The resume is not dead. It is just growing up and changing. As I mentioned in a previous post, I expect a Resume 2.0 movement where some creative formats will emerge and there will be a format war. The world still needs standardization, but the new standard will look a bit different than what we have today.
How did I come to this conclusion? Well, there are three important trends that are leading to a perfect storm. Once the storm gathers enough power, some innovators will respond to the demand. As it is standard in a format war, for a few years it will not be obvious what the new format is, but eventually a winner will emerge and monopolize the market. This new resume will certainly reside online, and its creator may make some decent money if he or she can wrap a sustainable business model around it.
What are these trends? Let’s dive in:
Recruitment Trends and the Importance of Having an Online Resume
We slightly touched on this before. The May 2013 issue of the Inc. Magazine reported that a staggering 98 percent of recruiters used LinkedIn to find employees. Even Twitter and Facebook clocked in at 42% and 33%, respectively, according to Inc.
LinkedIn’s surge is understandable. After all, it was built for this specific purpose. But I don’t think many people were expecting that the new resume could be 140 characters.
Whether any of these formats, including LinkedIn will emerge as the winner in the resume war is unclear. One thing is certain though. Recruitment is shifting online and even tools that were designed for other purposes could turn to contenders.
Alternative formats gaining
While the resume is not becoming obsolete, creative solutions are emerging. The first video resume I have seen was that of Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde, which landed her on Harvard Law. In this day and age where a video culture dominates, the idea doesn’t certainly look ridiculous anymore. Even in academia, Tyler Cowen of Marginal Revolution predicted that most researchers will have a 5-minute video that goes with each paper. A natural extension of that idea is for them to have a video resume as well.
Other creative formats are also on the rise. A popular debate these days is whether some of these approaches would work only in creative fields. Nevertheless, it is clear that people are not afraid to experiment and see what works.
There are quite a few players in the visual resume niche. Revu, Vizualize and Kinzaa are examples. Revu and Vizualize gave me the impression that they are using graphics for the sake of using graphics. Kinzaa is probably the best of the bunch. It is more of a blend between the traditional resume and visuals and at least gives the recruiter the opportunity of a quick skim or a deep dive.
Are these good attempts? Absolutely, and check them out. Will any of these companies stand out and have a claim on resume 2.0? No, I don’t think so. At the end of the day, these are not radical departures from the current resume, just a bit more visual. These companies are more likely to go sideways. That doesn’t mean they can’t have a good exit, all I’m saying is I don’t think they will become household names. One option is to expand like Orange, which started as a creative resume service and has since ventured into other areas, such as web design.
Online hub to all your things
We people are everywhere, from an online standpoint that is. We write blogs. We leave comments on others’ blogs. Most of us have a Facebook and LinkedIn account, probably a Twitter account as well. We review things on Yelp, Amazon and Trip Advisor. Where is the one page that describes and tracks that all and tell the world who we are? Outside some creative domains like photography, academia or publishing, I still don’t see a whole lot of personal webpages, or an online hub that summarizes and tracks all of this activity.
This is somewhat changing and online hubs are getting some traction. Two examples are About Me and Flavors Me. An About Me example is here.
These two sites are quite similar and are generally coupled together in relevant conversations. There are some good ideas here, such as gathering your online activities in one place. With a single click I can view the person’s blog or Linked-in profile. I haven’t registered but I assume creating a web page is very easy. Still, these products are not a whole lot more than a glorified personal web page.
About Me did a Beta for a few months back in 2010, collected 400,000 users in short order, and raised $425,000 in venture capital. It then went live and sold itself to AOL after only four days. The purchase price was rumored to be in the tens of millions of dollars and less than 50 million dollars, and another source pegged it at approximately $25 million. I doubt it was ever a good fit for AOL. In fact, Tony Conrad bought it back from AOL earlier this year at a fraction of the original sales price.
It took me Flavors.me some more time to find a buyer, but in 2012, the UK business card upstart Moo acquired all its assets including 500,000 users.
If one looks a bit further in other corners of the web, there are some other players such as Zerply, Dooid, Follr, and Resumatic. All these sites appear to be operational but I am not sure how much traffic they attract.
There are important lessons in each of these trends. The modern resume will live online, will probably be a bit more visual, and will be connected to an online hub. What is left is to consolidate those pieces in a meaningful way and create a sustainable business model around it.