- Priorities of Gen Z applicants might foretell how records of work history will evolve in the future, including portfolios replacing resumes, and spotlighting activism and fundraising as part of one’s work.
- Gen Z’s values are clashing with the values of former generations who make up the bulk of hiring manager positions.
- Many employers prefer tradition and expressly dislike the idea of replacing resumes and doing away with cover letters.
The traditional job application consists of a resume, detailing in chronological order one’s job experience, education, and skillsets, along with a cover letter explaining why the applicant is interested in the job they’re applying for and why they are the most capable of taking it on.
Typically, resumes stick to the basics of experience, and cover letters serve to add more information, such as filling in gaps on your resume — if they were sick and took off work for six months, a job applicant can explain that in the cover letter.
However, Gen Z has something quite different in mind regarding job applications.
According to a recent study published by skynova, four out of five Gen Zers believe that cover letters should be abolished.
Furthermore, 46.3% believe that including activism on a resume should become more acceptable as an item of relevant information to employers; 55.3% say they are willing to include their volunteer work for social justice organizations.
The top three movements Gen Zers claim they’d mention having volunteered for on their resume are equality (54.3%), racial injustice (51.8%), and black lives matter (48.8%).
More than half of Gen Zers would prefer omitting resumes altogether and instead use portfolios (55.3%) as a substitute.
Given that Gen Zers are the future of work — and will one day be the majority of the workforce at all levels — these differences in values are signposts for the future of work.
If their priorities remain, the future of job applications could involve less traditional resumes and cover letters, replace by more portfolios. Or, where resumes are still useful and required, they will include newly accepted content for evaluation.
Employers are in opposition to Gen Z’s values when it comes to job application procedures
One roadblock to these changes in job application procedures and values are those who are currently leading hiring. Current hiring managers, according to the same skynova study, on the whole, disagree with Gen Z’s perspective on what job applications should include.
47.2% of employers say no form of social activism history should be included on a resume; only 28.9% agree that doing so is acceptable. 70% responded that including activism on a resume should not become standard.
Most employers still expect and desire formal cover letters and resumes, especially if applicants have employment gaps they need to explain.
In fact, according to Forbes, it is a big mistake to apply without a personalized cover letter. Whether they like it or not — and it seems clear they do not like it — Gen Z applicants still need to write cover letters to improve their chances of getting a job.
The mismatch in values between job-seeking Gen Zers and those currently making hiring decisions — most of whom are either baby boomers or from Generation X — is dramatic. Whether or not this mismatch in values will resolve is yet to be seen, but these opposing values are certainly already clashing within the workforce, causing complaints and strife.
As of now, it seems likely that as time goes on replacing or radically altering resumes and cover letters will increasingly be adopted by Gen Z-owned companies and Gen Z workers who make it up the ranks into hiring positions.