Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

I wouldn’t want to suggest that honesty is always the best policy.

Indeed, I’ve rarely seen policy documents based on much honesty at all.

However, honesty can sometimes be better than windbaggery. And windbaggery is what so many LinkedIn profiles and resumes are full of.

Jeff Scardino decided to create a resume that was honest. Those who adore incessant, vacant positivity might find it depressingly honest.

Scardino is an ad agency creative. This hasn’t stopped him from still being able to know the truth from, well, advertising.

His Relevant Resume lays bare not the vast, overinflated successes of his life, but the real-world failures.

In it, he decided to detail not only his business failures (“worked on three losing pitches”), but his bad references (“dated a free-spirited girl who ruined by junior year”), college mistakes, his non-skills (“could be more punctual”) and the honors that he didn’t achieve.

You might think this insane. For Scardino, it was a way to stand out from the mass and morass.

He then tried to see if it worked. He sent the resume out to ten prospective employers. He also sent a regular resume with all the usual guff and fluff under a different name.

As Business Insider reports, the regular resume achieved one response and no enthusiasm to actually meet him. The Relevant Resume, on the other hand, managed eight replies and five companies interested enough to see who could be so self-aware.

You might think they merely wanted to meet him out of curiosity. You might think that his Relevant Resume was the equivalent of the man taking a serious examination at a famous British university who tackled the essay question: Define Courage.

He wrote: “This is,” and walked out of the exam room.

It’s true that Scardino only sent his resumes to companies that had a creative bent. But take his example together with that of Nina Mufleh.

She created a resume that didn’t highlight her fine self as much as the thinking she might bring to a prospective employer.

This creative presentation also stimulated wide interest in her chosen tech world.

The ultimate truth is that resumes are all the same. They bore the people who have to read them, to the point of which I suspect at least 50 percent of all HR recruiters have large bottles of whiskey permanently in the vicinity of their work stations.

There is a received (silly) wisdom that resumes have required lines to be dutifully filled in.

Instead, in the real world, anything that can provide relief — light or heavy — is more likely to be noticed and appreciated.

Or, at least, it’s more likely to be noticed and appreciated by the sorts of companies for whom you actually want to work.

Scardino has helpfully created a template that you can fill in, in order to present your true, imperfect self.

That’ll be the self that employers will have to live with every day.

That’ll be the self whose junior year was ruined by a free-spirited lover who grabbed your heart and then tossed it over a cliff, just because they could.

Published on: Jul 24, 2015
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.