Can Social Media Replace a Resume?

In the Mashable article “4 Reasons Recruiters Should Stop Accepting Traditional Resumes” ,  Sudy Bharadwaj argues social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, and Tumblr should become the focal point in an employment evaluation, replacing the traditional resume.  His approach is different from building an “online presence” or professional identity (discussed in an earlier blog What is going to replace the resume?) because he suggests using social media web services as the centerpiece. Mr. Bharadwaj’s argument is centered on four reasons:

“Better representation of candidates. “

Mr. Bharadwaj argues that social media profiles are a better representation of a candidate’s personal brand. I agree that social media profiles are an improvement from the traditional resume in some ways, but I think a professional website is an improvement from social media profiles. A LinkedIn profile has the most depth and could be used in a basic employment evaluation; however it does not yet use all types of media available on the internet and does not have much latitude in promoting a “personal brand” with a visual appealing presentation. Think about it, when a company promotes their brand with an advertisement, how much of their presentation is visual as compared to textual (like a resume, or a LinkedIn profile); obviously the underlying meaning trumps anything else, but there is value in displaying style and using other forms of media rather than straight text – it adds another dimension.  I think a professional website is more functional and visually appealing than social media profiles and therefore a better way to present a personal brand (both are better than a resume).

“Social media shows creativity.”

There are some social media outlets where candidates can show creativity, such as Pinterest, YouTube, and Tumblr (as Mr. Bharadwaj mentions), and demonstrating ingenuity is a good thing. However, I do not think we should completely abandon all aspects of the resume for two reasons. First, social media profiles are not comprehensive enough. For example, you can upload a great video resume on YouTube but would the video have enough information to make an employment evaluation – probably not.  Second, there has to be a common platform to make proper comparisons (i.e. apples to apples); a resume is standardized and is commonly recognized in every industry. A professional website solves these two problems. A professional website has all the content and structure of a resume with advanced functionality to promote communication and interactivity. It also supports all types of media in one place.

“Makes candidates three-dimensional.”

Mr. Bharadwaj suggests that adding various types of media, such as a video, allows for candidates to “present themselves three-dimensionally”. I often refer to a professional website as a “multi-dimensional resume” for this reason.   Ditto the arguments made above.

“Demonstrate Social Media Fluency.”

I guess it is worth showing you understand the nuances of social media, though this is vague.  Learning the “ins” and “outs” of social media is usually straightforward; some users might be more advanced than others but I am not sure how much of an impact that should have with an employment evaluation (unless it is what you will be doing everyday).

My answer to Mr. Bharadwaj’s question, “should recruiters stop accepting traditional resumes”, is yes. However, I think rather than social media, a professional website is a better platform for employment evaluations. I agree with Mr. Bharadwaj that social media can expand creativity and provide a much richer experience for recruiters, however, only piecemeal. LinkedIn has the best profile for an employment evaluation but is still not complete. A professional website brings everything together.

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