Are paper resumes passé?

The NPR June 17, 2009 Morning Edition segment asserts that the paper resume is laughably passé, at least in some circles. Not having a profile on the social networking site LinkedIn is, for some employers, not only a major liability but a sign that the candidate is horribly out of touch.

For example, Glenn Kelman, chief executive of Redfin, an online real estate brokerage says blogs and Facebook pages have gone from mere kids’ play to essential for communicating with employers online. Someone applying for a job in marketing, for example, will do much better in an interview if he or she already commands an audience through a blog. People in sales look better if they can prove they have a broad network of contacts in their field.

These new rules especially hold true in the high-tech fields, where being up to the minute is considered essential. But even other industries are following suit.

“We get very few paper resumes,” says Pat Cassady, the director of recruitment at UMB Financial, a bank based in Kansas City, Mo. Cassady says 10 to 12 percent of UMB hires come through LinkedIn, and she searches niche networking sites for active users who might be promising business leaders. She is even planning to use Twitter to reach out to new recruits.

We believe it is not an either or but both condition. Picture going through multiple interviews with a prospective employer and one of the interviewer’s asks, “I haven’t seen any paper on you, did I miss something?” Or another who asks, “In addition to your on-line information, please send me a resume that I can circulate before your interview.” If this is not enough evidence that you need a paper resume then the ability to customize your resume to a specific employer or job should end the argument that relying on just a social network profile is sufficient. It is not, the paper resume still remains an important part of your overall job campaign strategy.