The New Resume

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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.


  1. Great Post Mitch. Here are two real-world examples from my own career in social and digital.
    Few years back, when I was recruited from IBM to be the first one at Bell to ever lead their enterprise social strategy, most of my work and statements were validated by the exec management looking through through web and social. My paper resume had prompted my boss to google and figure out the whole story. On a more interesting note though, in 2013, at my current role at Enterasys as the Director of Digital, the CMO, Vala Afshar didn’t even ask for my resume. The recruitment process from first interaction to final HR work was conducted all over social media.
    In fact, the process was so successful and widely received that it has has been discussed and featured on Forbes, AOL Jobs and my own account is blogged here under ‘Web is your resume’.
    Hope this adds depth to your discussion.

  2. Mitch,
    You are probably one in a million that exists and has an open mind. I’ve been ‘resuming’ for about 6 months and would say that the companies I’ve interviewed with are still old school way of thinking.
    It seems to me that open minded companies don’t exist, I guess I can say this since I’ve had over 63 interviews since january. I even turned jobs because felt company was very old school and attrition was very high (another topic for you ‘loyalty’).
    The world is changing and is actually becoming very exciting but as your book saids I think companies need to CTRL + ALT + DELETE.
    P.S. I’ve started blogging at least once a week so its a start for me and feels really good to do so. I can see the effects of blogging now!
    thanks Mitch!

  3. Hey there Mitch,
    I love this post and agree with you 100%.
    I have been looking for a new job after being laid off for over 2 months now. It’s crazy to see how almost every business I talk to, or interview with, just does not get it. They are stuck in a mindset that is sometimes more than a decade old. Or they put out job qualifications that are just, well, outrageous and unrealistic.
    Seems like when I talk to these fine folks, they do not know what they really want. Usually because they have not done it themselves. But also, they do not realize what it will take to get the job done. So, I feel if I took one of these positions, I would be set up to fail day one. And that is not something that is on my radar of things I want to do!
    So, I have decided to plant my flag, and push that button. I figure, why help one company get it right when I can help many get moving in the right direction instead.
    Thanks again for the great post, and the inspiration!

  4. Hi Bilal. Wow! Quite the story. I shared the link with my Social Media/Digital Communications class at the University of Toronto. I have just (last week) created a CV in PDF format with links to all my social media.

  5. Great post and clearly demonstrates that 1. You are an innovator and 2. The medium IS the message lol
    About 25 years ago (yikes) I got my first post divorce jobs at a screen printing/graphic arts company by screen printing my resume. I couldn’t imagine sending in a plain paper resume for that kind of job. They hired me on the spot because they had never seen a screen printed resume. I thought that was kinda weird lol
    I’ve noticed more than one company trying to help resumes evolve overall. Vizify and are two that I’ve been playing with for a while. I love Vivify’s new 30 second videos of your Twitter hightlights- They’d be great in a QR code on a resume. Ex:
    Personally I’m waiting (and hoping) to begin seeing AR in resumes. I want someone to send me a resume done with Layar – That would be cool!

  6. Well I just had another interview, my 8.5 x 11 is very detailed got me in the door but seems they are looking for drones not people who can think. Unfortunately all recruiters still ask for 8 x 11, and still have to fill out forms that ask me the same information that is on my resume, someone please speak with the HR community about going digital, and it’s not the first company I encountered.
    I mentioned social media at the interview, they told me they had a Facebook page but its not generating sales, naturally I responded….way too long to explain, anyways, they told me they started with newspaper and will stick with newspaper.

  7. Hey Mitch, I love it when something Ive been writing about is exactly the same thing your writing about too! It really is incredible to me how people still conform to the traditional resume and follow the endless train of submitting resumes to employers. Why not be the resume? Why not show your employer that your more than just a piece of paper that goes into a shredder?
    Hope More people can think outside the box about this topic!

  8. Hah. I was among your competition for the Enterasys job. I’d tweeted some of the other candidates at the time — and mentioned the story at subsequent interviews — that that was the first time when I knew the names of every other person interested in the job. It was an eye-opening experience.
    But, while Vala didn’t want people to submit resumes, I received a message on LinkedIn from a staffer on the candidate crunching team who wanted me to respond with all of my social links. Essentially, rather than learning about me from the web, they wanted me to tell them what to click. That was also telling, Bilal.

  9. Really, Such an interesting and very useful post has been provided to us. Probably, everyone has the ability of thinking but mostly few people can think in different manner. So, to showing our all capabilities in one or two papers would be one of the creative jobs and that too it is very difficult to set after all. You have given a path to set all our capabilities in one paper by this post. Thank for it.

  10. Perfect. This is indeed the new resume. Of course, showing who you are out there requires some careful thinking but I am a firm believer of being authentic and not following patterns and recipies that worked for others. The only way to learn how to develop our social self, which should be an extension of our true self, is through the wisdom shared by people like you. Thank you.

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