Let’s start with numbers. According to Linked In and Facebook respectively, there are 55 million & 350 million members at those two social networking sites. We are seeing more and more recruiters and hiring managers go to social media sites to view profiles before even ASKING for a “resume.” In this new job market reality, maybe it’s time for us to rethink how we define the term “resume.”
Resume is traditionally and widely defined as a “written document” that serves as a “brief account” including “career qualifications” usually transmitted as part of a job application. This definition is clearly rooted in a view of the business world that might not be as accurate today as it was even a few short years ago. Traditional resumes are – indeed – written documents we’ve handed out to people either in face-to-face meetings or by e-mail. Just a few years ago, job boards, like Monster and Career Builder permitted us to post a resume for prospective employers to find and download. That move to on-line accessibility represented a huge step away from paper only resumes. But we haven’t moved our definition of resume much beyond a definition bound by the limitations of distributing one resume at a time to one person at a time.
Social media changes everything. Really – everything in the current job search world. So – let’s try this as a definition of a resume for 2010:
Resume – a description of an individual’s career that defines that person’s personal and professional brand, qualifications, skills and accomplishments. It should be accessible on demand and in real time by an interested party, such as networking contacts, prospective employers or prospective clients.
What we need to do is recognize an important marketing principle related to career transition. It’s about going where your target audience is. The key audience for job seekers is on-line at places like Linked In and Facebook. Remember those numbers – 55 million (Linked In) and 350 million (Facebook)? Not every one of those people will be helpful recruiters, hiring managers or contacts at targeted organizations. But, you can bet your bottom dollar that more helpful recruiters, potential employers and great networking leads are there and reachable than you can reach with a traditional, one-at-a-time approach to resume circulation.
Are resumes – the traditional ones – dead? No. We will need to develop and maintain a well-written old-fashioned resume for the foreseeable future. But you also need a well-written new version of resumes – social media profiles – in the emerging and future market place. I am not advocating a technology is the only answer approach here. What I’m saying is that it’s critical to recognize that successful searches today require an effective, well-written, web-based presence. For some of us, that might mean our own web-pages, a blog and multiple social media profiles such as Linked In, Facebook and Twitter. For others, Linked In alone might be effective.
But none of us can afford to be absent from social media any longer.
Chris Osborn, BPI group