Is the paper resume dead? This is the current debate going on in career and strategy circles.
Career expert Richard Bolles says in his book “What Colour Is Your Parachute” that the traditional format is out, and Google is now your new resume. In fact, here at Business Insider, a LinkedIn profile is sometimes requested in lieu of the conventional CV.
On the other hand, Rachel Louise Ensign over at The Wall Street Journal argues that most hiring managers still prefer paper resumes from candidates.
“Although applicants rarely mail in resumes these days, the job search isn’t going paperless,” she writes. “In fact, experts say, a paper resume can make or break a bid for a job.”
Meanwhile, career expert Katharine Brooks writes in Psychology Today that the resume is merely evolving, not dead. To make it in today’s workforce, “it’s important to make sure your resume reflects the field in which you plan to work and that you have created a social media support system to present your story to potential employers,” she writes.
Below we’ve listed a few reasons why the paper resume is not going away any time soon:
1. Resume filtering software is still the norm.
When you apply for a job at a larger firm, there’s a high chance that your resume will be scanned by a filtering software program that searches for keywords. These ATS tracking services aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Lauren Weber at The Wall Street Journal reports that companies spent an estimated $6 billion on online recruitment tools last year because there are just too many resumes for hiring managers to sift through themselves.
And the filtering software won’t work with online profiles. A traditional resume is needed for it to work.
2. Hiring managers — typically Gen X-ers and Boomers — tend to prefer hard-copy resumes.
“A resume on nice stock paper shows you have a sense of decorum, especially since the Millennials are being interviewed by Gen X-ers or Boomers,” Jaime Klein, founder of Inspire Human Resources, an outsource HR department for other companies, tells Ensign.
If there is some way that you can get a hard copy of your resume to the hiring manager, your chances of getting hired increase significantly, Terry Pile, principal/consultant of Career Advisors, tells Business Insider.
“I always tell my clients to apply online, but then find someone in the company you can fax, hand deliver or snail mail [your resume] to,” says Pile. “If you are depending on electronic resumes alone, no one may ever see it. If you fax it, someone will have to touch it and do something with it. Generally that person will route the resume to the hiring manager or HR.”
“If the resume is sitting on someones desk, they’ll pick it up,” Pile says.
3. Resumes are easier to “manipulate” than online profiles.
An online profile may make you a lot more vulnerable to hiring discrimination, says Pile. For example, hiring managers will be able to critique your appearance based on your profile picture. You risk turning off potential employers if you’re considered too young, too old, or overweight.
On the other hand, it’s much easier to “manipulate” a resume by omitting specific dates that can reveal your age or playing up certain positions depending on the job you’re applying for, according to Pile.
Whatever your view of the paper resume, it’s important to consider the benefits of combining the traditional format with online professional profiles.
“It’s not that one is dead and the other is replacing it,” Julie Inouye, corporate communications director at LinkedIn, tells Business Insider. Job seekers today should stop thinking that they have to choose one or the other, but utilise both for the benefits of each.
Pile says: “I always tell my candidates to focus on three things when looking for a job: Update your LinkedIn profile, get your resume up-to-date with keywords, and get the physical resume into the hands of hiring managers.”
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