October 8, 2008...9:02 am

Six steps to Resume 2.0

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Even if a potential employer discovers you on LinkedIn, most of them will still ask you to send along your resume.

In this scenario, sending my resume may seem silly, especially if you consider the additional information that LinkedIn profiles include that resumes don’t; like contacts in my professional network and recommendations from past colleagues, bosses and clients.

While I tend to agree with Dave McClure that resumes, as communication tools, really do stink when compared with existing information on blogs and social networks, most people still aren’t on the same page.

Chris Brogan wrote a post today about how most people remain oblivious to what all of this social media stuff is really about. Beth Harte wrote a post questioning a recent study that seemed to inflate the number of people who actually care about whether companies are engaged in social media. Lying to ourselves about the numbers or the impact won’t change things.

The bottom line is that while all of this stuff is extremely cool and does indeed have the ability to change business for the better, we’re not there yet.

Chances are pretty good that even if you’re hired to help with a company’s social media efforts, its human resources manager may or may not be the most social media-savvy person in the company. Rather than vex over the uninformed and uninitiated, the overarching solution seems to involve building bridges.

Bridges are built when we start thinking about ways to accommodate the needs of the receiver of our information with our need to flex our social networking muscle.

My friend, Ari Adler regularly insists that all communication should really be crafted with the receiver in mind. Here are some ways I think we can honor this principle and promote our social media prowess within the confines of a traditional resume:

  1. Start with a Word document version of your resume since that’s what most people are familiar with, but don’t stop there.
  2. Hyperlink all of the information in your resume that makes sense. Your name can link to your blog, and your contact information can include links to your LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Flickr etc. profiles. Make sure that the information on the selected profiles is something you wouldn’t mind sharing with a potential employer.
  3. Create an HTML version of your resume and embed it into the body of your email to HR.
  4. Write an introduction explaining what you’ve done as if you’re explaining it to your Mom. Let them know why you think this is important. Explain your interest in sharing information about yourself as it exists online and invite them to explore these links to research who you are. Phrase it in such a way that suggests you’re trying to make their job easier.
  5. Attach the Word document version of your resume to your message and let them know in the introduction that a Word version of your resume is also attached. A lot of times people just want to save resumes in a predictable way or print them out. (Yes, people still print things out and make notes on them with a pen).
  6. Don’t expect them to click on anything. If you’re called in for an interview, don’t start asking whether they read your latest blog post or saw the pictures from your week in Yosemite posted to Facebook. Remember, you sent them an invitation, but that doesn’t mean you should make them feel obligated to check you out on your terms. Just keep inviting people to check out your work and your life online.

Keep in mind that I work in communications and that these principles may vary for different job descriptions.

My thinking is that if you want to work with social media for a living, showing and teaching others about your involvement will mean a lot more than another bullet point outlining your accomplishments. Waiting for everyone else to “get it” won’t work.

What are some other ways we can build bridges for the uninitiated? Can you think of other ways to start tweaking your resume for Web 2.0?

Employers, human resources pros and recruiters – would any of this be helpful for you? Are you using social networks for recruitment purposes? Do you still ask for resumes? How can job seekers use social media to make your life easier?

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  • Nice post. I agree, and it is frustrating to be able to see the future right in front of you and then realize that the world at large has not caught up yet. Thanks again, and keep the good posts coming.

  • Great advice here Shannon!

  • jennymccutcheon

    This is all so true Shannon. I’m currently waist-deep in my job search. I’m finding that employers really do want to see a .doc or .pdf of my resume, even though I have a link to a printer-friendly HTML version I send along as well.

    I think the thing to keep in mind is that although many companies are looking for individuals that understand and can help them reach their Web 2.0 or 3.0 goals, they wouldn’t be looking for someone to fill this gap if they already completely understood the ins and outs of this emerging field.

    In other words, change takes time. It’s respectful to prospective employers to provide resume information in a format they are comfortable receiving, but it also doesn’t hurt to provide *new* ways for them to view this information.

    After all, demonstrating you understand the social media communities employers seek to become involved in, has to help land that job. Right?

  • Nice post

  • Thanks for the advice!

  • I haven’t seen to much about resume writing and web 2.0. A lot of people put tons of effort into their social media presence and I think employers would be interested to see this. It points out that you don’t just sit around watching TV at home, you write, network, socialize, and enjoy some attention. It depends on the industry but these things could be very important when trying to differentiate your resume form others.

  • Dear Shannon,

    I find your post most fitting to my current situation: I am looking for jobs related to Social Media.

