The Resume Isn’t Dead Yet

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Jan 23, 2019

There is no question that the recruiting process has changed dramatically over the past few years. Professionals are now able to promote their skills and expertise on a wide range of social channels and thought leadership platforms. The result is that more and more companies – particularly in the tech and creative worlds – are putting less emphasis on the traditional resume.

“The resume has probably gone from about 40% to 35% of hiring process to less than 10%,” said Macy Andrews, senior director of human resources at Cisco.

Moreover, many hiring teams are starting to integrate new tools and technology into their systems to make the recruiting process better and faster. In general, these tools and approaches are making a positive difference. Many recruiters are finding that technology helps them make smarter hiring decisions and find qualified talent faster than ever before.

But the rise of tools like social media and AI-based applicant scoring has raised the question: Is the traditional resume dead?

While some will certainly disagree, my answer is no. I believe there are still plenty of reasons why an old-fashioned resume and CV are just as relevant in today’s recruiting world as they were in the past.

Let’s discuss why.

Social media not easily customized

Obviously, social media has become a useful tool that many recruiters use to discover and vet talent. In fact, according to CareerBuilder’s recent survey, 70% of HR and hiring managers take a look at each candidate’s social media profile when qualifying them for a position. However, this may not necessarily be an accurate representation of a candidate’s true potential.

The same also applies to using social media as a platform for candidates to apply for a job. Applying via social media essentially puts everyone in the same visual mold. You can see the highlights of their lives and personal careers without really understanding what their true talents are. Moreover, you can’t get a good idea of how their personality traits signal potential culture fits with your workforce.

A resume is a powerful first impression; plus, it shows that the candidate went the extra mile when they submit a thorough and well-designed document for their application. A well-crafted resume specifically tailored to the job, says a lot about a candidate’s drive and dedication. Taking the time to create a stellar resume or even seeking out a template-based resource shows the applicant is willing to invest in themselves to stand out – something that cannot be done on the same level via social media.

The traditional resume has always been a prime differentiator of job applicants, and should continue to form the basis of your decision making process.

Hiring managers want hard copies

Perhaps the most common (and longstanding) ritual of an interview is that the candidate must bring in a hard copy of their resume. Pulling up someone’s social media profile during an interview is still a very new concept, and can even be a bit uncomfortable. That said, many hiring managers, especially more traditional baby boomers and Gen Xers, still prefer a hard copy.

Furthermore, just the act of bringing in a hard copy to an interview can be a qualifier in and of itself. If an applicant fails to follow instructions and forgets to bring in a certain number of hard copies of their resume and cover letters, it can be a warning sign of trouble in the future. Some hiring managers will even disqualify candidates immediately if they arrive to an interview empty-handed.

Another CareerBuilder report found that a majority of recruiters prefer to have resumes that are tailored for the specific position. An online profile is not likely able to be altered for every single position that is applied for, so candidates can miss out on opportunities simply because they don’t have an actual resume to alter.

As HR reps, you want to see that an applicant has taken the time to modify and tailor their resume around the particular job description. Being as how most online profiles are created to showcase general aptitude (of which is not always tailored to a certain position), getting that granular level of job-specific detail is still a major function of the traditional resume.

Most AI tools require a resume

One of the biggest trends in recruiting right now is AI and automation. The purpose of many AI-based hiring tools is to cut down on the time it takes HR teams to screen candidates. This involves scanning huge volumes of applications to uncover passive or active candidates that may be a good fit. Most of these systems browse profiles for certain skills, experiences, and educational requirements. Then, they send qualifying resumes on to human eyes for further examination.

No matter what position you are looking to fill, some qualifications and experiences that are required will only be found on a person’s resume – and may be missing from a social media profile. Most importantly, many application websites and AI-tools require a resume to be submitted. Plus, AI resources typically base a candidate’s qualification on keywords within the resume that signal a good fit. Overall, the resume is a better document to use to really get a feel for a candidate’s experience and whether they have the skills necessary for the job.

For many AI recruiting tools like BrightMove and Arya, the resume is still the bread and butter that determines how a candidate moves along in the process. Online profiles can certainly supplement a person’s application, but a traditional resume is still one of the strongest tools that a candidate can use to apply for a position.

The resume is still relevant

Thanks to AI technology and all sorts of social platforms, the HR world is changing faster than ever. We are still finding new ways every day to improve productivity and results, and HR professionals are certainly benefiting from modernized systems. While the resume may one day become unnecessary, as AI becomes even more sophisticated, the truth is that it is still very relevant to the recruiting process.

Forward thinking recruiters must find the balance between digital systems and a good old-fashioned paper resume to discover qualified talent.