What History Can Teach Us About Job Searches

In the study of history, documents and artifacts which were produced during the period of time being studied are called “primary sources.”

Primary sources are considered crucial evidence for historians in regards to forming conclusions in their research. In fact, they are virtually mandatory. This is because primary sources shed light on exactly how people thought and lived. For example, when examining an 18th-century explorer’s journal, we know it’s not a matter of opinion where the explorer traveled, because he tells us himself. In short, primary sources eliminate guesswork and provide a clear picture of something that may have happened hundreds - or even thousands - of years ago.

When it comes to standing out in the crowd of aspiring professionals, too few job applicants - and employers as well - fail to recognize the benefit of utilizing “primary sources” as they dive headlong into the hiring process.  

Published articles, art portfolios, dance recital footage, websites created. All of these are potential primary sources which accurately document a job applicant’s talent and proficiency. As a student or job seeker, if you are not showing off your work, you may not be putting your best foot forward. As an employer or educational institution, if you are not reviewing - or even asking for - past work, you may not be ultimately choosing the best applicants for your organization.

But isn’t that what resumes are for?

Not anymore.  

Resumes are an excellent way of summarizing education, qualifications, and professional experience in an easily digestible format. But resumes will always be a matter of an applicant’s opinion of themselves. To borrow another term from historical research, they are “secondary sources.” It’s easy to embellish and exaggerate your qualifications on a resume. It’s much harder to do on camera or on a canvas.

Times have changed. The digital age and high-speed internet allows for the quick uploading of digital files which can then be easily disseminated, downloaded, and viewed. Those who are not taking advantage of this technology are failing to examine the primary sources. Remember, primary sources are mandatory for historians. Why shouldn’t they be for educational institutions and employers?

STEM Premier’s “Student Files” feature allows students to upload a wide variety of digital files to their profile. From PowerPoint presentations to PDFs, users can choose the documents and work which best shows off their talents. They can even choose files directly from their Dropbox or Google Drive accounts.

Talents and skills which are best captured as video can be uploaded with the “Videos” feature located near the top of every STEM Premier student’s profile.

Let’s keep revolutionizing the way we find talent. The world is too big for just resumes.