You should know that I don’t actually answer that question here (sorry) but I’ve been wondering so figured I would do it out loud. When I started in HR, resumes were the primary way to get your information into the hands of recruiters. We used the resumes to assess skills, qualifications, fit and even grammar and spelling. Resumes spoke for you in your absence and would often be the primary decision point on whether you got a call or not to see about next steps. The cover letter was king in drawing a line between your resume and the job posting. Together, they were unbeatable. People even made careers out of writing resumes for you so you got the polished and professional look you need to give you an advantage. An internet search will give you tons of articles about the best way to structure and write your resume. Resumes have changed over the years from just listing job duties to highlighting key accomplishments and competencies. But is the resume still the most relevant tool in today’s age to get you that second look?
Applicant Tracking Software
Now we are seeing a bit of a hybrid. Applicant Tracking software often does not want your beautifully formatted resume but asks you to upload your information from a word document into their system. It is easier for the system to scrub the data and find the key information it is looking for that way. In many cases, you can still upload that pdf of your resume as well but the primary data source is the uploaded and unformatted words. If you want to succeed with the software, you need to prime your information with key words associated with the job posting. Your standard resume structure and wording may not make the grade.
LinkedIn is the primary business social networking service in the world. Many headhunters are abandoning the resume and even applications and choosing to strategically source candidates from their LinkedIn profiles. If an organization wants the best person for the job, in many cases they are currently employed and not actively looking. LinkedIn connects these people together for that initial connection. Surely I’m not the only one who has seen the incredible improvements made to LinkedIn lately? Historically, I may have checked LinkedIn every couple of weeks but now I’m starting my day off by seeing what my connections are up to, what’s new on the companies I follow and reading relevant business articles in real time. LinkedIn is quite often the employer’s first choice for finding candidates. Of course, the resume may still come into play when you meet them in person but your first look may have come from here.
LinkedIn has now added a video feature and I expect we’ll see even more changes in how LinkedIn users and candidates are marketing themselves on the site. LinkedIn is advertising the video options as the way to show your experience and perspective. Before long, I expect we’ll see video resumes where the speaker can provide a more personal and professional view of themselves to potential employers.
This is a new one to me. Wikipedia (so it must be correct) says that an Infographic or Information Graphics “…are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present information quickly and clearly. They can improve cognition by utilizing graphics to enhance the human visual system’s ability to see patterns and trends. Similar pursuits are information visualization, data visualization, statistical graphics, information design, or information architecture. Infographics have evolved in recent years to be for mass communication, and thus are designed with fewer assumptions about the readers’ knowledge base than other types of visualizations.”
I recently had coffee with a friend who is looking for opportunities. In addition to an incredible LinkedIn profile, he has developed his own professional Infographic. It takes his entire career including experiences, competencies, and associations as well as work history and creates a visually stunning one page document. I’m not going to lie, I love it! (And, I want one). It really does present information quickly and clearly. People tend be visual so this a good tool to convey information easily. My friend told me this really is a bridge between business cards and a resume….but I cannot help but wonder if this is not the future of the actual paper resume?
Perhaps the resume is not dead but indeed about to undergo a metamorphosis. Just like typewriters have been replaced by computers, I expect we’ll see the resume replaced. Again, resumes are not the entire hiring process but do serve their purpose. Employers will still need some way to understand your experiences, education and skills so they can delve more specifically in the interview process. With the advancement of social media, I believe that we are going to significant changes to the hiring process and the classic resume will be one of the first to go, may it rest in peace.