When QR Codes Aren't Cool

Published: April 9, 2012 Author: Clearpoint Tags: Job Hunting - Resume Tips

We are intrigued by the rapid spread of QR codes in the visual landscape and eager to find out what clever and creative job seekers will do with them. It might seem like a no-brainer to slap one on your resume or business card. Why wouldn't you? It marks you as high tech, right? It differentiates you from the pack, doesn't it?

(If you're not sure what a QR code is, you can get up to speed here.)

Well hold your horses just a sec. We've seen a lot of articles that encourage job seekers to add QR codes to their resumes. I asked the Clearpoint recruiters, and their response was less than enthusiastic.

"I'm not a big fan. The QR code is a big chunk of ink on the resume that's not pretty," said one.

"I have to use my phone to scan the codes, and I don't want to evaluate candidates on the small screen," said another.

A recruiter's perspective

Our recruiters don't see the point in scanning a QR code on a resume that takes them to a webpage about you. After all, they already have your resume itself. And furthermore, they probably have it in electronic format and it probably has an active URL link to the same page already in it. So why take up resume real estate with something only an electronic eye can love?

Recruiters don't think the presence of a QR code alone demonstrates your techie chops. If you're already in an industry that uses a lot of computing technology (which you are), then chances are the people looking at your resume know how easy it is to add QR codes to things. A code that links to a page is not likely to impress.

Most of the time recruiters are reviewing your resume while sitting at their desks. To scan your QR code, they have to get out their phone, scan it, then review your content on the small screen. Often we find that the delivered content isn't even optimized for mobile viewing. Chances are the recruiter will need to transfer the link over to their preferred browser on the big screen. You never want to create extra work for a recruiter. If you're just delivering a webpage, keep it simple. Skip the QR code and just put a hyperlinked URL in your resume alongside your contact information.

But wait! Don't bury the QR code just yet

Actually we see lots of potential for QR codes. As a job seeker you have a great opportunity to use the codes creatively to generate an experience that reinforces your personal brand and delivers value to the recruiting audience. You're marketing yourself with your QR code, so apply the same discerning criteria as you would to any other marketing task.

Since QR codes are used on mobile devices, use them to deliver content that is created for mobile devices. If you're a mobile app developer, or if you are promoting your mobile app UI skills, then a QR code provides a quick way to bring a recruiter's eye to your work sample.

If your biggest challenge is just getting noticed, you could ditch the resume altogether and put your QR code in the hands of recruiters some other way, like on a bottle of water or a cookie.

If you're a designer, turn your QR code into a sample of your creative work. Believe it or not, they don't have to look like cootie shots to work. Creative ideas for QR codes are easy to find with a Google search.

Finally, we can all imagine scenarios in which QR codes can be handy - such as networking events, trade shows, and job fairs where recruiters rely more on mobile devices to capture and save your information.

So, keep QR codes in your job-seeker toolbox but don't be surprised if a recruiter really just wants you to email a resume. If you have the skills to take it up a notch, make a QR code that emails your resume to the recruiter automatically. We haven't seen that yet, but maybe you'll be the first!


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