Should You Include a QR Code on Your Resume?

Some say it's the latest in job-search technology, but will it really help you?

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It’s easy to allow technology to overwhelm us. You used to be ahead of the crowd if you had a LinkedIn profile to supplement your resume. Now, you need to know how Twitter can propel your job search and how to make your Facebook profile suitable for employers. You should even consider having your own website if you want to you stand out of a crowd of jobseekers.

The latest in job search technology? The QR code, which stands for “quick response.” These codes, which you may have seen in magazines, websites, or ad campaigns, provide digitally encoded information a user can interpret by using an application downloaded to a smartphone. Anyone with the right application can scan and use the QR codes by taking a picture of it. The application interprets the embedded code and provides URLs, contact information, or other useful data.

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Users can create their own QR codes for contacts to scan. Niotex Technical Solutions explains how to create them using bit.ly, a tool to help shorten links, to create the codes and Vizibility.com offers to create codes for job seekers. The question is, should you consider including a QR code on your resume? Is this really the latest and greatest trend to help you stand out in a crowd?

Probably not—at least not yet. Sarah White, Principal Analyst, Talent Acquisition at Bersin & Associates said, “Adoption for this technology in the hiring space will take at least 18 months—maybe more—in the U.S.” Jenny DeVaughn, Director, Social Strategy for Bernard Hodes Group, would not advise most job seekers to focus much time and energy on QR codes for their application materials at this time. She believes many HR people are not familiar with the technology; including QR codes on application materials may actually turn off some hiring managers. The exception, she explains: “If you are applying for a mobile or technical position where the company uses a QR code in the job description, it would be a value add to respond with a personal QR code.”

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Although, not everyone applying for technical positions necessarily needs a QR code. Jeff Lipschultz, Principal, A-List Solutions says, “Not yet they don't. For Web developers, a simple URL link to their online portfolio is enough. Not everyone knows what to do with a QR code yet.”

Walter Akana, a personal branding strategist, reminds job seekers to “Do your homework and make sure this will be a meaningful differentiator” before blindly jumping on this trend’s bandwagon. Additionally, he notes, “Invest the time to create a compelling web presence for those who do “crack” the code” and review the content you provide via the QR scan.

As Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter, Master Resume Writer and Partner in CareerTrend explains, “It’s crucial to grab the reader’s attention, but the most important thing job seekers must do is create high-quality, high value content to immediately appeal to the hiring manager or recruiter. Even for a user familiar with the technology, a QR code requires extra time and effort to interpret and use, and it is presumptuous to assume the reader will take the steps necessary to extract information not immediately scannable.”

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The bottom line regarding this technology? It’s nice to recognize and understand what QR codes mean, and knowing how to use and promote a personal QR code may be a differentiating factor for certain industries (most notably social media, or certain high tech jobs). For everyone else, simply adding a QR code to a traditional resume—possibly with a link to a LinkedIn page, for example—is unlikely to garner much interest from the hiring community.

It makes much more sense to focus immediate attention on leveraging other technical tools, such as social resumes (personal websites), using Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and building a community of contacts and colleagues via recognized resources to propel your job search.

Miriam Salpeter is a job search and social media consultant, career coach, author, speaker, resume writer and owner of Keppie Careers. She is author of Social Networking for Career Success. Miriam teaches job seekers and entrepreneurs how to incorporate social media tools along with traditional strategies to empower their success. Connect with her via Twitter @Keppie_Careers.

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