that culture has an important role in representing oneself and so that, we decided to interview different people from different countries who belong to our network.



Demographics and Fields we covered for our Field Research Interviews


Interviews of people from 9 different countries


After doing all the interviews and gathering their thoughts from them, we started creating affinity diagrams and tried to find out the common themes and common issues which applicants and Employers are facing.


Identifying insights and trying to find some patterns


Coming up with all those insights and identifying the themes, we created Empathy Maps for our targeted audience. We created four different maps to represent Tech Employee, Business Employee, Creative Employee and an Employer.


Targeted Audience


Empathy Map for a Tech Employee


Empathy Map for a Business Employee


Empathy Map for a Creative Employee


Empathy Map for an Employer


And as mentioned above, we came up with a lot of insights and six different themes which represent those insights, we picked the ones we liked the best and created opportunity statements for those insights.


Coming up with insights and deriving patterns from that which led us to find the key themes


Also, we tried to illustrate our themes so that we can convey the feeling of those themes and insights as easily as possible. We identified main themes from our insights which are:


1. Validation
2. Filtering
3. Forms of Representation
4. Adaptibility
5. Transperancy
6. Cultural Fit



Identified Themes (Illustrated by Hiram Aragon)






Insights and Opportunity Statements


And, the last part was to come up with a futuristic provocation statement which also shows that how we imagine the future of representation and what we want to create as designers.


Brainstorming around the provocation statement


After doing some brainstorming around the key ideas we had with our opportunity statements, we finally came up with the statement about how we imagine the future of representation!


How future will be for applicants to represent themselves to Employers


What's Next?

In our next module with David Mikula starting from 29th April, we will work on conceptualising this idea and will work towards creating a service or a product which will help applicants in post-resume future to represent themselves.


If you want to discuss more about this project, you can connect to me on any of the social media platform or on my personal email! We would love to hear your advices or future possibilities for this project.