Article originally published on LinkedIn, 6 March 2017
Not long ago I passed on resumes of two professionals – who happen to be green card holding refugees – to a recruiter I know and got the courteous standard response about their credentials being circulated and held on file for possible future openings.
This and a couple of items seen recently about what it means when one hears that line* got me thinking again about what it might be like if the resume itself weren’t just a passive document, but rather a program designed to keep looking on its own? Perhaps comparing itself to new openings, adjusting wording, perhaps layering in trending keywords (as much as I dislike that concept), in response to searches it is subjected to? Or adding relevant experience – old but previously unstated, or updated new – in function of what is certainly going to be an evolving hiring environment around it?
What if this resume and others in the pile, as it were, could compare themselves with each other (minus the personal identities associated) and give feedback to their owners about their relative strengths/weaknesses in that environment? Or what if an intelligent resume could, on its own, prepare an application for a new, just listed, opportunity pending edits and approval from its owner? Or if several intelligent resumes (or iterations of the same resume) that you have with different potential employers could compare notes to (1) improve content overall or (2) give you feedback on relative potential with those organizations?
And for the recruiter, could such a way of dynamically presenting information harmonize with the way some hiring goes anyway? Not infrequently, someone’s credentials from some earlier application or discussion (maybe even interview) may be remembered when the organization develops new opportunities. An intelligent resume in this situation could actually assist whoever is doing the hiring by offering timely and relevant information.
The security conscious among us might note the potential problems of having active algorithms rummaging around in one’s servers, but without going too far on this point, it likely will mean rethinking the whole job announcement and applicant tracking system apparatus. Once one thinks of the resume as an active process rather than passive data, the context changes and potential new arrangements emerge – or impose themselves.
The resume, no matter how you pitch it, is a 20th-century paradigm for delivering information, surrounded by increasingly sophisticated technologies and a changing employment market. That imbalance can’t endure. Sooner or later we’ll transition to where the resume gets back to us, even if the recruiter doesn’t.
* The two items mentioned above:
- Seth Godin, “We’ll keep your resume on file,” 6 March 2017
- Scott Singer, “What Does it Mean When an Employer Says They’ll ‘Keep My Resume on File?’” 26 February 2017