Career Advice

The Resume Is Dead. Long Live The Online Profile!

Okay, it’s not dead yet, but I want it to die.

I understand that there’s still a huge part of the career management industry keeping it alive, making it better and making it work for you, the job seeker. To all my friends in this industry, please forgive me, as I also understand it’s probably not going anywhere for years to come.

But I still want the painfully ubiquitous resume to die a horrible death.

Why? Because it’s a self-serving piece of inconsistently formatted and fudged professional drivel that really doesn’t help me hire true quality of fit. Just ask any background screening firm that does employment and education verifications. For example, EmployeeScreenIQ’s research yields a 52% discrepancy rate between what an applicant claims about their education and work experience and what they find when they verify such information.

Fifty-two percent. Sure, the resume helps me sift and sort to the short list, but a short list that’s almost half fabrication on the average. And if you as the job seeker take that risk and blatantly lie or embellish on your resume, and my background screening firm uncovers it, you are out of luck at a time of high unemployment where you really need a little luck.

Yes, embellishing the truth is fabrication. It doesn’t make it any better than an outright lie, especially if you’re telling me you’ve been programming native iPhone apps for the past six months and you really only took an online course six months ago and made one farting app, one that isn’t very good anyway because it sounds like a Yorkshire Terrier barking.

So what then do we put instead of this black magic resume full of lies and deceit?

Your professional online profile, of course. Like the one you better have completely up to date on LinkedIn, where thousands of recruiting professionals are scouring and sourcing every day. (And I’m not even talking about the majority of recruiting pros who search for online information about you across the internet and other social networks.) And by the way, much of the same advice you may get about building your resume applies to the online profile as well.

However, I get the fact that anybody can fudge an online profile just as well as they can a resume. But, there’s a peer pressure element of keeping one another honest in an online community where your professional history is available to everyone you’re connected with, many of whom you‘ve worked with or for at one time, if not currently, as well as the portion that’s available for public consumption if you so choose.

And there’s another critical element that can give you more credibility than the standard 3-5 references you offer “on request” for your resume. Those are the LinkedIn recommendations you ask your current and previous employers, colleagues, collaborators, clients, customers, mentors, teachers and/or friends to give you, which you in turn should always reciprocate.

Repeat – get as many recommendations as you can and reciprocate.

Remember, your professional connections you “know” could also be the back doors into the employers you’re interested in, as well as getting introduced to those folks you don’t know.

Repeat – get as many recommendations as you can and reciprocate.

There are also other similar professional networks on Facebook like BranchOut and BeKnown, which allow you to give and receive “endorsements” like the LinkedIn recommendations. Do the same thing here and be consistent across all the professional networks you belong to where you have profiles.

Granted, talent acquisition technologies including applicant tracking systems (ATS) have been slow to adapt to the online profile – there’s still the “click here” to upload your resume. That’s changing for the better as the candidate experience improves allowing for easy integration of the online profile to the employer of choice, not to mention the benefits of a search optimized professional profile, which is a blog post for another time.

So let’s review:

  • Build those online profiles consistently across your professional networks of choice (LinkedIn for sure).
  • Keep your profiles honest and real and up to date, whether you’re looking for a job or not.
  • Get those recommendations and endorsements and reciprocate.

There’s a lot more to cover here than I could get to, so look for more soon. Good luck!