Your Resume is Dumb: How APIs Could Improve the UX in Talent Sourcing

At the end of last year, I wrote up a post on LinkedIn about how sharing CV’s as static PDFs documents will most likely be regarded as a process of antiquity as the Internet Of Things infrastructure matures and robust API’s are developed for data transfer (perhaps facilitated by blockchain platforms) that enable the sharing of real-time career development data. I thought it was about time to share it here as well. 


What if our CV’s were smart? Think about it: no more boring, static PDFs, but dynamic web experiences that update themselves automatically, in real time, with new information about our professional and academic growth.

Sure, you have a LinkedIn. That’s great. It’s on the Web, it’s digital, it’s mobile accessible and, above all, its network-building algorithm has been great for you to connect with peers, colleagues and potential employers. In fact, the algorithm is so effective that it shows you “people you may know” that perhaps you did not even remember you did, and every week or so it automatically does a job search for you.

Yet, despite these technological advancements, our personal profiles mirror our PDF-bound CV’s in their dumbness: inert layered boxes where we manually input information when (and if) we remember to do so. Herein lies an opportunity to design a solution that could better communicate and mirror the ever changing nature in the “course” of our “life” or — to put it elegantly in Latin — in the Curriculum of ourVitae (see what I did there?).

via GIPHY

As the the information systems of the world move towards a mature IOT (Internet Of Things) infrastructure, I believe it inevitable, that in a not-so-distant future, your CV will transcend the confines of the PDF and become an autonomous interface powered by web services and APIs, fed by real-time data, and of course, protected by encryption technologies.

A Promising Solution: Web APIs

APIs, or Application Programming Interfaces are simply methods software applications use to access data assets via a network. For instance, want to create an application that lets you create collages out of your Instagram photos? Just use their API! Instagram allows you to access your data programmatically, so that you can create other projects with it.

The intrinsic value of these APIs, however, lies in the way they bridge the flow of data between software application nodes in a network. With this in mind, think about what would happen if your CV (or LinkedIn profile, for that matter) was fully integrated as one of these nodes in the ever-expanding Internet. In this new paradigm, the information that conveys your professional identity reflects the way you learn and develop professionally, day-by-day. Rather than manually creating version after version of your resume, the CV of the future will be modular, automated, highly extensible, and each module will contain fresh, up-to-date information about a certain skill category.

For example, say you want to showcase the polyglot in you and decided to include a “Languages” section in your CV. Whether you decide to learn French in college, or Rosetta Stone, or Duolingo, these services and institutions could design APIs that would allow other applications and websites (with your consent, of course) to leverage and display the information they collect about your progress and achievements as you learn. Thus showing potential employers a relevant, timely and authenticated snapshot of your professional persona.

Example: Treehouse E-learning Tracker

Ok, time to show you what I mean. Here I have developed a prototype of what one of these CV “modules” could be like. This was built using standard web technologies (HTML, SVG, CSS, JavaScript) and it shows the potential that Web APIs and data visualization techniques can have in communicating our skill-set and experience.

In this case I’m charting data collected about my learning progress on Treehouse, an online coding learning platform I use and highly recommend; the data is made accessible via their student API endpoint.