I posed this question on Twitter recently and received mixed responses from job seekers, recruiters and others. Some people said they’re already seeing QR codes on resumes (one person mentioned seeing them on professional conference badges as well), other people think the trend is too aggressive and won’t catch on and still other people replied, “Um, what’s a QR code?”
Before we go on, let’s answer that last question first. (And I fully admit I would have asked the same thing a month ago.) QR codes — QR stands for “quick response” — are those small, square barcodes that can be scanned by mobile phones and other devices.
As you’ve probably noticed in magazines, on billboards and elsewhere, QR codes are becoming more and more popular for marketing. When you see a QR code, you simply take a picture of it with your phone’s camera (assuming you have the right application installed) and you’ll be directed to the embedded information in that code, such as a website or text message.)
Why could this be relevant for job seekers and other professionals? Because of the crucial importance of standing out from the crowd. Adding a QR code to your resume, business card, portfolio or any other personal marketing tool could be the detail that helps you get noticed by an employer, particularly if you want to work in an industry such as marketing, real estate or technology in which QR code savvy is important.
How do I create a QR code?
You can use Google to create a QR code. In fact, I was able to do it on Google in under two minutes.
Ryan Rancatore of Personal Branding 101 blog suggests that you monitor the results of your QR Code placements by using bit.ly to shorten your link before creating the code. Then, use bit.ly’s analytic tools to track visits to your link. This is a great way to see if your QR code is catching on and to know which employers are potentially interested in you.
Where should my QR code send people?
There are many options here. Depending on what you feel best represents you, your QR code might send people to your website (as long as it’s professional), your LinkedIn profile, a downloadable vCard with your contact information or an online portfolio of your work.
A company called Vizibility recently announced that personalized QR codes are now available for their Vizibility SearchMe links, which direct people to a user’s top five verified Google search results. If you have particularly good Google-ability, this might be an option to pursue.
Will people get it?
Afraid that people won’t know what that little black and white box is? Not to worry, writes John Heaney: “Even if the individuals reading your resume don’t know how to act on the QR code, including it on your resume can still position you as someone who is technically proficient, stays up to date on business trends and technology and is an early adopter of powerful and creative ideas.”
Ryan Rancatore agrees, “Maybe [people] won’t scan your QR Code. But I guarantee they will take note of this unique aspect of your resume, which in itself is a major victory.” But, as a precaution, Rancatore recommends providing people with the URL that the QR links to in addition to the QR graphic itself, just in case. “Be sure to include both your URL and the QR Code,” he writes, “so those without smartphones can still reach your web destination.“ I definitely agree.