What Are Some Common Résumé Alternatives?
Have you heard? Résumés may be on the way out—or at least that’s what many online articles might have you believe. While most employers are still very much expecting to use résumés to narrow down lists of candidates for the foreseeable future, it’s not too far of a leap to agree that there are a lot of ways the traditional résumé is changing, and résumés are not necessarily the primary way we expect to review a candidate’s experience.
There are a lot of reasons that résumés are losing a bit of popularity. For one, they do not provide a complete picture. At best, a résumé provides a quick overview of the types of roles and education someone has had—but it is more limited when it comes to assessing someone’s personality, soft skills, and how well he or she will fit with the organization. Résumés are also quite easy to embellish—either intentionally or inadvertently—thus making it tougher to use them as a true point of comparison.
Another reason résumés are more limited these days is related to how workplace cultures are changing. More and more organizations are relying on contract workers to fill roles or complete projects—and a contractor’s résumé isn’t going to look like a standard résumé. This means some of the best candidates for these roles may not even have a traditional résumé to give you—or certainly not one that actually incorporates the depth and breadth of their experience.
Résumés Are Changing
Here are some of the many ways the use of résumés has changed:
- They’re rarely mailed anymore; instead, they’re sent electronically.
- Résumés are often customized to be scanned for keywords.
- Various online systems are taking over—using the same information and putting it into different formats.
- Employers are now able to keep electronic copies of résumés, and often do, which may negate the need to supply them more than once.
- The résumé is now just one piece of the puzzle—employers have many more tools at their disposal, which is part of what reduces the résumé’s importance.
Possible Résumé Alternatives or Supplements
There are already a lot of ways we’re supplementing (or supplanting) résumés. For example, here are some options already widely in use:
- Video résumés and video applications. More and more organizations are allowing candidates to send in video résumés or answer questions via recorded video. It can make the application process have more of a personal touch and give the employer more to go on than the paper version ever could.
- Online résumé alternatives. Online profiles, which may look similar to the traditional résumé in terms of content, are already widely in use. LinkedIn® profiles are one example. Many application systems end up creating candidate profiles, too. These types of online options could even include visuals, portfolios, and links to other sites—they can really be much more thorough.
- More thorough background screening. While background screening is just one part of the process, more and more often, it can provide an even fuller picture than a résumé while still containing a lot of the same data about education and experience—especially when social media accounts are utilized.
- Increased focus on skills. More and more, as jobs are changing, employers care about what transferrable skills someone has rather than what exact position and title he or she held. We may start to see more of a focus on skills assessments rather than résumés in the future. Skills assessments can even be included in online profiles, as noted above.
At the end of the day, a résumé is still a valuable way to learn the basics about a person’s qualifications—but, in most cases, it simply cannot provide the well-rounded view that we need to see before feeling comfortable hiring someone. Résumés—or similar alternatives—will continue to hold a valuable place in the recruiting process, but they are already sharing the spotlight with other means that help provide that more complete picture.
*This article does not constitute legal advice. Always consult legal counsel with specific questions.
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