What are you able to disclose on an eight-and-a-half sheet of white paper?
I can’t imagine what it is like to apply for a job. I’ve chosen a very different professional life for myself. A lot of it was based in a world of vain ideologies (I wanted to wears jeans everyday or make my first million by the time I was nineteen or have a life where others wouldn’t be able to tell me what to do). Those didn’t work out in the allotted timeframe, but having simple dreams and goals is what keeps us going – day in and day out. In a quest to wear jeans and make my millions (and, for the record, as someone who is now a lot older and wiser than the punk who made those goals back in the day, those weren’t the best of goals to have), I’ve always had to succumb to things like looking for work in a newspaper, applying to jobs online and trolling the Internet job boards for something that matched my skills. None of that was easy and, in speaking to some peers, it’s still one of the most challenging things to do.
Making the case for social media.
It’s sometimes hard to believe that more people aren’t blogging or podcasting. It’s sometimes hard to believe that people still feel that Twitter is silly or that Instagram is a joke or that LinkedIn is just a space where headhunters and employers go to poach new talent. Take a step back and review this blog, my podcast, the books that I have written (Six Pixels of Separation and CTRL ALT Delete), the Twist Image website, my LinkedIn profile, my Twitter feed, my Facebook page and more. Who is Mitch Joel? What do you know about me? How relevant is my education at this point? How relevant is the work that I was doing prior to Twist Image? What kind of a resume can capture this information?
It’s not about me. It’s about you.
There is an ancient adage that goes like this: "The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The next best time to plant a tree is today." We live in miraculous times. Yes, times are tough (and getting tougher), but it’s still an amazing time to be alive. We’ve now seen multiple instances when individuals with a connected computer have turned an idea into a billion dollar business. We’ve no seen multiple instances of individuals using these connected digital channels to tell their story and, in doing so, build a micro empire (or if you’re the people who created TechCrunch, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Mashable or others, those be full-fledged media empires). Why are we still dinking around with traditional resumes?
Plant your tree.
Figure it out. In text, images, audio and video, you can now share who you are (who you really, really are) with the world on a real-time basis. Instead of a resume, why not be able to say, "this is my resume!" with a list of links that demonstrate how you think, how you collaborate, how you create, how you love, how you connect and how you add value? What could be more impressive that this? Resumes have transformed from these static white pages (that, as my dear friend, Jeffrey Gitomer, likes to say fit perfectly into a paper shredder) into three dimensional, real-time personas that live, breathe, share and connect. Nothing will impress more than an individual who has taken the time to craft and share their perspectives about either the industry that they serve or what inspires them (bonus points when the two are combined and interwoven).
Push that button.
Having a completed LinkedIn profile is par for the course. Sharing the occasional link on Twitter is something anybody can do. How about becoming an original? I’m not perfect. I’m working on it. You can tell. I make mistakes, I sometimes blog when I’m not in the best mood, and I often don’t follow what others would consider to be the best practices… but who cares? Publicly, my main goal is to add value to your life. To help you think about the work that you’re doing and (hopefully) to help you expand those boundaries. Privately, my main goal is to create a wealth of information and thinking that makes me indispensable to the industry, our clients and my peers. Like I said, it’s not perfect and I’m not always thrilled with the results, but I keep pushing on in the hopes that something resonates, clicks, pushes and provokes.
It’s a pleasure.
When people ask me for help in this arena (help with ideation, choosing a platform, personal brand positioning etc…), it’s usually surprising to them that I find all of this stuff a complete and total pleasure. I do. Most people see blogging, podcasting, tweeting or whatever as a task. As something on the to-do list. Something that must be done because they don’t know what success might look like without it. Don’t make this same mistake. Fine the type of publishing that gives you pleasure. Make it a part of your daily ritual. Have fun with it. The quirkier, the better. Ultimately, what you’ll uncover is something bigger than a resume. You’ll uncover who you truly are, and you’ll be amazed by how many people want to connect, share and be a part of everything that makes you such an interesting person. That’s something no resume can do.
But it starts with you. So… start.