Are resumes an endangered species?  Are we nearing the point where social media websites and other new tools/technologies will fully displace the familiar world of printed career documents, cover letters, and cumbersome job applications?

People have predicted such developments for many years now, but my opinion has always been that resumes are like crabgrass: they’re tough to kill.  As much as everybody in the job market bemoans the limitations of making key hiring decisions based on a few stuffy and sterile pages of printed background information — which can easily be fabricated or fail to tell the whole story of a candidate’s capabilities — resumes are still the familiar, tried-and-true method for evaluating potential job applicants and I don’t see a lot companies that appear ready to abandon this process.  At least not yet.

The latest feature conjured up by LinkedIn, however, leads me to suspect that such a day may be coming sooner than we think.  If you haven’t yet heard about it, the world’s top business networking site is now heavily promoting a “one-touch” application feature that allows users to respond to job ads simply by clicking an “Apply With LinkedIn” button which forwards their profile along to the employer for review — versus submitting their full formal resume.  Click on the link below if you want to read a bit about this new process:

Linked’s New “Apply With LinkedIn” Feature

Now I haven’t come across a bona fide job opening that utilizes this new feature, quite yet, but as a test I looked up one of LinkedIn’s OWN corporate job openings here, where you can see this new button in action at the top right of the screen.  Pretty nifty.

The bigger question about this new feature, however, was tackled just the other day by one of my favorite fellow career correspondents, Nick Corcodilos of the Ask the Headhunter blog.  If you read Nick’s article here, you’ll note that he’s treating this new LinkedIn feature basically as a sign of the apocalypse — and a prime example of the type of thinking that’s made the hiring process these days a nightmare for all concerned, job hunters and employers alike.  I’ll leave you to form your own conclusions about the thoughts Nick shares, but from my standpoint, this one of these cases where he’s absolutely, completely right — if we were living in a perfect world and everybody was making rational decisions about this stuff, as a society.

At the end of the day, however, there’s really no question that this shiny new capability of LinkedIn is merely the tip of the iceberg and that we’re going to start seeing social media being used more and more in a hiring context.  Why?  Because it’s possible.  And there are no laws against it.  At least not yet, until somebody sues some unwary employer out there, claiming that hiring people in this manner favors tech-savvy applicants and is therefore a discriminatory practice.

In closing, I just had to chime in with some thoughts on this latest LinkedIn development, especially given my recent announcement here that job hunters finally need to actually CHECK the LinkedIn Jobs page for the first time in many years!  As always, your thoughts and comments on this matter are welcomed…

P.S.  One other quick announcement, for those of my readers based in the Seattle area.  If you’re into “any and all things LinkedIn” or are still feeling you need to improve your skills in using the system, I’d remind you that I’ve got a brand-new Advanced LinkedIn Workshop coming up next Wednesday night.  Details here, if interested!