By Dr. Todd Bacile | July 22, 2013
Much has been made about the benefits QR codes have for marketers, but these small 2-D bar codes can also be used during your search for a new job. Below is a brief recap of my use of a QR code during my last job search. My search was industry specific (Marketing Professor), yet the principles are relevant to any type of job involving innovation or creativity. On top of building the desired skills hiring managers are seeking, using a QR code will help to promote a job applicant.
How to create a QR code
Creating a QR code is quick, easy, and free. Many companies offer free or pay-to-use QR code generators on the internet. I use Vizibility and will discuss its template as an example.
After you register for a free account Vizibility automatically generates a QR code for you. Right click on the QR code image to save it. Then you can insert/place the code on anything you choose, such as a résumé or business card.
The online template lets you setup what people see when they scan your QR code. Below is snapshot of my QR code’s landing page as viewed through a smartphone (note: I’ve elongated the screen size in this image to accommodate for scrolling).
The landing page enables a person to click-to-call, text, or email me (you know… because I wanted to make it easy for an employer to contact me for an interview). There is also a feature enabling a person to view not only my LinkedIn profile, but also any mutual LinkedIn contacts we each have. The power of your network, endorsements, and recommendations can be beneficial here!
As a digital marketing researcher, consultant, and instructor I want prospective employers to have easy access to my online activity. My QR landing page does that: a single click takes a person to my blog, Twitter account, web site, a myriad of other social sites, and Google results.You do Google yourself and try to manage the links that appear in a SERP, correct?
My QR Code In-Action
Marketing Professor Job Search
This past year I took part in an annual process nearly all colleges and universities participate in: the marketing professor job market. For higher quality schools a Ph.D. is required of a job applicant, which drastically shrinks the pool of available talent, yet creates intense competition among the small number of academics. I wanted to stand out.
Marketing professors typically have a focused research and teaching area. My area is digital marketing and I decided to highlight this fact not only with my experience, but also with a QR code. A code was prominently displayed at the top of my curriculum vita (a.k.a my résumé). Below is a cropped image of my CV’s first page.
Personal Branding with a QR Code
Did it work?
Statistics published in the field show that most applicants on the Marketing Professor job market receive about a 19% interview response rate based on the number of applications sent out to hiring schools. My response rate was 38% – double the average.
The strong response was most likely not all due to a QR code – I’m sure the Klout in the classroom media coverage and social influence buzz helped – but, my QR code helped build my personal brand image of a digital marketer and helped differentiate myself from the applicant pool.
In fact, I know that one interview I received was solely based on my QR code – even though the department head at the school never scanned it. He called me to set up an interview and stated, “Out of the over 100 hundred job applications I received, yours was the only one that included a QR code.” When I asked what he thought about it, his response was surprising. “To be honest I do not own a smartphone, so I could not scan it. But, you stood out from the pack.”
When your QR code is scanned
There is one final benefit of QR codes I would like to discuss. When your QR code is scanned, your support software can notify you of the exact time and location where your code was scanned. From a marketing perspective this is a goldmine (knowing when consumers interact with your information). From a job search perspective this was beneficial, too: I applied to schools in several different cities and had some degree of information as far as which schools may be interested in my services. Below are screen shot images from my Vizibility account.
When I was notified my code was scanned, the Vizibility software not only stated, for example, “Tuscaloosa, Alabama” as depicted above, but also showed a GPS map. Clicking on Tuscaloosa displayed the University of Alabama’s campus (one of the schools I applied to).
Have you ever sent out numerous job applications and waited to hear back? Sometimes you never hear anything. With a QR code being scanned, you can be given information that your application was received; and the prospective employer has interacted with your information. This is helpful for two reasons. First, for peace of mind! Second, you have a “heads up” to prepare for a possible interview with that specific employer.
Todd Bacile (@toddbacile) is a Marketing Professor at Loyola University New Orleans. Yes, using the QR code did help him land a great job. Social Media Marketing Magazine ranks him as one of the Top 100 Marketing Professors on Twitter. Aside from marketing and technology discussions, Todd enjoys talking about BBQ, college football, and baseball trivia. All comments and questions are welcome!