Digital credentials are so in

Social media is creating a new era of resumes—what hiring teams can learn

TikTok and LinkedIn created room for video resumes and more personalization for applicants
Social media is creating a new era of resumes—what hiring teams can learn
Photo: fizkes (Shutterstock)
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Bailey Showalter, VP of talent solutions at Credly, a business of Pearson, where she is focused on growth initiatives that help people connect to the right opportunity at the right time on the basis of their verified skills.

When social media first came into our lives, the common practice was don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your future employer to see. However, as social media has become more ubiquitous, our personal and professional lives have blurred. Social sites like Facebook, WhatsApp, and LinkedIn have offered ways for individuals to find new jobs using their platform of choice.

Even TikTok announced its own feature to help job seekers find opportunities. More individuals are using social media with the goal of getting employed, showcasing their interests, and creating a digital, resume-like portfolio.

For over a decade, social media platforms like YouTube and Instagram have enabled individuals to promote themselves and their personal brands while enjoying creative freedom to showcase their talents. Employers are still struggling to fill open positions and individuals searching for jobs that provide autonomy and higher levels of fulfillment. Luckily, many aspects of social media can help hiring teams reframe their talent attraction strategies to make the best talent match for their needs.

A resume is still the primary currency of hiring

No matter the job, company, or industry, resumes still largely drive the hiring process, but resume formatting and delivery have evolved. Video resumes help employers shift hiring requirements (pdf) from education and experience to skills. Although the need for a resume has remained constant, this new era of hiring calls for a more modern perspective.

The traditional resume emphasizes education and experience, typically with previous jobs and degrees at the top, taking up a significant portion of the document. Job-relevant skills are developed through many avenues, both in and outside of formal training or workplace projects. Yet hard and soft skills, certifications and credentials, general interests, outside activities and ways to express intent for continual upskilling get buried at the bottom of a resume—or left off entirely. While this has been the norm, resumes should now be revamped with candidate skills at the forefront, showcasing what they can do versus what they have done.

Recruiters and hiring teams need to adjust their approach to what a resume should entail—with an emphasis on skills as the forefront of qualifications—to better recruit and hire the right fit for the job.

Quick, easily digestible information is critical

Social media doesn’t show every waking minute of individuals’ lives (depending on who you follow), but instead can highlight meaningful moments, enticing viewers to learn more. In the same way, resumes don’t represent the totality of a candidate’s capabilities and potential for success. Resumes exist to garner the attention needed to advance a candidate through the hiring process. Unfortunately, traditionally formatted resumes struggle to effectively articulate skills, limiting a recruiter’s ability to evaluate whether a potential candidate has the skills to be successful.

Digital credentials can bring greater reliability and trust to the hiring process. By providing a unified language of understanding to individuals’ hard and soft skills, digital credentials signify verified, data-backed qualifications and provide greater insight into the whole picture of an applicant’s abilities rather than saddling hiring teams with the task of filling in the blanks.

Studies show us that a hiring manager spends on average 6-7 seconds reviewing a resume. In that time, hiring managers need quick, easily digestible insights to help determine if the candidate is qualified to move forward in the process. So, while watching 3-minute video resumes might not be easily scalable for most recruiters, the notion of putting one’s skills at the forefront of their resume is here to stay.

Skills-based hiring and digital credentials

There is a nearly unprecedented mismatch between the number of open jobs and the number of people applying for those positions, with over 6 million potential candidates (pdf) and more than 11 million job vacancies in today’s hiring landscape. This large gap has amplified the need for capable workers, with hiring teams shifting expectations from those who “have done” a job to those who “can do” the job because of their skills, qualifications, and interest more than their past experience alone.

Many workers who left roles as part of the great resignation have shifted their career trajectory entirely. While they may be entering new industries without a traditional background, these job candidates likely have transferable skills that match well with their ambitions for a new role. But to match talent with suitable roles and close the hiring gap, talent management teams must be willing to prioritize skills in their review practices.

Additionally, previously identified skills that were a nice-to-have for job requirements are now must-haves for hiring. For example, in this digital world, hard skills such as working with tools like Microsoft Suite are crucial for remote or hybrid work and ensuring collaboration capabilities. Similarly, in a remote-first, digital world, a soft skill companies should prioritize is a candidate’s propensity for learning and upskilling. Both of these skills can be shown through verified digital credentials, whether it is a certificate of completion for mastery of a specific tool or an individual’s many certifications and badges, demonstrating their willingness to learn and expand their skill sets.

For hiring teams, reorienting their talent management strategy is crucial to understanding this new era of skills-based hiring. Social media has provided an excellent opportunity to understand better what does and doesn’t work in this digital environment. Each individual has a chance to show their unique skills,while hiring teams will have a competitive advantage in finding and retaining the best talent.