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.

Survey: Employers Seeking Employees, Professional Website

It was fascinating making sense of the results from the survey, Employers Seeking Employees, because I was able to get valuable insights from human resource professionals who conduct employment evaluations; something I think can be improved upon with a professional website. I say this because of the following conclusions I was able to make based on the results of the survey.

First, the respondents are using various web services (primarily MonsterJobs, CareerBuilder, and LinkedIn) when trying to find candidates, so it makes sense to link to your professional website in each of their profiles/resumes – create an identity.

Second, a resounding majority of the respondents are willing to review other media than a traditional resume and cover letter and a professional website allows for you share all of these types of media – video resume, portfolio, publications, coursework files, and a blog.

Third, a majority of the respondents (77.2%) agreed that a searching on a skill set is an effective way to find a candidate; the development of a skill set is one key component in the framework of a professional website.

Fourth, the most important factor in getting employed is following the traditional method of “finding and applying to job listings” according to the survey results; the administrative interface of a professional website has many tools to support this method, including: creating PDF resumes and cover letters;  managing contacts and applications; and delivering an application or sending an invitation to your website in an email.

Finally, in open-ended responses, many of the respondents suggested having accurate and error-free content and to use industry specific keywords and skills in material presented to them; through GroupShare, a professional website has tools for peer-reviews and counseling to address these suggestions.

Media Portrait
Media Portrait

Survey: Employers Seeking Employees, Types Of Media

It is refreshing to see that human resource professionals are embracing technology and are willing to use various types of media while evaluating a candidate for employment; every respondent from the survey, Employers Seeking Employees, is willing to review other forms of media to compliment or replace the traditional resume and cover letter. Here are conclusions made from the survey results:

  • Most respondents, 77.17%, are willing to review a professional website and in the early evaluation stages. This makes sense considering professional websites may eventually replace resumes as the standard platform for employment evaluations. A professional website has added functionality, richer content, and communication features built into it – why it can be referred to as a multi-dimensional resume.
  • Not surprising, many respondents, 43.48%, are willing to review a video resume during the initial screening stage. Video resumes enable professionals to bring ingenuity to the application process. Candidates must create a script, plan a setting, choreograph a story, and show some personality while creating a video.
  • Many respondents, 35.87%, are willing to read a blog during the initial screening stage.  This confirms the importance in demonstrating you have something to say, and business and communications professors are onto something when they tell their students to start writing a blog.
  • Most respondents are willing to review a “body of work” (publications, coursework, publications) during the initial screening or mid-review stages. Potential employers like to see work samples to make their own validation of a candidate’s capabilities.
  • Social media engagement is clearly something HR professionals are reviewing in an evaluation; there is strong possibility how you represent yourself in Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook might be reviewed in a professional context.
  • By far, these various forms of media are evaluated in the early stage of an evaluation and less so when a final decision is being made.
  • All of these forms of media can be presented on a professional website.
Media Used In Employment Evaluations
Media Used In Employment Evaluations

Survey: Employers Seeking Employees, Searching For Candidates

One of the objectives of the survey, Employers Seeking Employees, was to understand whether hiring professionals actively use web services to search for candidates, a requirement for an effective pull approach; where you “pull” a potential employer to your professional website. I think this tendency is becoming more common, especially with certain types of careers. And in open-ended responses, some respondents made it clear they do seek out candidates (see quotes below). However, applying to job listings through job boards, company websites, industry specific websites, and newspapers ranked by far the most important factor in finding employment according to the respondents.

In addition, as I created the survey, I had an assumption that there was a significant increase in the pace of job placement (the time it takes to find and evaluate candidates, and make an offer) for two reasons: the availability of sophisticated web services employers can use to actively seek out candidates; and the necessity to hire quickly in our expanding service industry, especially in IT, business, and communications areas. I did not get as strong of a response as I expected.  On a ranking scale 1 to 5 (5 being a major increase), the average ranking was 2.64 and the largest segment of respondents (38.5%) reported only “somewhat” and in open-ended responses expressed that an evaluation of “soft-skills” remains important.

Here are some of the open-ended responses regarding searching for candidates:

Quotes About Searching For Candidates
Quotes About Searching For Candidates

Survey: Employers Seeking Employees, Web Services

According to the survey, Employers Seeking Employees75 percent of the respondents use one of the major online web services for employment placement – whether they use it to seek out employees or post employment listings or collect responses from listings.  The big three web services are MonsterJobs (55.43% ), LinkedIn (53.26%), and Career Builder (53.26%); some of the other web services the respondents use include Google (23.91%), Yahoo (15.22%), WSJ (6.52%), Craigslist, Dice.com, local newspapers websites, government services, professional organizations websites, staffing agencies, Indeed.com, and Jobing.com –  in parenthesis are the percentage of respondents who use the web service. The effectiveness of these web services in finding “a targeted list of candidates” is slightly better than average with a rating of 3.24 out of 5.00.

Employment Web Services
Employment Web Services

Some advice the respondents suggest in standing out with these web services include:

Suggestions To Standout
Suggestions To Standout

Skills Based Approach, Doable

In suggesting a framework you might actually follow, it is must be accessible, actionable, not too tedious, and hopefully enjoyable; otherwise, you might read and understand the concepts but never do it. The skills based approach I have been discussing has these characteristics.

There are many books you read that guide you through a methodology and provide a table where you are supposed to pencil in your ideas;  personally, I cannot think of a time I actually filled out the table in a book and sometimes I have developed my own interpretation in an Excel spreadsheet. The integration of the skills based approach with a professional website allows for you to completely manage your skill set from within its administrative interface, so it is easily accessible in an intuitive interface. This integration includes a database driven table where you manage your skills, drag and drop interface to link them with your experiences, and a page where you can review your plans to obtain expertise with your skill set.

Sometimes you are presented with a framework that makes a lot of sense, however it is unclear how you can use it in your everyday life. The skills-based approach lays out a sequential path in developing a skill set and suggests specific, concrete actions at each stage. You can learn more about these actions by reviewing this infographic.

When you introduce something new to your life, you do not want to add something that is time-consuming and annoying – more clutter. Filling out long forms and/or paperwork can be bothersome to anyone. Managing your skill set is easy to do with a professional website.  Some of the suggested actions, such as taking a personality test, might seem tedious to you; though you can always find other ways to get the same results. The general premise of planning and tracking the development of no more than 15 skills in  your skill set should not be overbearing, however.

Thinking about what you want to accomplish in your career can be enlightening and exciting, planning exactly what you to commit to and the contribution you leave behind is very inspiring. The development of a skill set suggests a framework to help you formulate a plan to reach your career aspirations, so it should be an enjoyable experience for you.

Skills Based Approach Infographic

I have dedicated a website to promote a skills based approach: click here

Developing a skill set throughout a career should be the goal of every professional and can be accomplished in four stages: planning, building, presenting, and validating. This infographic shows what should be done at each stage.

Skills Based Infographic
Skills Based Infographic

A professional website has features to support this skill based approach at each stage. You can read more about this integration by following some of the previous blogs click here (scroll down to view previous blogs).