Myriad advancements in technology have significantly influenced recruitment and hiring processes, prompting some to wonder if the resume is dead, or at least dying. With a Cisco executive claiming that the resume constitutes less than 10% of the hiring process in this CNN article and Jobvite’s 2017 findings that only 26% of recruiters consider a cover letter important to their hiring decision, it is easy to be misled, if not confused. Do you need a resume — or not? Are cover letters a thing of the past?

In his Recruiting Daily blog, Pete Radloff stated that the reports of the death of recruiting have been greatly exaggerated. The same can be said of resumes.

Halt the funeral; resumes are not dead. At the same time, technology is undoubtedly impacting the hiring process, including resume and cover letter best practices.

Social Media’s Rising Role in the Hiring Process

The use of social media by both sides of the hiring desk is dramatically impacting the hiring process. According to CareerBuilder research, 70% of HR departments are using social media to screen candidates, and 30% of them now have a dedicated social recruiter. LinkedIn claims that a hire is made every 10 seconds on the site. At the same time, nearly every job posted on LinkedIn references the need to “attach your resume” or “upload your resume” for the ATS (applicant tracking system), contributing to the continued demand for the resume.

In 2016, the Jobvite Recruiter Nation report stated that more than 87% of recruiters used LinkedIn during the hiring process for sourcing candidates, receiving applications, and evaluating candidates. Last year, that number was 70% according to CareerBuilder.

However, for social media profiles such as LinkedIn to replace the resume, human resources departments will have several hurdles to overcome.

Resumes are currently required for ATS storing and scoring. 48% of all companies are using HR software that is more than seven years old. Their system functionalities are not capable of accepting LinkedIn profile applications into their ATS for scoring.

Another obstacle: HR policies and procedures. Meeting EEO and other legal requirements is easy when filing away a one- to two-page resume. But a LinkedIn profile is messy and lengthy to print and it can change on a whim.

Finally, only 36% of job seekers are on LinkedIn today. Within that 36%, the average number of monthly users is far less than the number of those using other forms of social media. Using LinkedIn alone gives recruiters limited access to available candidates and passive job seekers.

How changes (and more changes) in technology impact resumes

The ATS is the most prevalent hiring technology today — and it’s keeping the resume alive and in demand. More than 95% of Fortune 500 companies use some form of ATS. While the ATS has influenced resume best practices, including formatting, the restrictions are not nearly as severe as many people believe. As the ATS systems have evolved, requirements that made it difficult for the average resume to pass have been lifted. (Still, in order to ensure the highest possible scoring, it’s best to avoid graphs, tables, and text boxes in your resume.)

Looking ahead, artificial intelligence is another technological advancement with the potential to influence the evolution of the resume. AI is currently being used within the recruitment and hiring process to improve scoring and selection of resumes within the ATS. HR departments are also leveraging AI to rediscover resumes submitted in the past for available opportunities, ensuring that no qualified candidate is missed, and once again reinforcing the value of a powerful resume. No resume = no visibility.

artificial intelligence reading resumes

Blockchain technology has the greatest potential to impact candidates’ control of their career narrative and who can see it. It would enable them to manage the visibility of all their social media profiles and background check information, allowing them to provide hiring managers with secure, reliable, and validated data. However, this technology is far from implementation and faces both practical and political obstacles in actual adoption.

It could be the most disruptive technology of the last few decades. But even if this revolutionary technology does come to fruition, the straightforward format and content of a resume — easily scanned by both machines (ATS) and humans — will still be necessary and valuable in applying and being hired for that competitive position.

The Resume is Changing — Not Dying

Keeping pace with these technological advances, the resume has dramatically evolved over the last several years. While it is a far cry from the one-page employment and education history of 20+ years ago, the resume remains a vital component of the job search process, as well as the recruiting and hiring process.

Your resume should showcase your career story in a compelling manner, while highlighting the unique skillset you bring to a potential employer. It needs to be visually attractive and easy to follow for the people who will be screening and reviewing your resume, but still meet the requirements of the ATS.

Resumes and cover letters are not dead; in fact, they are alive, kicking — and a highly relevant tool in your job search.

If you’re struggling to craft what is still a much-needed and now a sophisticated document, we are here to help. Because the stakes are high — and because it can be hard to take a birds-eye view of your experience, and to be able to identify what skills and competencies to highlight — hiring a professional resume writer can be one of the best investments you make in your career.

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