Technology has changed the way people apply for jobs. In the not so distant past, if you were looking for work, you would send a resume through the mail or hand deliver it to an employer. Now you can sit at home and email a resume or apply electronically through a website. You can even apply for a job from your cell phone! Are paper resumes still relevant today?
The short answer is yes. While the application process is mostly electronic, most employers still prefer candidates to arrive at interviews with resumes in hand. Although I will probably do an internet search on the candidate, I like to write notes on the paper resume during interviews and check for any grammatical errors – which can be a sign that a person isn’t attentive to details. I also find it easier to concentrate with a paper resume rather than an electronic resume.
About a month ago, I had a recent graduate come in for an interview and instead of having a printed resume, they pulled out their iPad and slid it across the table. When I asked if they had a paper resume, the candidate asked me, “Why? Everything is electronic these days.” That may appear to be the case, but trust me when I say that everything is not electronic these days.
That may change in 10, 15 or 20 years, but most hiring managers grew up in a time when the paper resume was the only choice. A resume on formal resume paper shows that you have a sense of decorum and the ability to adapt to your surroundings. While the candidate may be most comfortable with electronic documents, being prepared with a paper version is a sign of conscientiousness.
The paper resume has evolved in recent years. I get excited when I see a resume with a QR code on it. A QR code can be scanned with a smartphone and direct the employer to additional information, such as a candidate’s LinkedIn page. This is a fantastic means of incorporating technology while still respecting traditional application methods.
Have you ever seen the movie Star Wars? It was made in 1977 and featured Princess Leia as a hologram. If we can think of that technology 36 years ago, it may become a reality sooner rather than later. Can the hologram replace paper resumes some day? Perhaps, but for right now, the paper resume is still relevant.