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4 Resume Substitutes: How Can Job Seekers Prove Their Qualification? 


In a time where job-hunting websites, networking, and recruitment agencies exist, resumes might slowly become obsolete. It will probably be a while before resumes go the way of wagon wheels and telephones with cords. 

Leader Mat McGuinness shared his thought that resumes are inherently boring to read. Not only does a resume consume time to review, but recruiters also admit that they do not even look at resumes once they are submitted. This comes with a reason, as resume screening is one of the most time-consuming parts of recruiting. Screening resumes are estimated to take up to 23 hours for just one hire

As a recruiter, now imagine you receive 250 resumes on average when 75 percent to 80 percent of them are unqualified. Won’t it be exhausting? This is why the majority of talent acquisition leaders still find the hardest part of recruitment is screening the right candidates from a large applicant pool. 

Another reason why resumes are ineffective is that it could be a place for candidates to polish their qualifications - even some of them tell a lie to get hired. When a candidate outshines their resume, it is a welcome surprise if they fail to demonstrate what they write in a real-world application. 

See also: Work Smart vs. Work Hard: What’s Its Impact on Success? 

By and large, resumes are static and unreliable documents that cannot prove talent’s real quality. Not to mention, screening resumes might take a lot of time, only to find most of them are unqualified ones. Hence, here are some resume alternatives to consider if you want to know your applicants better: 

1. Provide some tests for skill assessments 

Giving a real-time test to your candidate will give you real-time results that you can use to determine the candidate's true potential. 

To illustrate, you want to hire a senior-level software developer. You understand that hiring people with senior-level needs thorough research. You do not want to waste any budget but you need to get the best in a short time. If this is the case, giving a test to candidates is a great option. On the job posting, you can give each applicant a coding test. 

The next day, you get the result. From 270 applicants, there are only 3 candidates with the highest scores. When you check their resumes, you did not find their resume interesting as they are recent undergraduates with minimum job experience, however, their skills and qualifications are up to your expectation. This is definitely a case of a resume inadequately representing a candidate’s skills. In the end, you might ditch all the polished resumes and hire those with the best skills because to do a job well, you need a skilled worker, not a talent with a shining resume. 

2. Ask for a portfolio

While resumes only show the detail of a candidate's experience, a portfolio can give you a deeper look at how they demonstrate their skills. If you want to have better insights into your candidate’s qualification, you can combine skills-based tests and writing samples. This way, you will have double verifications of whether to invite the candidate for an interview or dismiss the application. 

3. Videos 

The next best thing you can do to quantify a candidate’s qualification is by asking for a video resume. Video resume is different from a written one because candidates must both explain and demonstrate their skills. Video resumes are the best if you want to hire a reporter, teacher, or any job role that requires more talking/speeches. 

4. Cover letter 

A cover letter can reveal a lot about a candidate’s potential (good and bad) and it is worth taking time to read it. A cover letter can also be sent along with a resume to give life and personality to a candidate’s resume, helping recruiters understand the person behind all the dry facts and accomplishments that resumes usually entail. 

Those are the four best substitutes for resumes or they can also be sent along with resumes to give meaning behind all the dry resume’s statistics a candidate sends. Encouraging candidates to create and send a focused application specifically designed to evaluate the candidate’s skills and characteristics will result in a better hiring process, budget, and result. Happy hiring! 

Next read: 4 Ways to Prioritizing Candidate Experience

Next read: 5 Signs You are Writing a Bad Resume