Can TikTok Kill the Resume?

There have been various efforts over the past decade to replace the humble resume. A longtime staple and standard of evaluating job applicants for businesses of all sizes, is it overdue for an overhaul? It’s one of the last vestiges of business operations that haven’t been disrupted in the digital age.

You could argue that LinkedIn has done more than anyone to replace the resume with a more modern and digital format. It carries the same standardization that resumes offer in terms of common ways to evaluate several disparate individuals — which is really the resume’s main point of value.

Then there are personal websites, which many have adopted to display their experience, work history or portfolios. These can go much deeper than resumes for certain fields, including anything creative that requires more color. On a personal note, I ditched the resume years ago in favor of a website.

Enter TikTok

TikTok is the latest to take a shot at the institution of the resume. It’s naturally doing so through its signature short-form video format. Its new program invites users to submit video resumes using the same workflow they use to create any other media on its platform. This is meant to breed color and brevity.

The way it works is that TikTok will aggregate job listings through #TikTokResumes and on a web page. Listings include a simple form (image below) and a link to the TikTok video. Notably, a LinkedIn profile is encouraged on the form for good measure… so TikTok is still relying on some established standards.

Importantly, it’s also getting the ball rolling through participating companies that accept resumes in this fashion, including Target, Chipotle, Shopify, Meredith, NASCAR, and the WWE. This is a key component, as user adoption would be DOA without company acceptance or endorsement of the new format.

Advantages for these participating companies include meeting applicants halfway in the platforms they’re comfortable with. And in this case, it’s clearly a play to appeal to younger applicants. Some of the companies on the above list could use that infusion of a more hip appeal when recruiting younger talent.

Meanwhile, TikTok benefits from this new program in that it broadens its appeal and use cases. And it draws the company in closer to brands, such as those mentioned above. That foot in the door could lead to paid relationships, such as the sponsored content that’s central to TikTok’s revenue model.

What About SMBs?

So could this program portend the future of the lowly resume? The answer is “yes and no.”  It will chip away at the resume’s dominance to some degree for the companies that adopt it. But upending standards in a broader sense is difficult. Any companies that adopt this will also have to offer the traditional format.

Another question is how this applies to SMBs? Like many technologies, it will need to gain critical traction at the brand level before it trickles down-market to the SMB sector. There has to be enough momentum that it becomes a user expectation, which then compels SMBs to adopt out of competitive necessity.

Until then, the traditional resume isn’t going anywhere. Like the SAT for college admissions, it’s arguably outdated and rife with issues. But its standardization is a key point of value, as noted, which has kept it anchored as a business and cultural institution for so long. We’ll see if TikTok is powerful to unseat it.

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