Magazine article Communication World

The Social Media Resume: Do You Know What's Floating around in Your Data Cloud?

Magazine article Communication World

The Social Media Resume: Do You Know What's Floating around in Your Data Cloud?

Article excerpt

Recruitment consultants like to say that the time to work on your resume is when you are not looking for a job. But that was around 2005. In the intervening years, Facebook has become de rigueur for networking, and resumes stuffed with keywords are not as sexy as domains that are optimized for search engines. Talent scouting on sites such as LinkedIn goes on at a clip.

This is not to declare the death of resumes. Many recruiters think the resume is still the ticket to get you past the turnstile. When you compare a resume to another pre-Web 2.0 device, the press release, which wandered off into the digital deep end to become the social media release, or SMR, there is a pattern worth following. After all, isn't a resume a person's press release? It tells a story, has a call to action and is highly targeted. Could a resume pick up a thing or two from a social media release? Marketing guru Seth Godin, author of Meatball Sundae and Purple Cow, worries that a traditional resume is spectacularly ill-equipped to make someone stand out. "Your Facebook page tells me way more about you than your resume does," he says.

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Defining your personal brand

That's why it is time to consider the "social media resume" (unfortunately using the same initials as the other SMR). It isn't formatted to be printed, so your life and your data are not trapped in an 8.5-by-11-inch box. It isn't set in chronological order, and you don't have to dress it up with fancy fonts and resume words. Your social media resume is instead a collection of links, notes, images, attachments and contact points that lead a hiring manager to the real summary of activities of your professional life--online and off-line. It's your reputation system that defines your personal brand.

Try this out. When you google yourself, are you coming up with your resume, or are you coming up with a thread of items that build a more cohesive picture of yourself?. How you work, whom you link to, what you publish and what conversations you have all feed your "data cloud," comprising bits of data trapped in old media, new media and social media. Google and other search engines deploy web spiders (sometimes called web crawlers) to grab bits of this cloud quite efficiently. What if this cloud was just one click away?

A data cloud? It is the substance that makes up a social media resume. The concept of the data cloud has been around for a while. Lexicographer Orin Hargraves suggests it has indistinct boundaries, and much like a real cloud, it hovers over us. It can be fed, navigated and mined. Think of this as a reputation system that you create with data either deliberately (in "about us" pages, social networks, Wikipedia entries, etc.) or unwittingly (when someone links to you or tags your content, or when a search engine spiders your blog or web site). Every PDF document, PowerPoint slide and white paper that bears your name, anywhere you are listed on a committee, any award won feeds this cloud.

Digital due diligence

A report from a U.K.-based business social network last year found that HR personnel searched, found and were influenced by online reputations. These "Net reps" are left behind like digital fingerprints. They get cached and live on long after the individual has purged the information from a web site. …

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