When working in the Human Resources department or any company in general, we have all seen our fair share of resumes. Whether it is well-put together or needs a bit of a clean-up, each resume tells a story about its owner. Some resumes might flaunt impressive accomplishments, while others tell of odd jobs. Which do you pick for the interview? Regina Hartley argues that the odd job resume might deserve a bit more of your attention. In her Ted Talk, Hartley refers to these particular resumes as “scrappers.” She states,”a series of odd jobs may indicate inconsistency, lack of focus, unpredictability. Or it may signal a committed struggle against obstacles. At the very least, the Scrapper deserves an interview.” The Scrapper resume has the possibility of illustrating the overcoming of obstacles or a different definition of success.

Administration and Human Resources departments are tasked with finding the right person for the job. Hiring the person with all the right qualities is no easy task in itself. When hiring, as Hartley recommends, read the story that the resume tells. Between the lines, those odd jobs resumes might tell stories of determination and hard work, rather than the negatives that can be easily seen. She states, “scrappers are propelled by the belief that the only person you have full control over is yourself. When things don’t turn out well, Scrappers ask, “What can I do differently to create a better result?” This attitude might not be an immediate reflection of the resume, but with  an interview, the hiring manager can gauge the character and attitude of the applicant. They could just be the right person for the job.

Having a Scrapper on the payroll adds a differing perspective to your organization, broadening the diversity, and ultimately, contributing to your organization’s success. Hartley ends her Talk with this final note, stating, “Companies that are committed to diversity and inclusive practices tend to support Scrappers and outperform their peers. According to DiversityInc, a study of their top 50 companies for diversity outperformed the S&P 500 by 25 percent.” 

Next time you hold two resumes in your hand, trying to decide which one to interview, think about giving the “underestimated contender” a better look. They just might surprise you as being the right person for the job.