An article on CNN this past summer asked an intriguing question.  Do hiring managers even look at a candidate’s resume, or do they look at his Facebook account and LinkedIn profile where they can see/read everything they need to know (and perhaps much more)?

That article got me thinking.  Should the traditional resume (regardless of its form) be scrapped during the hiring process?  Should they follow the way of the fax machine and the faxing of resumes? The days of showing up in the morning and having a pile of faxed resumes waiting for your morning coffee are gone.  That machine has been replaced by a potted plant, and you no longer have to check behind the cabinet for wayward pieces of paper.

Many articles are stating that social networking and social media seem to be replacing the resume.  Let’s face it, most of our LinkedIn profiles read like our resume, with the added benefit of recommendations and endorsements appearing directly on our profile page.

In addition, in today’s “lean and mean” corporate culture, there is a real emphasis on “cultural fit” and intangible (or soft) skills.  It is difficult (at best) to identify those through the traditional resume.  This is why many recruiters and hiring managers look for a candidate’s YouTube presence or follow their Twitter feeds or search for them through other social media venues where they can get a feel for judgment, personality and communication skills.

Many companies, especially those in high-tech or creative fields, no longer accept paper resumes.  They follow candidates’ Twitter, look at their LinkedIn profile, Facebook page and YouTube account.

So, here is the real question…should you accept resumes?  Whereas, social media should be a part of your entire recruiting process, there are some reasons to continue accepting resumes.  They are:

1)      They work.  Resumes tell the recruiter/hiring manager where the candidate has been, what they have done and what makes them special.  They open the door for the interview.  If they did not work as a format, why has LinkedIn emulated them?

2)      They provide insight.  Even the best designed application or position-interest form cannot give insight into the applicants’ personalities, organizational skills, line of thinking or ability to prioritize.  In addition, due to privacy settings, that information may not be easily accessible via social media (if the candidate is savvy).

3)      Social media has not fully saturated the job market.  Yes, there are millions of people (worldwide) with LinkedIn profiles, but only 42% of them update them regularly.  Twenty percent have completely outdated profiles.  So, if you simply depend on LinkedIn and social media, you will not get the full pictures of a candidate’s history, accomplishments and achievements.

Resumes do have a place in today’s job market.  Privacy settings and decisions that candidates make about their use of each social media channel can skew your viewpoint of their capabilities.  A great resume that tells the candidate’s story in a meaningful and succinct way is important.  It is the ultimate “get to know you” document for the information that is needed for the job.  In many cases, knowing that the candidate spent their Saturday night at their neighbor’s luau party (and seeing the pictures) is irrelevant.

NOTE:  A full-color, downloadable PDF is available.