Marketing Yourself In A Connected World – Is It Time To Kill The Traditional Resume?

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I’m surprised by how many people still don’t see the direct correlation between developing your Personal Brand and Digital Marketing. Companies are leveraging every facet of Digital Marketing, but the true power that is driving the success of Social Media and Web 2.0 is how individuals, people like you and I, can have equal voice in the marketplace with very few barriers to entry.

Even money is no longer an issue. Individuals have created huge Personal Brands and communities with nothing more than time served. Take the many stars of MySpace – individuals with over two million "friends" who have become Marketing and PR juggernauts for their respective audiences, or the person who started a Blog six months ago and is now regarded as the "go to" person for their niche.

These are live case studies in Marketing that we all have to be paying more attention to.

I got to thinking about the power of Marketing Yourself effectively in this all-connected world after reading the post: Die, Resume! Die! Die! Die! on the Bryper Blog this morning. Bryan Person was marketing himself and putting his ideas out there long before he took a job at His Podcast, New Comm Road, acts like a classroom on the topic of Social Media, and that’s why his Blog posting affected me.

I spend a good chunk of time thinking about education and how the whole system is still functioning within the structures created by the Industrial Complex. Resumes are still stuck in that time period. I have read about examples where people have thought outside of the box and done some wacky things to get the attention of HR, but Bryan’s reasoning seems more in line with where we are… and where we need to be:

"If you’re an online advertiser, digital marketer, or social media-focused PR pro, then you know that the one – or two-page resume that you’re supposed to send to the hiring manager or HR coordinator does very little justice to your work. To wit:

– It doesn’t reflect the thought leadership of your blog or podcast.

– It doesn’t list the online responses to the award-winning YouTube video you produced for a client or the comments you received to a post-mortem blog entry about your ground-breaking integrated social media campaign.

– It doesn’t tell your potential employer where and how you’re commenting online.

– It doesn’t show the depth and breadth of your professional network or online presence."

The idea of a Social Media Resume‘s time has come. Think about how this process could work: a prospective employee fills out a form that validates whether or not they are qualified for a position. They then have one paragraph to give their pitch, and then add their links. We live in a world of walking the walk, and people need to know that most HR professionals’ first destination is a Search Engine (or Facebook) to see what it says about that potential hire.

Why not stack the odds in your favour and have a space that unifies who you are, what you’re about and how you think? I know this process won’t work for every type of hire or every type of industry, but in the Marketing, Communications, Advertising and Public Relations spheres, it seems like a no-brainer.

The two best parts about a Social Media Resume is that it will evolve over tine (as the individual does) and will develop as you do. Plus, it’s much healthier for the Environment – less paper, less filing… and less fuss.


  1. Have you heard the one of the candidate who asks, “I assume you googled my name?” and gets a “huh?” in response ๐Ÿ˜‰ HR departments in many cases have *their* forms you need to fill out and want a cv is the format *they* are accustomed to. I agree with what you say, I still don’t see it happen for as long as folks remain stuck in their processes.

  2. I got my current job because my boss read my blog, liked what I had to say, shared similar values and wanted to collaborate. I had 5 other offers like this from people in the online marketing space. This isn’t bragging. This is reality. Your personal brand has powerful, practical implications. Treat it accordingly and you’ll be amazed at the results.

