The Paper Resume is Dead


“The paper resume is dead.”  I read that statement last weekend on Twitter.  It was one of the many gems that came out of the #ISTE2014 stream that I followed along with all of the attendees.  Tanya Avrith (@TanyaAvrith) was speaking about digital citizenship when she made this statement (and you really need to check out her presentation on teaching digital citizenship – it’s awesome!).  Her focus was that students are creating digital footprints that will showcase who they are and what they believe in.  I believe that Tanya is correct and my recent situation confirmed this.

At this time I had an open elementary teaching position that I interviewed several candidates for.  I was very lucky that we were not only able to find a high-quality teacher for my current opening but also another strong candidate (who I met on Twitter!) for a position that will open up before the school year starts.  I say lucky with sincerity because as of writing this post we had over 350 applicants for this one teaching position.  Yes, you read that right – 350!  Our district just revamped the application process.   Under the new system, candidates only apply directly to the district’s online application portal and do not send paper resumes directly to the school.  So while I did not have to sort through over 350 resumes, I did have to sort through a database with over 350 entries.

So, what makes a candidate stick out on a resume?  To be honest with you, I really don’t know.  How do pieces of paper with lists of accomplishments come alive and tell a person’s story?  How can a candidate showcase their strengths and abilities through a paper resume?  I don’t think that it is possible nor do I think that we should conduct this process in this manner anymore.  My suggestion is that teachers create a short video resume.  This type of resume should only be a few minutes long but would allow a candidate to express their educational philosophy and beliefs and their strengths and goals to any potential hiring administrators.  You can usually tell what a person is like from the first few minutes of an interview and a video resume would basically be that first few minutes.

Social media is the other avenue that I believe can help educators showcase themselves.  Tanya spoke about digital footprints through social media and it was on Twitter that I was able to meet an aspiring educator.  Twitter allowed this future teacher to promote her belief system of literacy and sharing.  It was through reading her posts and collaborations that I was able to see what type of teacher she wants to be.  We conducted a Skype interview and her passion came through, letting me know that she is someone who should be teaching my students.  Social media is a vital tool in telling your story.

In this day and age with the type of technology that exists and the saturation of social media throughout our every day lives, the paper resume seems antiquated and does not serve the true purpose of selling oneself.  Better that interviewers be able to garner a brief snippet into these candidates’ belief systems through video resumes and social media.  Determining who to interview from a long list can be made a lot simpler and more efficient.

What do you think?  Video resumes?  Social media?  Is there a better way to showcase yourself?  Is the paper resume truly dead?


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