The future of paper resumes is not bright, but many other job seeking options are

Contributing columnistJune 1, 2014 

Imagine attending a job fair with 300 employers and 5,000 students discussing internships and job opportunities, but you did not bring a hard copy of your résumé. That is exactly what occurred recently at one of the largest job fairs in the Midwest.

Many schools and companies are partnering with the Chicago tech firm Recsolu LLC to make connecting the job seeker with a recruiter slightly more pleasant.

Students registered with RecPass LLC by uploading their résumé and completing a profile that allows the employer access to the candidate information (name, contact information, resume) using technology and an iPad. This registration produces the student a pre-printed name badge with a QR Code that quickly links the needed information to the recruiter.

Career counselor and relationship expert Robin Fleischer said, "companies can use QR codes to have candidates download, manage, and track résumés in an efficient manner."

The idea of going paperless does not stop at the job fair and will continue to gain momentum. Fleischer says, "the document is dynamic and may look very different for the future" and I would agree.

I'm seeing more and more job seekers using Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc. as a résumé tool and thought I would shed some light on the future of résumés in the job search.

Simply put, I see them going paperless and why not? Going paperless save paper, time, money, reduces data entry efforts, and in the end — provides more time for valuable discussion with recruiters. Likewise, it allows companies access to qualified candidates. You must admit that it's much faster to connect with recruiters and hiring managers going the paperless route.

Today, it's not uncommon for someone to text or email me a résumé using their cell phone. I once offered to critique a résumé and ended the call only to find a text... it was the person's resume.

"Electronic résumés can be a win-win for companies and job-seeking candidates," said Fleischer.

In many ways we have already gone paperless. When was the last time you filed out a paper application?

If you're looking for employment or a way to advance in your career consider these resources because in some way they will influence the outcome of your search.

Online applications: The paper application is nearly obsolete because the majority of jobs available are listed online. Another means to apply is to go online through professional associations, such as Kentucky Nonprofit Network who currently has listed positions throughout Kentucky.

Facebook and Twitter: With over 1.5 billion users combined on Facebook and Twitter, we have to consider networking for employment an option. The online presence of job seekers in today's market is important because employers are tirelessly searching for the best qualified.

According to Caleb Phillippi, co-founder of The Briefcase, LLC, "Social websites are moving more into automation of résumés, enticing employers to go where the applicants are."

Both Facebook and Twitter have paperless résumé options and many career experts are accepting this new look and feel.

Fleischer says, "with the use of Twitter, we even have the option of the 'Twesume' where the opportunity to demonstrate what we may have to offer a potential company can be expressed in 140 characters or less." Also, Facebook can be converted into résumé and there are many YouTube tutorials to assist in moving from simply keeping in touch with family and friends to the job search.

Job boards: I remember the large number of position descriptions in binders and on walls, but they have been replaced by job boards online. This allows companies to quickly get openings out to the job seekers. There are many good job boards, such as SimplyHired.com, CareerBuilder.com, Monster.com, USAJobs, etc. And don't forget your local resources as well — Kentucky Career Center or Career One Stop.

LinkedIn profile: A Linked In profile is a great tool that many believe will be the resume of the future. However, I think it's here today. Recruiters seriously look to hire there and budget to pay for LinkedIn subscriptions.

Online résumé books: It has been over 10 years since I last touched or considered printing off a hard copy résumé book for a recruiter. However, I do get request to access online résumé books containing candidates. If you did not opt into this resource, companies will not see your résumé. Résumé books are normally at colleges and universities, but check your local job clubs or Kentucky Career Center. If they don't have one, I would make the suggestion.

A few final thoughts as you maneuver the paperless résumé:

■ Use commonsense and read company information when applying for jobs.

■ Avoid typos, misspelling and grammatical errors.

■ Research your industry; know the audience that you are attempting to reach, and use keywords that match the position you're interested in.

■ Your information should be kept current and up-to-date.

■ Avoid applying for positions that you are not qualified for.

Lenroy Jones is associate director at the University of Kentucky's James W. Stuckert Career Center. He has a master's degree in college and university administration from Michigan State University. Join him on LinkedIn, "like" him at Facebook.com/CareerDude or follow him as @CareerDudeTweet on Twitter.

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