What Is Going To Replace The Resume?

In many previous blogs, I have discussed why I think the standard resume should be replaced by a professional website as the standard employment evaluation platform. I decided to research what published writers are saying in their blogs and articles to answer a few questions: what might replace the resume, why do we need to make a change, and when will this change occur. I am planning to write a series of blogs on this subject, starting with analysis of blogs and articles I have read and then following with a summary of my conclusions.

In the Forbes article “5 Reasons Why Your Online Presence Will Replace Your Resume in 10 years”, Dan Schawbel , a guru in career development technology, makes a compelling argument why an “online presence” is going to replace a resume. In previous blogs, I talk about the concept of a professional identity which is essentially the same as what Mr. Schawbel calls an “online presence” (though my discussion centers more on its functionality).  Some of the similarities between an online presence and a professional identity include: having a domain name as a primary reference point; ranking high in search engines; displaying as a landing page in social media profiles; and establishing your personal brand.

Mr. Schawbel discusses five reasons why an “online presence” (or professional identity) will replace a resume (his words are in quotes):

“Social networking use is skyrocketing while email is plummeting.”

Social media has transformed professional networking and is being used during employment evaluations (51% of HR professionals consider using social media). LinkedIn has developed a sophisticated search mechanism where recruiters can target candidates from their profiles.

“You can’t find jobs traditionally anymore. “

I think this statement is too strong. According to the survey Employers Seeking Employees, a majority of HR professionals ranked finding and applying to job postings as the most important factor while seeking employment.

However, I agree with Mr. Schawbel that times are changing and individuals should brand themselves and introduce a pull approach – where you “pull” potential employers to your professional website – while seeking employment. So, as Mr. Schawbel concludes: “By building your online presence (professional identity), employers can find you and thus you have more opportunities”

“People are managing their careers as entrepreneurs.

Basically, Mr. Schawbel suggests there is high employee turnover in part because employees are always looking for the next exciting opportunity and as evidence shares a stat that 84% of employees plan to look for a new job in 2011. Interestingly, the whole idea of a pull approach can support professionals with what I call “casual employment seeking” – where you lure potential employers to your professional website while you are employed. This is not meant to scare employers with the prospect of higher turnover. Most employers tacitly understand the “flight risk” of their employees, so they should keep their employees properly engaged and incentivized.

“The traditional resume is now virtual and easy to build.”

I agree that much of the content on a resume and a professional website is essentially the same, so it is easy to manufacture digital copies instantaneously.

“Job seeker passion has become the deciding factor in employment.”

I full heartedly agree with this concept as well. This is why a professional website has many ways to infuse your passion into the website including: style and layout of your website, using video content, a blog, and “body of work”.

Mr. Schawbel’s blog entries and articles are all over the internet as he is probably the most prominent author on the subject of professional branding.  I agree with his prediction that the basic one-dimensional resume of today will be morphed into something more advanced in the future, though I think it is necessary to understand it is going to take time; he says in 10 years. So if you are seeking employment, I recommend not abandoning the traditional approach of finding and applying to job listings. And you should build a professional brand where you share your passions and aspirations, which is easier to do with other forms of media than a typical tabular resume. Finally, it is necessary to “get found” – where recruiters and HR professionals can find you in social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter), job search boards (MonsterJobs and CareerBuilder), and online searches (Google, Yahoo, and Bing). And we agree that you should link back to your professional identity (“online presence”) whenever possible.

My application of Mr. Schawbel’s “online presence” (or professional identity) is a professional website. I believe a professional website serves all the functions of an “online presence” and more. A professional website is a multi-dimensional resume with a standardized structure and elements – something that is crucial to be an effective employment evaluation platform.  There has to be a “pre-defined” structure, so individuals making the evaluations know where to find what they are looking for and have a common platform to make comparisons of their target list of candidates; so I disagree with Mr. Schawbel when he suggests the resume will completely go away, remnants will remain. In addition, a professional website supports the presentation of all types of media in one place.

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