  3. I have to give this post thunderous applause on two different levels.
    First as a person who feels cursed to have multiple talents. I started out my career as a designer, decided that art directors had more fun and then discovered that I wrote better lines than my writers. This made something like a resume just confuse the hell out of people. “We dont’ know what to do with you” is what most recruiters would tell me. (I now enjoy a career as an experiential marketing creative director where I get to do all three things and could not be happier.)
    I also founded, a social network for advertising professionals. When we started a job board on the site, my pitch to recruiters was that combining a resume with a profile on our site was a powerful combination. Because the resume showed experience and if someone was blogging on our site and had 100 friends, you were able to get a snapshot of the intellect and how they interact with others.
    I’m willing to bet that the people who blog the most on my site and are the most connected are also the ones at work who get the most done and work with people the best. The person who logs on at my suggestion and fills out no profile information, doesn’t post a photo and doesn’t interact with anyone is far more likely to be found in the company restroom, rocking back and forth on the floor in the fetal position.
    Who would you rather hire?
    Yet, in their frenetic search for that candidate NOW NOW NOW! most recruiters cannot be bothered with a social network. They don’t get to know our members. They don’t check out our profiles. And so far, no one has tried to hire me even though I run the site. (What in the world would we do with you?)
    Personally, I check to see if a candidate is on Myspace, Facebook, Linked In and my own site (extra points!) I think that recommendations on Linked In are worth their weight in gold – even if some of them are quid pro quo. I like to see who someone knows. There’s something to be said about the company you keep. Top agency creative directors don’t just add anyone.
    I would love to kill the resume. Why not replace it with a new business pitch? Send an RFP for a position. Make everyone customize their pitch for the position. Show relevant experience. How you see yourself in the job. Heck, creatives could even do a mock assignment with the team. I’d feel confident about every job I applied to. I don’t when I send a resume.
    Pitching for a job would cut down on resume spam. Right now if you post a job, expect 250 responses. 235 of them will be dreadful. With an RFP process, you narrow it down to people who really want to spend a few hours customizing their pitch.

  4. Thanks for pointing to the post, Mitch, and thanks to those of you that have left positive comments.
    @Valeria: You’re right that it’s going to take some recruiters and HR people some time to catch up. But especially in the creative field, it won’t be long now before companies who don’t welcome a social media resume (or something like) aren’t going to be able to attract top talent.

  5. Absolutely in favour of this post. At the same time, it brings home the importance of creating content and being more selective in where and to what you contribute. And, as with any distribution chart, there are the early adopters to which we belong … It will require a greater participation on the part of more traditional HR departments to mainstream the idea (and practice) in order to make the on-line presence a more fluid and effective “cv”.

  6. This was a fun and provocative post. I see much common sense in the idea of the social media resume. Just thinking about my own experiences, if someone is even semi-serious about their blog and Facebook profile, then I can learn tremendous amounts about that person. Certainly the long string of conversations, and chosen applications in Facebook which come to represent our on-line identity, can add up to one powerful message.
    Consider an analogy.
    In some little way, perhaps I like the idea of flipping through a report and getting the essence of the message, the methodology, and the arguments by actually reading the details. Such detail is so much more useful than a one-page executive summary. But yet, I always like the executive summary in a report. I like that brief attempt to pull together the whole of a message even if the summary is unable to really capture the essence and richness of the report.
    I like both. I have a difficult time seeing reports move away from executive summaries in the same way I have difficulty seeing a certain portion of our hiring processes move away from resumes. Many people will simply like to see that short overview even if it does lack richness. Recruiters who come to universities love the resume because they find it an efficient method of processing hundreds if not thousands of prospects. Global search processes open to the public are another area where the resume is useful because it allows us to make rough cuts. But if we are hiring from within a community where people are known entities, a hiring method which does make up a sizable portion of job searches, then the resume becomes much less important since we are often talking about relationships and abilities. Here, I think, the social media resume makes far more sense as a stand-alone communication genre.
    Perhaps what we will see is a combination of approaches rather than an either/or choice. As social media advocates perhaps it is easier to see how we would like to have hiring decisions affecting us, and thus want decisions based on something like a social media resume. But we are a small but growing portion of the workforce, current practices and expectations (regardless of what they pertain to) are almost always slow to release their grip, and there is still a place in the world for traditional resumes. These are strong reasons why the resume will not go away soon.
    I do not yet hear the bell’s toll and I would guess that many companies around the globe (but perhaps not all) will enjoy seeing both when trying to fill a vacant position.
    Meanwhile, I am happy to continue my own adventures with social media, build my own brand through these channels, and use this in conjunction with my traditional resume. They both work well for me.
    Keep up the great work Mitch! Best wishes from Singapore.

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