Is putting a QR code on your resume actually a smart move? Let's outline the pros and cons.

Chances are, you've encountered quick response (QR) codes in the wild — especially with restaurants and other stores using this technology to create hands-free experiences in light of Covid-19.

A QR code is basically a barcode. You just hold your smartphone up to scan the square matrix, and then it'll automatically generate a website, coupon, social media profile, YouTube video — you name it.

In the realm of resumes, QR codes might seem like a smart, eye-catching way to save space. Instead of squeezing as much information as possible into those one or two pages, you could simply paste a QR code at the top and lead the reader to your personal website, online portfolio, or even a YouTube introductory video where they can learn more about you.

But do QR codes really have a place in the resume world? And, if they do, how do you go about generating one? Here are the answers to your burning QR code questions.

Should resumes have a QR code? 

Like anything, there are pros and cons when it comes to putting a QR code on your resume. Let's outline both.

Pros of using QR codes on resumes

  • It's an eye-catcher: It's not everyday a hiring manager comes across a QR code on a resume, so it could potentially help you stand out from the crowd. It's also a smart way to show off your skills — if applicable to your industry.

  • It's a space-saver: Resumes are tricky because you only get one to two pages to show off who you are and all your accomplishments. With a QR code, you have the opportunity to build out a more robust profile online, so you feel less strapped to include every single detail on your resume.

  • It's insightful: Depending on what tool you're using to generate your QR code, you can sign up to receive alerts when someone scans it, giving you insights into whether or not people are engaging with it and where they're located.

  • It's targeted: If you have a common name, it might be difficult for employers to do a quick Google search and find your website, LinkedIn profile, or online portfolio. With a QR code, you know you're sending them directly to the real you.

Cons of using QR codes on resumes

  • It's still a relatively new technology: No, it's not like QR codes are the latest and greatest tech trend. But not everyone is familiar with them and how they work.

  • It's too time-consuming: It might sound strange because QR codes really don't take more than a few seconds to scan, but it's still just one more step a hiring manager needs to take to get to know you. Studies have shown recruiters look at resumes for approximately six to 10 seconds before moving to the next.

  • It doesn't always work: If a hiring manager or recruiter pulls up your resume from their phone (which is totally plausible these days), they have no way to scan that QR code, rendering it useless at that moment.

  • It really doesn't add that much value: Depending on what you decide to link your QR code to, ask yourself if it's adding value to your resume and overall job application. If you're linking out to your LinkedIn profile, what's there that a recruiter can't find on your resume? You'll also want to make sure whatever you're linking to is in tip-top shape — not a rudimentary site riddled with typos and outdated information.

How to add a QR code to your resume

If you decide adding a QR code to your resume could add value and is worth your time, the good news is, these are simple to create. There are various ways to go about it, but here's one option:

  1. Visit the QR-Code-Generator website.

  2. Enter your website URL, attach a PDF, or, if you click “Vcard,” you can add your personal contact information, which will be automatically saved to the user's phone. Click around and explore all your options.

  3. Choose a frame so that instead of simply plopping the code on your resume, you can add a little “SCAN ME” icon frame to guide the reader. You can also customize the shape and color, or even upload your logo.

  4. Download the JPG, then add it to your resume. QR-Code-Generator says the square needs to be at least 2 cm by 2 cm for it to be scannable, so make sure you don't resize it too much.

In terms of where you place the QR code, that's up to you. You can add it to close to your name and contact information at the top, or include it in the bottom corner of your resume. Just make sure the placement is logical and doesn't distract from what the hiring manager or recruiter really wants to see — which are your work experiences, job qualifications, and skills.

Want your resume to stand out, but not so sure a QR code is a good idea? A professional resume writer can make your resume really shine!

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