Should Your Resume Have a QR Code? | Lindsey Pollak's Blog

Should Your Resume Have a QR Code?

By Lindsey Pollak

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 (see a simple step-by-step explanation from the Optimal Blog here). I created the above QR code on Google in under two minutes. As you’ll see, it directs you to the Manpower Professional Job Seekers Career Center, where you can find some of my past blog posts and other helpful career content.

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 on The Job Shopper blog: “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.

So what do you think? Will you add a QR code to your job seeking efforts? Please share your thoughts!

p.s. For an interesting, general take on QR codes, check out Mashable’s neat infographic.

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  1. Alex Krawchick says:

    Absolutely terrific post, Lindsey! Great insight and resources. And your timing couldn’t have been more perfect — I’m in the midst of a career transition, in the marketing function, and have been seriously considering how (and if) to leverage QR codes. As a result of this post, I’m now leaning heavily toward testing the concept. Stay tuned. Thanks!

    • Lindsey Pollak says:

      @Alex – So glad this post was helpful (and timely!) for you. Good luck and let us know how it goes if you do use a QR code!
      Lindsey

  2. Timely post Lindsey. My view is that if you are in certain fields and you want to look trendy and hip with technology it can’t hurt, and in cases where you’re worried about age discrimination, it might be a good way to get over that “you’re a boomer, you can’t possibly know technology” impediment (just make sure you ditch the “aol.com” email address)! But, it’s like 4Square and other online trends, until a larger majority actually “use it”, it’s not a necessity. And, don’t let it take the place of more valuable information.

    • Lindsey Pollak says:

      @Diane – Great points, Diane. Thanks for the generational insight, too!
      Lindsey

  3. Nicole C says:

    I am looking for a job (advertising/marketing industry), and recently added a QR code to my email signature and resume. (It links to my Linkedin page) I did this to (1) try to stand out from the hordes of people that are also applying to the same jobs as me (2) to drive traffic to my Linkedin page, which contains more info than my resume, and some recommendations from co-workers and clients. The type of account I have with Linkedin allows me to see who and how many people are going to my Linkedin page, so I figured if my site was getting more traffic, it would show that potential employers were actually interested and checking me out. Did it work? Well, no increase in traffic, so maybe no one has followed the QR code. However, my other theory is that if you aren’t logged in to Linkedin on your phone, and you follow the code, Linkedin doesn’t keep track of that…

    • Lindsey Pollak says:

      @Nicole – Thanks for sharing your story, and good for you for trying this. Have you tried using bitly or another URL shortener with analytics to track hits to your QR code? Since LinkedIn doesn’t provide those analytics you could get them from that source instead (as Ryan suggested in the blog post). Good luck and keep us posted!
      Lindsey

  4. Lindsay,

    Speaking from a digital strategist’s perspective and one who trains professionals on how to create their personal digital footprint, my answer is yes!

    1) To your point, it automatically establishes one as a professional who has a good understanding of digital and innovation.
    2) It enables the screener (hopefully the hiring manager) to experience the candidate well beyond what is scene on paper — whether it’s an online portfolio, reel or website. It’s definitely something I am coaching my clients on (and using in my corporate work as well of course.)

    Nice post.
    Sheryl

    Sheryl Victor Levy
    Philandcompany.com
    savvySTRATEGY.com
    @MktgMavn

    • Lindsey Pollak says:

      @Sheryl – Thanks for the comment and additional insight. Will be interesting to see how this trend develops. Keep us posted on any QR success stories!
      Lindsey

  5. Monica says:

    I love that you brought this up! I have my Google QR code on my business cards (unfortunately I made it too small – so take note of size!). I think putting it on your resume is a great way to help support your job seeking cause by showing more of you. People like people they know, like, and trust and this is a great way to give that extra edge by bringing them to another place to get to know you better. Maybe even a YouTube video! Thanks again for this. I’m going to tweet it now! hope you get responses.

    • Lindsey Pollak says:

      @Monica – Thanks for the positive response and a good reminder to watch the size of QR codes. Thank you for tweeting as well!
      Lindsey

  6. pharrer says:

    QR codes on your resume? Come on, have it tattooed on your forehead. That’ll get you noticed.

  7. Isn’t job search about building your personal brand? Then using a QR code just enforces that concept.

    If you are using LinkedIn, you could direct someone to your linkedIn profile OR If you have a personal webpage or blog, you could direct them there. The applications are endless.

    Very good thoughts – I was just beginning to use QR codes on flyers for workshops that we hold at the Illinois workNet Centers.

    • Lindsey Pollak says:

      @Dee – Thank you for the comment. Glad you are an early adopter of QR codes — let us know how that goes!
      Lindsey

  8. Jim Elyot says:

    Wow. Just yesterday I was asked by a potential employer to “get me your current resume right away.” Since the job involves working with emerging technologies and mobile marketing, I created a QR that links to my LinkedIn profile. After putting it all together, I was second-guessing myself. I wondered if was too much. What if the guy doesn’t know how to read them? What if he thinks I’m showing him up.
    After reading these comments though. It’s all good. The QR is staying on the resume (although properly sized). Thanks all.

    • Lindsey Pollak says:

      @Jim – That’s terrific — GOOD LUCK!
      Lindsey

  9. amit says:

    Coolest Idea – QR Code Tshirt!!!
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/MerlonBrand

  10. Mary Grace Hennessy says:

    With all of the talk about tracking hits, I thought I’d point out another option not just for URLs but for actual resume document tracking too. Check out JuicyTags: http://www.juicytags.com

    It’s a URL shortner too, likely Bit.Ly, but takes things a step further so you can track not just the clicking to access the wesite URL via hyperlink, but any hits to a document or webpage too.

    I use this tool to track all kinds of documents and e-mails that I send and where they end up from a viewing perspective.

  11. viki says:

    i am a job seeker too. i have been bothered how to find a satisfactory job. your idea is good. but i think the possibility of success is low. but we can still have a try. we can also print it to some ad .book. but you can by the way provide some barcode printer for us. i knew a good resource, maybe it is useful for you.”onbarcode” website

    • Lindsey Pollak says:

      Thanks for the comment Viki and for sharing this resource.

  12. I think having a QR code on your resume is a great way to get more interaction on your resume. I’d suggest making sure the QR code points to a resource that is optimized for mobile. LocalPlugs is a company that offers a mobile resume site/QR code. http://www.localplugs.com/resume.html It’s pretty cool actually. It’s a paid service, but for $7/mo you can have a mobile site that connects your QR to a feature rich mobile site.

  13. […] Should Your Resume Have a QR Code? – Lindsey Pollak – Nicole C March 17, 2011. I am looking for a job (advertising/marketing industry), and recently added a QR code to my email signature and resume. (It links to my … […]

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