It is a good headline, the way yours should be written under your name on Linkedin. But, now it seems either prescient or dated since a WSJ article earlier this week featured a venture capital company that hired from a person's online social presence not their resume.
The title, however, was not intended to incite but merely to announce what will all too soon be reality. In 2009 it was somewhat of an exaggeration but not by much. Let’s modify it: the resume as you and I know it will be extinct, obsolete, and dead in less than 3 years - expedited by the the economy and technology. Yes, that’s safe to say.
How many times have you printed and mailed by regular post your resume to an employer or faxed your resume recently? However, there are multiple copies of your resume are online, in electronic databases, posted on job boards (as ineffective as they are who can resist them?) as well as emailed resumes to companies and colleagues who forward them by email to others. It is the evolution of technology that has created the change in our actions.
The Resume as Webpage
When does it stop being a resume and start being a webpage? It already has because it is read 99% of the time on a screen. Nobody prints it until you walk in the door and by then it has done its job, right? Terms like a one page resume andstacks of resumes are all obsolete because there are no stacks or pages, just databases and links. How can you measure the length of document that has links to multiple other sites of information (see insert below for example)?
But, it is simply insufficient to have a resume remain as an online pseudo page on a screen. If that was the case, we would be immediately buying our subscription to the New York Times online, ads and all – with no more newsprint on our fingers. It is obviously not such a simple trade off. Resumes, like many products and services that the Internet has touched in the past 20 years, are being transformed by the inherent nature of the technology. Marshall McLuhan was right.
"The medium is the message" is a phrase coined by Marshall McLuhan meaning that the form of a medium embeds itself in the message, creating a symbiotic relationship by which the medium influences how the message is perceived. The phrase was introduced in his most widely known book, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, published in 1964. McLuhan proposes that mediaitself, not the content it carries, should be the focus of study. He said that a medium affects the society in which it plays a role not only by the content delivered over the medium, but also by the characteristics of the medium itself.
In the Web 1.0 days the Internet was populated with what was called euphemistically “brochureware" and "shopping carts,” meaning datasheets, brochures, and catalogs. The Web 2.0 Internet, due to enhanced tools and delivery capability, has enabled multiple kinds of content modalities.
On a Web 2.0 website, you may watch a video, listen to a podcast, move through a set of slides, download a PDF file, fill out a form, take a poll, add a comment, share in a chat, add a friend, send a text message and retweet. Can a resume remain for long a static script of line after line of text in this environment?
What are the implications to your job search, and to managing your career? The resume, as we knew it, is functionally obsolete online. Web 2.0 technology demands that we shift from our traditional preconceptions of what a resume should look like, and how it should be accessed. This is no trivial trend for hiring on the fringes. Given the global competition for work and the commoditization of talent at all levels, how well you use Web 2.0 tools to brand and differentiate will give you the edge. Here are some initial ideas and areas to help you to step out of the resume box.
If you want to see the Web 2.0 replacement of the resume, just visit www.visualcv.com . Interestingly, the term curriculum vitae or CV for short means a written account of one’s life. A resume is a condensed presentation from the French past participle, “résumé”, to summarize.
Visualcv doesn’t expect a summary of your abilities, and accomplishments but rather a well- branded elaboration multimedia expansion of them. It allows you to build your self-presentation using video, audio, graphs and charts, slides, photos, illustrations, articles, white papers, and work samples. In addition, you can add logos of your current and former employers, links to blogs, and relevant websites, testimonials and endorsements.
Linkedin.com et al
This now 9 year old granddaddy of the online resume website, has slowly but surely seen the light and moved to expand your opportunity to present a full-blown professional profile. With the addition of the Applications feature late fall of 2008, Linkedin expanded member Profile pages to encompass a breath and depth of someone’s abilities and accomplishments beyond its initial fill-in the blanks modules.
Overnight, you could upload slides and presentations through Slideshare and Google Presentations. You can now link Google Docs to your Profile that enables white papers, work examples, case studies, and articles to be displayed. Amazon book lists lets you display your knowledge and acumen through sharing all the great books you have read.
Another Applications feature is the blog links to Wordpress and Typepad. I already had a blog and a newsletter on the Typepad platform, thus my blog posts and articles were easily linked to my Profile with one mouse click. Displaying knowledge of your industry, marketplace, and business by blogging about it is a natural extension and enhancement to your professional profile.
