Resumes Aren’t Dead. But They Will Be

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paisley skullsI was intrigued by a recent press release which concerned the ‘Resume-less’ hiring practices of IGN Entertainment, the world’s leading video game company. They created the Code-Foo challenge which was a ‘no resumes allowed’ recruitment program which they were using to find exceptional coding talent, irrespective of education, degree or experience. How did it work? Interested parties had to ‘submit a statement of passion for IGN’ and answer 4 coding based challenge question. Last year they had 75,000 people view the ‘resume-less’ application form, 104 completed it, 30 participated and 8 people were took on. They are repeating the process this year, which implies it was a success.

But, does this signify a new wave  of recruiting without resumes? Are resumes becoming redundant in the labor market? Are they dead? Well clearly not, as not everyone is hiring the IGN way, but it would not surprise me if other technology firms are not already using this approach or may do so in the future off of the back of this success. It is likely that we will see a decline in the significance of resumes in the technology sector over the coming years if companies continue to find that they can find high performing candidates this way.

Even though we are seeing this move toward resume-less recruiting in technology companies, companies in are in general not recruiting without resumes.

However, the idea that companies are just recruiting based on the contents of 2 A4-sized pieces of paper is no longer true in my opinion. Most recruiters will be reviewing the LinkedIn profile, Facebook Profile, Online Resumes, Twitter, Blog Commentary (for certain roles), and mentions in the media, meaning that the recruitment decision will be based on their wider social media profile.

Resume is no longer the universal passport to interview

So, in this respect I believe that the traditional Resume is not dead but is losing its sovereign status as the universal passport into interviews and employment.

While most employers still ask for a resume (and applicants should still adhere to these requests), it has become one important document amongst many, and a reference point or hub which should link to the candidate’s wider social media profile so that it can be considered in that context. In fact, I have heard reports that innovative job applicants are beginning to include QR Codes in their Resumes, which points to their social media profile, which suggests to me that folks are beginning to realize that a Resume is no longer a complete application in itself.

Cover Letters Still Have a Part to Play

I believe that Resumes have a very much diminished role to play in many of the more entrepreneurial, marketing, sales, PR, managerial areas. I think now they are meant to serve (along with the cover letter), more as an individual statement of intent and commitment to that the role they are applying for, above that which is shown by a candidate whose application consists of a mere link to a social media profile.

The sad thing is I don’t think that the resume necessarily shows that specific interest either, as it is easily duplicated for each application, but a well worded, and undeniably employer specific cover letter (containing multiple references to role requirements, the employers, business, products and services), shows that specific interest much better, so I think cover letters still have a part to play.

Social Media Profiles More Reliable Than Resumes?

Also, since Linked-In profiles, (in particular), Twitter and Facebook are subject to much more public scrutiny, it makes it harder to embellish information in social media profiles than in a Resume, so I believe that social media profiles have more credibility. In addition to this, as we all know Linked-In has an inbuilt system of publicly scrutinized recommendations which provide more credibility which resumes simply cannot do.

Social Media Profiles are a Richer Information Source, potentially

As well as this the social media profile is a far richer information source than the resume enabling the recruiter to observe blog articles, contribution to discussions, what they like to read etc… The main drawback of Linked-In over Resumes is that Linked-In users (me included) have been a little slack in fleshing out and updating their Resumes, but this is changing as Linked-in have brought in measures to try and improve the quality of profiles and these days, I find it to be a very reliable source.

So, in conclusion, what’s my position? I think that resumes as an information source are dead in many industries as you can and soon will be able to get much broader and deeper information about skills, behaviour and recent activity on the social media profile. It will be a much more real version of the candidate than a piece of paper. However, I think that at least for the moment, a well worded, employer specific cover letter serves a purpose as they show the employer at commitment to that job in particular. Who knows that in time that cover letter may be replaced by an employer tailored video presentation…

For me, the ideal job application no longer includes a resume; it includes a detailed cover letter and a QR code linking to a fully completed and comprehensive social media profile. So, yes I think the traditional resume is living on borrowed time, if not completely dead yet.

By Kazim Ladimeji