Online or on paper? It’s a factor that job seekers need to consider, according to a Kansas State University human resource management expert.
Many industries are embracing non-paper resumes, and the trend appears to be growing, said J. Bruce Prince, professor of management.
Certain industries, particularly those with an online emphasis, have developed creative online methods of screening candidates beyond the traditional job application, Prince said. Using Internet-aided tools also can help companies reduce recruiting costs.
Job seekers, Prince said, should acknowledge the new reality.
“The resume is still widely used, but with many applicants plying for fewer opportunities, applicants should look for ways to differentiate themselves,” he said.
Resumes still perform a vital role for many employers, Prince said. They remain a quick and easy way to acquire information about applicants. To account for this, many employers now feature a space to fill in a resume on their online applications. Some employers use computer-aided text analysis to search for key words when selecting candidates. That means applicants should take the time to identify the right words to use in their resumes before applying, Prince said.
“Knowing the skills required for the job and then using related words in your resume, application or online quiz is a good general strategy for trying to get to the next step where you actually talk to a person,” he said.
Alternate approaches, such as having applicants post a video or Web page they have created, also can be an asset in better screening applicants for some jobs, Prince said.
For certain industries, applicants can go beyond the standard resume or application and use a novel method of showcasing their capabilities to demonstrate job-related skills and creativity, Prince said. These methods allow employers to identify top candidates in a large pool of applicants, and they can save on interviewing costs.
But companies with jobs that require little application of Internet or social media skills should be cautious about screening applicants based on these kinds of skills, Prince said.
“Using job-irrelevant hurdles will lead the company to miss out on some good talent,” Prince said.
Despite today’s more competitive job market, the basic methods of securing employment remain the same, he said.
“Having the skills that match job requirements and being effective at communicating those skills are key,” Prince said. “It is amazing that we can have such high unemployment, but also have employers unable to find applicants with the right skills. Many jobs are constantly changing. So, if your skills stay the same, you may be out of luck in the future.”