    [ my personal website is http://www.mediaalchemy.org

    You are indeed correct when you mention that one must be the bridge and create the proper communication to fuel the value of one as a candidate in a company. I've had great interviews and others that have both improved my approach as well as my tempo when interviewing.

    The biggest issue I find with many companies who seek "the creative types" is that their HR database systems (set aside the actual Humans behind them) are not adequate to showcase creativity.

    I've been requested in countless occasions to submit a Word resume only to realize in the application process that it is only used to grab data into a form. This is most of the time inaccurate as one needs to constantly edit fields, fill out dates and correct information.

    (I wish there could be a system similar to OpenID to handle resume building, then you could just invoke your data).

    My experiences have fallen in the following categories:

    a) Companies that don't quite know about Social Media and analyze you in the "inexperienced" stereotype of a recent Graduate. Your experience in Social Media is then seen with high doubts.

    b) Companies that are still realizing "workplace 2.0" and who are simply not prepared to hear questions about detailed benefit packages, work/balance culture and in general things that one is forced to ask because you couldn't find it on their early 1990's-designed website. By definition, they too don't cater to "the Millennials" / Generation Y.

    c) HR departments who do not consider "experience" while in College. Hundreds of startups began in College. As you know, Google being one of them.

    The conundrum being that you can't have experience if you are fresh out of school.

    In a world of Social Media, experience will happen earlier and earlier in life. I, for one, began coding HTML and making websites when I was 13 years old.

    With the above in mind, I have been grateful to have been raised in a home where personal responsibility was a foundation and this allowed me to surround myself with great mentors.

    I've developed since then a better personal branding strategy which has:

    a) Helped
    b) Hindered

    It has helped becuase it ultimately showcases who I am and what I represent.

    It has hindered because nobody believes that at my age and "experience" I could have done this on my own. People in HR departments with whom I've interfaced specially believe that it is simply impossible and that I am stealing someone else's ideas or that I am paying someone to do this for me.

    The main reason why I began developing my website that has now a more consolidated Social Media portfolio was because I always had a hard time defining in a single piece of paper who I am, where I have been and what I've done and learned.

    I found a level of freedom in this website that I made (www.mediaalchemy.org) but yet I fall again into your main post:

    Companies seek the creative types, yet, the staggering majority seek for a candidate to send a "plain text" resume. How in the world is one to showcase whatever your gift may be on a "plain" resume???

    Over the past months I have tweaked and changed my resume. Even one employer said, "you really have to dumb down your resume [if you want a job]“.

    To end, I think there are major challenges not only the great tips you bring up in “resume 2.0″ but also in the bigger umbrella of “workplace 2.0″ and most importantly in the hands of the employer (HR) that will read the resume and may not quite read it in the same way that your actual boss may do.

    The challenge continues: How do you stand out while remaining a part of the pack for HR to consider you of value and realize your potential?

    Thank you for your post, for allowing me to post a comment and for your time.



  • Great advice on using your Word Doc as a catalyst to open more doors. I think that is a great way to show you have more avenues, yet let them decide if they want to explore.

  • Absolutely invaluable post. I also like what was said about experienc with Social Networks coming earlier and earlier in people’s lives. The whole internet marketing scene has changed so drastically, incorporating parts of daily life into the advertising market.

  • Great advice on thinking ahead but not forgetting to keep both feet on the ground. Social networking is a wonderful instrument for those who choose to participate in the community, but you still have to live in the world that everyone else lives in and communicate by their standards. I’m going to share this with the rest of the University of Iowa PRSSA chapter.

    Caroline Jones
    University of Iowa PRSSA

  • Great post! There are some progressive recruiters out there who are thinking about and leveraging Web 2.0 tools in the recruiting process, but most just don’t get it. I thought I’d add a few more pointers for jobseekers:
    * While a LinkedIn profile is an excellent source of information, your resume should follow up with more detail (not just where you worked and your title, but what specific projects did you lead? What were you tasked with, and what did you accomplish? On time? Under budget? You get the picture.)
    *Automation, and volume, are big barriers for recruiters. To comply with regulations, most firms capture your resume in an Applicant Tracking System, which may or may not support HTML links. Because of the volume of candidates, hiring managers and open positions, most recruiters won’t look at your links until you’re a serious contender. If you’re at that stage, an e-mail with relevant links to the recruiter would be mega-helpful. And you can bet that the recruiter will pass along the links to the hiring manager.

    *One last word of advice. Don’t use fancy fonts, graphics, headers, footers or columns in your resume. The OCR in most ATS systems is pretty sucky and will screw it up.

