With the rapid shift to digitize just about everything, from college applications to coursework, it’s about time to update the well-worn and seemingly trite résumé.
The résumé is often replaced by something we’re familiar with in the age of social media: the bio. Much more attention-grabbing than the simple facts on a résumé, the bio is to employers what the personal statement is to a college admissions office. It allows employers to know exactly who they’re hiring by giving them a brief insight into your personality.
Résumés just list off qualifications: Previous experience, suitable references and usually vague descriptions of personal traits one desperately hopes an employer will appreciate buried somewhere in there. I’d rather not count the number of times I’ve included organized and self-motivated on my list of skills. To employers looking for the optimal candidate for a position, those words are completely empty.
Boring résumés usually get buried in a rejection stack, so how does a bio really make you stand out? Thanks to sites like LinkedIn and Readyforce, it’s incredibly easy for college grads to make connections with potential employers looking for creative, innovative people.
LinkedIn makes it easy to upload employment history, qualifications and testimonials from colleagues, clients and employers. Snappy bios make you stand out to employers browsing your page, and a well-rounded LinkedIn profile can give you a competitive edge. According to bluebugle.org, Commpro, a marketing and communications company found that 98 percent of employers use LinkedIn, and an average recruiter has about 600 connections.
Meanwhile, with Readyforce, grads can use social media to their advantage: Video clips and personal statements are tangible examples of the work they can accomplish for their future employers. Instead of a résumé, social media compiles all of your skills into a single, easy-to-navigate page that’s vastly more interesting. By building your profile to highlight your specific qualifications and showcase your accomplishments and connections, it becomes far easier to show yourself off to companies who might overlook your talents otherwise.
In January 2013, Vala Afshar, the CMO and Chief Customary Officer of wireless networking provider Enterasays Networking, tweeted that he would be hiring a new social marketer. The caveat? No paper résumés. The social marketer would be hired via Twitter and receive a six-figure salary. And that’s just one way employers and applicants can come together to size each other up; there are also sites dedicated to showcasing the technical skills of applicants, especially for computer science majors looking to show off their coding ability.
One of these, Readyforce’s new site called HackerHub, facilitates hackathons, mass programming events where students test their problem-solving knowledge and collaborate with one another, and publishes amateur-created open-source content.
Obviously HackerHub isn’t for everyone, but the bio certainly is. In the same way HackerHub showcases raw ability, the bio is the perfect digital alternative to anything you could include in a résumé.
According to techcrunch.com, Readyforce has employed interviewers to do webcam conversations with applicants to construct 20-minute videos that can be edited down to three minutes of highlights that exhibit knowledge, articulation and how hireable you are. Potential employers are not going to spend massive amounts of time trying to work out what the phrase “team-oriented” or “able to achieve goals” mean, but a short clip of you discussing your passions, ideas and personal goals might be that extra information that gets you hired.
There’s a vast new hiring frontier for both employers and applicants to bypass generic hiring techniques. Specific qualifications showcased by the application of skills and presentation of the applicant’s personality are eliminating the need for facts listed out on paper. It’s time to set ourselves apart from the stack and utilize the full potential of social media. The online bio provides us with greater opportunity to make ourselves desirable to future employers, so down with the résumé once and for all.
— Mackenzie Brown is a pre-physiology freshman. Follow her @mac_brown01