In an age of applicant tracking systems, online recruitment, and professional social networks such as LinkedIn, the traditional resume appears to be the odd man out. Gone are the days of printing out a stack of resumes to share with potential employers, ushering in countless hours filling out online application forms, uploading a Word doc or PDF resume, and piecing together a tailored cover letter. As the application process changes, where will the resume go? The odds stacked against the resumes are high, and some argue that the death of the resume is justifiable. After all, it’s an antiquated tradition that merely allows the applicant to present the facts of their choosing with ample room for embellishment and insipid details. Resumes don't include the negative, can't predict the future, and are seldom customized for individual job openings.
Furthermore, the traditional resume wasn't created with the Internet in mind. If the average recruiter spends six seconds reading a resume that doesn't give the applicant much of a chance to stand out. Nor is there a quick and easy way to score a resume – let alone a large number of resumes. Given the competition for openings, recruiters often can't afford to spend time on resumes and cover letters without knowing first that the applicants are qualified.
So can the resume survive? That depends – it may be too soon to tell. In some industries, namely those slow to adopt online recruitment, the resume continues to reign supreme. Tightly buttoned up corporations seem to favor the security and ease of applicant tracking systems that use keywords to weed out candidates. Creative and tech companies are trying out new recruiting methods, some even refusing to accept resumes.
Despite its shortcomings, the resume isn't dead yet, which means applicants need to keep theirs up-to-date, create different versions for different openings, come up with killer content that includes keywords and quantifiable examples of their experience, and keep on applying.