Tech & Work

The tech resume may not be dead yet, but its pulse is fading

Don't chuck your resume just yet, but also don't be surprised if your next potential employer doesn't ask to see it -- especially if you're looking for a tech job.

resume.jpg

The search for better ways to find better candidates in tech goes on. Though reports of the death of the resume may be exaggerated, they're not totally unfounded.

For Calvin Brown, founder and senior software architect at Kairu Consulting, it's been five years since he abandoned the resume. He sees the resume as a place where experience and qualifications get fudged. He wouldn't be the first to raise that concern.

"As a small business, I can't afford to make mistakes as frequently as our enterprise counterparts with hundreds of people in their IT department. We have to get it right the first time (mostly)," Brown said.

He hires 15-50 contractors each year and makes his decisions based on how they approach problems, how they track what they've done, making sure they have the necessary skills for the job.

"A carpenter without a full tool belt wouldn't get hired, so I treat the technical process the same," he said.

On the more social end, Extreme Network's CMO Vala Afshar told TechRepublic during a profile interview that he thinks the resume is kaput. For his last major hire, he had applicants tweet at him using the hashtag #SocialCV and then eventually found the right person by using social listening.

Both instances seem to drive at a preference for seeing skills demonstrated rather than listed, which ties in with how Dice.com's president Shravan Goli sees the future of the resume. He thinks that the resume has some life left in it, but there will be an evolution with programs that can aggregate information on candidates from online profiles on Twitter or Github where professionals can "show not tell" their skills.

Along those lines, Amar Magon CMO and partner at Loosemonkies.com, said the site was partly based on the idea that the resume as it stands is ineffective, and as Brown said, not always accurate.

"The inherent problem with resumes is that they do not always represent oneself as it really should be," Magaon said. Instead of a job board where applicants upload resumes and hope for a keyword match to connect them with jobs, Loosemonkies is set up as a social profile that uses an algorithm that includes parameters for education, location, experience, and the like. Job seekers get match percentages to jobs in the system, and can live chat with employers.

Mogan sees the path of the resume as being a social one, which isn't hard to imagine considering that LinkedIn now has more than 200 million users and has become the internet's unofficial social resume replacement.

Matt Walden, partner at Infinity Consulting Solutions in New York, has been recruiting for more than 20 years. He sees the impact LinkedIn has had, but he still considers it to be a resume.

"LinkedIn becomes your 24-hour resume, it's always up, it's always on," he said, "[It's] the sneaky way for everyone to be looking when they're not looking because LinkedIn is actually you posting the truest form of your experience up for the world to see in a condensed version."

That idea speaks to what Walden sees as the core function of the resume — your summary, your selling sheet — and that's part of the reason he thinks that resumes are not dead.

"Sometimes I think it's an overreach by the tech folk," he said. Having been through rumors of the death of recruiting a few times, including in the nascency of websites like HotJobs and CareerBuilder, he still looks at what the tech resume does, and doesn't see a better way to do it. Because so many application systems are still based on keywords- like specific skills that an employer might be looking for, and because other formats like video resumes are still fraught with potential legal problems, are not widely adopted, or lack the same depth.

When Walden sends a candidate into an interview, he still makes sure they have three copies of their CV on hand.

Also see:

About Erin Carson

Erin Carson is a Staff Reporter for CNET and a former Multimedia Editor for TechRepublic.

Editor's Picks