Is It the End of the Resume Era?
By Joe Issid
For years, submitting a resume has been the most elementary pre-requisite to applying for a job. If you weren't able to effectively capture your professional experiences and education in a formal CV, you probably were not serious about finding work. Personally, I recall sitting through writing seminars and endless workshops about how to create the perfect resume (keep in mind that my first resume was creating using WordPerfect on a Windows 3.1 machine). Resumes were so essential to finding a job that it was unfathomable for a recruiter to consider a candidate who did not have one. Now, I can't say that the traditional resume has entirely fallen out of fashion with today's recruiters; however, I can say that many companies are far more comfortable straying from these conventional practices to find quality talent at least prior to the initial interview.
As job promiscuity continues to increase across most employment sectors, the average worker is much more prepared to switch jobs than ever before. Now, I am not saying that the entire workforce is actively looking for a new job, but many happily employed people are passively keeping their eyes open for new opportunities. As such, they are not keeping their resumes up-to-date nor are they making any formal overtures to companies with open positions. They are merely leaving subtle clues that can signal to recruiters that they can be approached. This type of corporate flirting has become much more commonplace with the ubiquity of social networks.
To wit, a huge volume of today's workers keep active social media accounts, including those that are more work-oriented. This usually includes a very brief summary of their current role and previous work experiences. While this isn't a complete resume, it does provide recruiters a good deal of insight into a person's suitability (and availability) for a given position. Additionally, using these social accounts as a means of active job searching can be extremely powerful; rather than publishing a comprehensive resume online, a well-crafted social profile can be key in attracting recruiters to get in touch.
As the Millennial generation enters into the workforce in droves, jobs are becoming more and more scarce. As a result, recruiters have increasingly large amounts of candidates to review for relatively few open positions. As a result, the average recruiter will not have the time - or the inclination - to review a candidate's entire resume. Instead, a link to a concise summary of qualifications online could be enough to convince a recruiter that a candidate may qualify for an interview. In these cases, submitting a long-form resume and cover letter could work to a candidate's disadvantage as a recruiter will simply not be able to review these documents.
According to a poll by Lee Hecht Harrison, 89% of job seekers use social media in their job search efforts. As such, there is a great deal of public information about them online. As such, it is relatively straightforward for employers to search this information when looking to vet a candidate. Personally, I always perform reasonably detailed web searches on any candidate in whom I am interested as this will always paint a better picture of the person than their resume. Remember: a resume is a summary of self-selected details that are designed to make the candidate look good. While I am not saying to distrust a resume, at all, I think it always a good idea to see what information is publicly available about this person that they may have omitted from their resume. It may sound creepy, but your online persona will be much more revealing than your resume.
Many of us are in our current jobs thanks to a personal or professional relationship. I can safely say that nearly every job I have ever had has been as a direct result of a referral by someone whom I knew. With the ubiquity of online social and career networks, this is becoming an increasingly powerful method of job searching. And in today's connected world, referrals are made without the need to exchange resumes or cover letters. Case in point: I was recently recruiting for a position on my team. I announced this to my network of professional contacts online and within a few hours, I had received a few names. Simply using these names, I was able to locate enough information online to determine whether or not I wanted to meet with these interested candidates.
While I am not parsing through hundreds of online applications, I certainly prefer not having to pore over pages upon pages of resumes and cover letters, at least not prior to the initial interview.