The sum total of all these Applications is that they transform Linkedin’s original fill-in-the-blank, static, linear Profile cum resume into an embellished, expanded and elaborated portrait providing a wealth of information and deeper insights into a professional.
All of the above applies to the other social networking sites with variations on the theme. Be it Facebook Pages, Viadeo, Ecademy, Xing or Orkut, any social networking site expects you to present a profile of yourself to the world. Wherever you have the opportunity to communicate, demonstrate, share and connect online, you are putting your persona and professionalism on display.
It is the new resume. It is at your peril that you avoid doing this because recruiters, hiring managers and search firms are seeking talent in those sites. You can be selective, discriminating such as building visibility on sites such as Ivy Exec or BlueSteps but you still have to show up.
Zoominfo should be separated out for two reasons. One, recruiters seem to love to peruse it as they expect to uncover a more candid expose of a person. Two, you are on it already so you have no choice but to manage your professional presentation on the site.
Zoominfo uses the same type of software as CardScan that scans information off a business card and reads it into a contact management system like Outlook. Zoominfo scans the Internet and scrapes off information about people and builds profiles about them on its website. You are already on Zoominfo, if you have had any length of time on the planet functioning as an adult.
Zoominfo is indiscriminate. It scrapes anything with your name attached to it: SEC filings, company bios, keynote addresses, church bulletins, little league team rosters, the green couch you sold on Craigslist…anything and everything. You could find a motley collection of the flotsam and jetsam of your life or nothing much of anything.
One professional found that her boss had usurped her profile, or Zoominfo had miss-attributed all her achievements. Further, your profile, much like a mangled credit report on Experian, could have information about multiple people with the same name.
Zoominfo is the malapropos vitae with unintended consequences. But you can rectify that by skillful editing, and inserting your own branded content.
Blogs: Typepad, Blogger, WordPress
Blog platforms are ideal to create, not just a blog, but a vitae that is even more personalized, interesting and even intimate. Unlike, Visualcv and the social networks that provide the look and feel, you create the color scheme, the look and the layout on a blog. This is your opportunity to truly express your personality, style, and branded image completely. There is no conforming to the requirements of any service provider. No boxes to fill in or an online genie to tell you that your profile is only 50% complete.
You can stretch beyond the social networking profiles, the multimodal resume sites and fully present a professional portfolio of yourself using a blog platform. Now that’s awesome and really scary. It implies that you are clear on your brand, your target market and value proposition and are able to articulate in color, sound, video, design, word, and layout who you are. If you need help doing this, get help. But the more hands-on you are with the process, the more authentic will be the outcome.
Typepad in fact gives its subscribers a tutorial on how to turn a blog into a resume page. Wordpress, an open source application, is so versatile that many people are using it to build entire websites. The advantages of these platforms are their low cost to build and maintain, their high Google ranking, and the facility of updating the site content without learning HTML.
Of course blogs are used for writing posts that build your participation in the community of your peers, and business sector. Each blog post is an active, dynamic form of vitae building. Every entry serves to better demonstrate, and draw attention to your credentials, knowledge and expertise than the passive data on a resume. It is one thing to say that you are highly strategic and analytical on your resume even with a past example, but to actually demonstrate those skills in the blog that you write is by far the better route.
The Resume is not Dead it is Simply Transfigured
This trend to multi-modal, multimedia, multi-platform online elaboration and expansion of your professional self will only continue to grow while ensuring the death knell of the resume. As search firms, recruiters, and employers use ever more thorough, and granular searches online to uncover the top candidates and stars they seek, they will look well beyond a simple bland resume format. Technologists will continue to develop more innovative tools and amazing technologies, and you know the saying, “If they build it, we will find a way to apply it.”
Finally, your competition will adopt and implement all these tools and techniques and you will have no choice but to keep up. But why not be ahead of the curve? Consider Malcolm Gladwell’s premise in the Tipping Point, that once a critical mass is reached, a direction becomes inevitable. So it will go with the resume now.
In the spirit of the times, I have just published a little e-book called, The Digital Resume. I have watched too many good resumes go bad because their layout is so last century and their look is incompatible to viewing on a screen.
You will see with specific directions and tips, how to make a resume be digital with fonts that render well online, proper margins, line spacing and the psychology of reading on a screen. Resumes require the same useability and user interface as a retail site like Macy's or Home Depot. While your resume still breathes life, then it best be digital.