IT Employment

Is the traditional resume about to be outdated?

Since the way employers look for candidates is changing--with sites like LinkedIn and movements into Big Data, are traditional resumes a thing of the past?

Although IT pros make their livings from technological innovation, you have to admit that it has also disrupted employment in different industries many times over. From travel agents to telecommunications, it has cut out the middlemen in numerous fields and has eliminated some of the most traditional forms of communication.

With the progress of Big Data, some are predicting the demise of the traditional resume. But are these predictions going to come to fruition, or will the age-old resume format survive despite technological progress? Here are my thoughts.

LinkedIn

Many have trumpeted LinkedIn as the biggest challenger to the traditional resume. While there are advantages to LinkedIn, such as being its content being easily searchable, interactive, and consistently formatted, there are drawbacks as well. First, LinkedIn isn't customizable. It's impossible to tailor your LinkedIn page for all the possible jobs to which you'd like to apply.

One of the key advantages of resumes is that you can change them and customize them each time you send them out so that if you are applying to different industries, you can tweak them to appeal to each employer separately. Second, endorsements and recommendations can often be juiced-job seekers can engage in a quid pro quo game of writing recommendations and endorsing others. Some of the drawbacks of LinkedIn make us convinced that paper resumes (or PDFs if you prefer) are here to stay.

Big Data

Companies like TalentBin and Gild use analytics to scour the web for appropriate candidates for jobs and recommend them to employers. Google has a "people analytics" department that analyzes data online to find appropriate employees. This emerging field of workforce science seems to be taking over, especially at large technology firms, allowing companies to scan for tens of thousands of candidates, rather than just passively accepting hundreds.

Yet despite all the hype, I believe that Big Data will only serve as a complement, and not a replacement, to the traditional resume. While companies may be able to find suitable candidates through scouring data online, submitting a resume to a company that is tailor-made for that specific company is an indication of enthusiasm and a signaling mechanism. Even if an algorithm magically pulls you as a candidate for a job, recruiters and managers are always going to want to see a resume because it's the easiest way to gain a rapid understanding of a candidate's work history and skills. Until machines are actually conducting interviews, the traditional resume is here to stay.

How to prepare your resume for the machine age

Despite my claim that the resume format won't change, there are still tweaks you can make to increase your chances of getting selected for an interview. Many of the algorithms that employers use today are applied to resume submissions. These algorithms scan for keywords, so it's important to know what an employer is looking for and to tailor your resume for the job. Here are a few quick tips to make your resume stand out when a computer is reading it:

  • Find the most important skills listed in the job post and make sure to use the same wording in your resume. Try to use each keyword more than once.
  • Use standard fonts so that you can be sure that computers can read your resume easily
  • Focus less on pedigree and more on accomplishments-algorithms are trained to spot unlikely candidates that would normally be missed by human HR representatives. Therefore, they usually do not put too much weight on undergraduate and job prestige.

While we may be entering a Brave New World in the hiring field, resumes remain an important component of hiring, so ignore the hype about LinkedIn, Twitter, and Big Data. Focus on upping your game where it matters.

Harrison Smith is a co-founder at crafted-resume.com.

9 comments
Chris Prince Udochukwu Njoku
Chris Prince Udochukwu Njoku

Every advantage has its disadvantage. The greatest advantage of resume, as I see it, is for the employer. With its cover letter, resume forces out enthusiasm in the applicant who unhesitatingly asserts such commitment that meets the employer’s targets when he/she is given the job. Often, scarcely knowing it, this genius gets much less than he/she should get. This is because the employer is on the higher end of the bargain. Social media reverses this, as an employer who is so thrilled by a LinkedIn profile, for example, that he chooses to knock at the door of the profile owner must be ready to meet the person’s requirements. The professional is in this case better placed to say what his/her skills, abilities and qualities are actually worth. However, I believe resume and social media, especially LinkedIn, are complementary for filling positions. Social media certainly helps recruiters to spot talents who may not see the vacancy adverts, and it will be immense wisdom for the recruiters to ask to know more about the persons, which most likely will result in submission of resumes. C P Udochukwu Njoku (PhD) http://chrisprinceudochukwunjoku.blogspot.com

jmoore
jmoore

If one wants to be taken serious one should learn to speak and write in proper form.

DerekCombs
DerekCombs

Why anyone would trust Linkedin with personal information is beyond me. I would be hard pressed to find another company that is as unsecure and unprofessional as they are

holmes_saltillo
holmes_saltillo

So, in summary, the person who makes a living out of paper resumes is totally qualified and UNBIASED to conclude "resumes remain an important component of hiring, so IGNORE THE HYPE about LinkedIn, Twitter, and Big Data. Focus on upping your game where it matters." I think what he meant to say was "do not dare to believe the companies that are using social media to look for candidates posting jobs and looking for candidates through those sites/apps, please ignore any other option that may help your career so we can keep our business model alive and I get my paycheck". Really? this should be posted under "Advertisement", not career management. And BTW, I'm a sales rep and in the past 5 months 7 companies looking for reps have contacted me though linked in, 3 of them I represent know with a 4th on negotiation.

Mark-Robinson
Mark-Robinson

In the article it is stated "Therefore, they usually do not put too much weight on undergraduate and job prestige" On the authors website, their resume, under experience we find "Graduates from top undergraduate and graduate programs across the country" and lter on "Many of us here at Crafted Resume have graduated from business schools like Wharton, Columbia, and NYU." Should we also not put much weight on these credentials?

ScottTaylorMCPD
ScottTaylorMCPD

The traditional resume is already outdated. The downsides mentioned of LinkedIn are essentially multimedia extensions to the problems of the paper-based version. Neither LinkedIn nor a traditional resume are a substitute for networking and involvement with your occupational community. If you focus too much on being selected by a machine, you'll ultimately end up feeling like a cog in one. The real value of LinkedIn comes from leveraging the social media features as a starting point for making real connections with real people in your profession.

pfisher2k
pfisher2k

Perhaps you should, too, in order to be taken "serious"ly.

zyzygy
zyzygy

I dropped them about 6 weeks ago. Too much spam and no value.

TRgscratch
TRgscratch

(as the author has) the complete lack of value in "endorsements" OTOH, there are some good discussions over there