Revamping the resume with digital badges

Many graduates struggle to effectively showcase their talent to employers, and many of them are consequently unable to find gainful employment. Revamping the resume with digital badges can help graduates showcase their skills and help companies identify talent.

Every year, millions of college graduates enter a highly competitive job market to find that the lion’s share of employers won’t even grant an interview for an entry-level position unless the prospect has a postsecondary degree. These college graduates can breathe a collective sigh of relief knowing that they have done the right thing in taking the time to earn their certificate or degree.

However, recent developments such as the proposed college ratings framework have created an awareness that merely being able to include a postsecondary credential in the “prior education” section of a resume is no longer enough to catch an employer’s attention. Fortunately, digital badges are emerging on the scene to provide college graduates with an opportunity to revamp their resume and showcase their job-readiness faster and more effectively. Numerous ed tech start-ups have thrown their hats into the ring of digital badging, and a number of veteran higher ed solutions providers have added digital badges to their offeringsIn the same way that the flipped classroom has made instruction quicker, more affordable, and scalable, these digital badge providers are making the 21st century resume more directed towards hiring goals and easier/faster to verify.

Digital badge providers do this by applying new technologies to the primary tool of the hiring process - the resume.  Rather than being somewhat static, resumes have been transformed into a document that readily displays a job candidate’s qualifications in a connected online network. Digital badges significantly increase the ease with which an employer can review an individual’s relevant competencies and verify the authenticity of them. Candidates and potential employers are empowered to connect in a much more transparent, relevant manner.

In essence, digital badges establish a platform in which the outcomes of higher education can be clearly communicated and integrated for the sake of hiring. Badges within the dynamic, virtual setting of the 21st century resume can give job candidates the competitive edge in a job market where the desired skills and competencies change rapidly. To learn more about embedding digital badges in your online portfolios, please click here.


Digital badges are a 21st century credential. Why, in today's hyperlinked, online world, would we depend on an 8.5x11 inch piece of paper to carry all the significance of our learning? We've self-reported experience and KSAs for years on paper resumes, 21st century resumes need to be hyperlinked and connected too. Make a claim, provide evidence. It all depends on employer buy-in. Once a critical mass is reached, badges as alternative credentials will change higher ed forever. See for more of my wanderings about this.

Amanda Opperman's picture

James! I couldn't have said it better myself! Digital badges certainly seem poised to be the next disruptive innovation in higher ed, as your blog post expertly posits. 

I have been eagerly following the Digital Badge trend as a lifelong learner interested in earning potentially career-boosting badges by being tested/assessed, but most of the badges that I see (including the Wonderlic ones) appear to be bound to the college experience - in other words, you get badges by going to a school that offers badges. If your college doesn't offer badges, then you can't get any without transferring to a badge-offering school. Wonderlic's material seems to indicate that it is marketing the badge to schools, not to individuals. What happened to the idea of badges that can be earned based on lifelong learning? E.g. learn something new on your own (or on the job, from grandma, etc.), pay a small proctoring/testing fee, take an exam, pass, and get a shiny badge.

Amanda Opperman's picture

Robert, thank you for your comments and feedback. We completely agree that badges should encourage and motivate lifelong learning as well as provide an outlet to certify skills learned outside of the classroom. You are correct that we currently only provide badges within formal learning environments (schools, employers’ trainings, etc.). We expect to see a major proliferation of badges and intend to be a major driving force of badge utilization. As such, we have significant plans for the expansion of our current badge offerings, including providing outlets for individuals who aren't at "badge-offering schools" to earn badges. Thank you for joining the discussion!

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