#1 Resume readers will be both man and machine
I recently received an interesting and important question on the role of conventional resumes in job search over the next decade or so. This question was asked by a recruiting professional in the not-for-profit space with a specialty in creating employment opportunities for marginalized groups.
As a career consultant with insider experience on how companies vet candidates, this question was a good opportunity for me to put some thought into how we use resumes today and how that might change in the coming decades. The future of work in my opinion will be shaped by 3 powerful forces over the next decades:
- The growing adoption of artificial intelligence and machine learning in vetting candidates.
- The growing importance of skills in emotional intelligence.
- The growing importance of personal branding.
Resume readers will be both man and machine
Applicant tracking systems are not dazzled by loquacious language or bragging, they are looking for keywords that communicate that you can do the job.
One of the key traits of the last few decades has been the increase in the use of software and artificial intelligence to improve efficiency and solve problems. Software and machine learning will play as much a part in hiring for new jobs as performing them.
According to U.S. based business software marketplace G2, the use of artificially intelligent machines and software used to screen resumes grew by 202% among its users in April 2019. These types of software are called Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).
An ATS system is a human resources software that makes life easier for recruiters and hiring managers when searching for candidates. Companies generally receive hundreds to thousands of resumes every year, and due to the sheer volume of resumes received, carefully assessing and reading each one is nearly impossible, hence the need for a tracking system.
ATS systems make the task of sorting through resumes a little easier, all the hiring manager has to do is log into their ATS system and apply some search parameters based on what they are looking for and how many resumes they want to see.
These parameters range from specific keywords (like video editing or bookkeeping skills) to distance to a specific address (like the address of the company office). The ATS system then spits several resumes that are best aligned with the search parameters. Based on my experience using them on my candidate search; these systems are remarkably efficient, and they are only going to get better.
Applicant tracking systems are not dazzled by loquacious language or bragging, they are looking for keywords that communicate that you can do the job. That being said, human recruiters will still play an important role, particularly as companies seek to identify intangible factors that software can’t measure like emotional intelligence, social skills and general alignment with their team and organization values.
Emotional intelligence will be the differentiator
As software and automation gradually take over more and more operational tasks, human skills like compassion and empathy will define the competitive edge of workers and entire organizations.
Human emotion is one of the most powerful forces in the universe, for better or for worse. Emotions start wars, create peace; inspire love and fuel hatred. Emotions are unavoidable and can be a source of motivation and inspiration to take action. Unbridled emotions however can make us and those around us to act irrationally, this is why employers are already prioritizing candidates with skills in emotional intelligence.
While each job requires a basic level of technical skills and intelligence to get the job done, technical expertise alone is not going to be enough in the future. As software and automation gradually take over more and more operational tasks, human skills like compassion and empathy will define the competitive edge of workers and entire organizations. Employers will be looking for people who are adept at self-leadership, communication, collaboration and teamwork.
As the world continues to be a small global village, we will have to work and collaborate with others from different backgrounds, races and nationalities. Skills in self-awareness, self-regulation and empathy will be the leading criteria for employers that are building high performing teams.
Candidates with skills in emotional intelligence can better manage themselves under pressure, display empathy, be receptive to feedback and effectively communicate their ideas to peers and stakeholders. These are qualities that will become increasingly necessary for teams and organizations to be successful.
What does a Google search of your name show?
Your resume and cover letter must be part of a much bigger profile.
As we spend more time online and build our personal brands, securing our professional identities online is also going to be a requirement in the future. If your resume and cover letter tell your professional story and journey, your personal brand will be what makes you unique and drive your character development. Your resume and cover letter must then be part of a much bigger profile.
Personal branding is the act of identifying, positioning and promoting one’s self in the professional world. Branding helps you to become conscious of your “x-factor”, ultimately allowing you to position yourself in a way that makes you stand out from the pack of other potential job applicants.
Personal branding goes beyond creating a website for yourself, posting content online or creating Youtube videos, instead personal branding is about strategically, creatively and professionally presenting what makes you, you.
Author Tom Peter in his books titled “A Brand Called You” stated that “We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You. It’s this simple: You are a brand. You are in charge of your brand. There is no single path to success. And there is no one right way to create the brand called You. Except this: Start today.”
A good place to start is to Google your name and see what comes up, employers are already looking up candidates on Google, LinkedIn, Facebook etc. to get a sense of who they are and if they are a fit for their company’s brand. Having recommendations and testimonials is also going to be a huge piece of branding. Not having any online presence is just as bad as having embarrassing contents online.
In the future, we will have to invest the time, energy and financial resources into building the image of our digital selves. Just as much as you frequent the gym, visit the dentist or purchase new clothes, we will have to treat our online presence with the same significance as our physical one.