Using QR Codes on Your Resume

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Aug 5, 2020

Aug 5, 2020 • by Rebecca Smith

The question of whether or not to use a quick response code on your resume when job seeking has been asked, and answered, by tens of thousands of people -- the question and response takes on additional importance now that the pandemic has settled in for a seemingly long run, affecting the economy of virtually every nation on Earth and forcing financial hardship on tens of millions of individual, families, and organizations. 

The challenge of getting and keeping a steady job in today’s economy has not been so agonizingly hard since the Great Depression of ninety years ago. It would seem, then, that anything a person can do to improve their chances of having their resume noticed in detail and in a positive light would be a good thing. 

And yet there are some employment and HR experts who think that using a quick response code on a resume is too aggressive and presumptuous -- in other words, it’s a turnoff to prospective employers, giving the impression that the interviewee is too pushy. A certain sang froid is required during job interviews, especially during the initial interview, when first impressions are so critical, and using a quick response code, to some people’s way of thinking, is too forward and too needy. Long story short; it’s not a settled subject, and there is not yet a clear consensus on the matter.

But that doesn’t mean QR codes are going to disappear. On the contrary, job fair promoters reported, just prior to the pandemic shut down, that quick response codes were on almost every person’s badge who was looking for work and many attendees were looking for any type of QR code generator they could find. 

Let’s back up a moment to understand just what a quick response code (often shortened to ‘QR Code’) stands for, what it means exactly.

It’s a two dimensional matrix barcode that first drew attention and became prominent about twenty-five years ago at automobile shows in Japan. It’s use soon spread to document tracking and marketing -- becoming a ubiquitous symbol during the past ten years for every major brand and product, not just in Japan, but all over the world. The benefits of using a quick response code, now that smartphone technology is so advanced, is that it provides consumers with instant discounts, company information, contest entries, product availability, price, and location, and so on.

The ability of quick response codes to access kanji, binary, numeric, and alphanumeric modes of encoding means that it is a two way channel that lets consumers know all they need and want, and also supplies merchants and companies with data that helps with targeted and niche marketing. Recent estimates by marketing research companies put the number of American consumers who regularly use quick response codes at seventy-percent of all smartphone users. 

And since QR Codes originated for marketing purposes only, there is still a slight odor of hucksterism to them -- that is the main reason given by HR and management teams when they express a dislike for the use of quick response codes on resumes.

Quick response barcodes are governed by several different international agencies to make sure they are standardized and not used for unauthorized data mining. Still, that is another reason some employers would rather not see a QR Code when handling resumes -- they are concerned about the safety of proprietary information that may need to be shared with prospective hires. So far, this is a rather far-fetched scenario -- but that’s not to say some brilliant team of trolls or hackers won’t come up with a way to do it in the future. After all, look what’s happened recently to some major and big name bitcoin accounts.

Many younger persons who are looking for work, even as a book reviewer, like using quick response codes, because Google makes them simple to include on both a printed and a cyber resume. They can be tracked, so that the job seeker knows how many companies actually looked at their resume, and, in the case of cyber resumes, they can know exactly how much time was spent viewing the document. This gives the job seeks valuable feedback to help them tweak their resume so that it becomes more immediately engaging to HR departments and hiring teams. 

Experts in the QR Code field say that when put on a resume, it should direct users to the LinkedIn account of the applicant, at the very least, and then to academic and past employment records. 

Job seekers, when asked, say their number one fear is that those receiving their resumes won’t know what the QR Code actually is, and may feel put off by it. But those fears, for the most part, are now groundless. Quick response codes are used by virtually everyone under the age of fifty, and in most cases those who will be perusing a resume are in that demographic. 

The fact is that most job and hiring experts now agree that including a quick response code on a resume indicates that the individual is technically very savvy -- and that can only be a plus in today’s job market.