  • check out http://www.emurse.com

    emurse [mixup of "resume"] has a free and cheap pro version that allows you to do wonders with your resume. add in the hyperlinks you want, creates a specific url for your resume and a even a badge for your site that offers the ability to DL the pdf version, rtf, doc, html, etc. Way easy to use and better than monkey with Word formatting issues. You even can add profile type options as well as pre answering some of the basic questions of head hunters.

    The pro account is only $25 yearly and gives you more base designs but the real big thing is the metrics. Keeps track of hits, referrers and search terms. Emurse push all its resumes out for some google juice and you end up using your resume to drive traffic your way.

    I have really dug it. It is a project from some of the guys that developed Blogsmith [http://www.blogsmith.com/] that powers engadget and related sites.

    check mine out: http://timothywelch.emurse.com/

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  • Great article. I think it is uber important to link to your professional profiles on social media, blog sites, and other places that show you are passionate about your field.

  • Shauna Nicholson

    I wrote a blog about resumes a while back: http://shaunanicholson.com/blog/current-projects-cover-letters-resumes/

    And, today, came across this awesome post about creative resumes:

    I love that I can better research candidates beyond their paper resumes–it’s a much easier/efficient way to qualify people!

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  • Very useful advice on teaching people to use the info available through social media. But they don’t entirely replace a well-written professional resume for presenting a person’s accomplishments and value to an employer.

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  • Very Cool, check out my startup http://www.resumebucket.com

    People can upload their resume quickly & efficiently..

    Check it out..

    Ex; ResumeBucket.com/JoshStomel

  • You could also post a ’service offer’ at http://ki-work.com – it shows a precise summary of your skills and experience in a field of online work (work that can be done remotely). It also show links to your portfolio, photos, videos, resumes, profiles, blogs etc.

    See mine in online community development:

    Cheers, Jim

  • Shannon – you did a good job with this post :o)

    I’d like to add though that what you’re talking about here is the very traditional recruitment route – and that probably only applies to about 60% or so of new jobs – those jobs that are actually advertised.

    What social media does is offer a very important change in the process for the 40% or so of jobs that are never actually advertised (whatever the law says). Those jobs that never have a vacancy attached to them and don’t require resumes or applications, but just happen because someone knows someone who knows someone.

    What social media platforms do is offer ‘job seekers’ a very real and very credible alternative to applying for jobs in the first place.

    By being fabulous and visible using socmedia, they stand a better chance than at any time in the past of being ‘invited’ to a new position – without ever applying for it in the first place.

    Previously this happened through traditional networking. Socmedia has transformed that and opened it up across geographic, racial, cultural and class borders.

  • Great post shannon. I recently “Pimped” my ‘about’ page and my LinkedIn on Dave McClure’s rec.
    Thanks for verifying I did it write. Hope all is well.

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  • Tim (@Twalk) Walker

    Good post, Shannon! I like how you’ve tied together the abstract (building bridges, modeling new behavior) with the specifics of doing a resume today. I have friends who are job-hunting who can use this advice right away.

  • I didn’t create a word document but I found an awesome layout created in PPT format and it ports out to .pdf in a sweet looking simple but effective resume. All of my top qualities on one page and it’s clickable.

    I know that the majority of people are looking for a word document and not following the rules is not okay. You could also create a great layout in Word and then turn it into a .doc or a .pdf when the format isn’t specified.

    I’ll put up a screenshot of mine later today.

  • Hi Shannon, these are wonderful ideas and I have used many of these strategies when presenting my business for social media opportunities. VisualCV is also an excellent tool to present a 360 view of your expertise. For job seekers in traditional fields, one of the difficulties still faced is presenting your presence without triggering our non-2.0 friendly US employment laws. Employers must avoid the appearance of hiring biases. Employment law has not yet caught up with the rapidly changing landscape.

  • Thanks for the link Shannon! Great points…my favorite is “Write an introduction explaining what you’ve done as if you’re explaining it to your Mom.” It’s so true that we just assume, because it’s our daily world, that HR people, even other marketers!, understand what we are talking about when we state that we’ve made business connections on Twitter or Plurk. There is some evidence that HR folks and their hiring agencies are doing background checks on people and looking into their on-line activities, but I get the sense it’s only the more ’savvy’ companies…you know, the one’s that have already blocked all access to YouTube, Facebook, etc. ;-)

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  • In reading the comments to this post, it struck me that there is in an interesting divide between those of you that are just getting your start in business, using social media as a platform to achieve your objectives, and those of us like myself, 38 years old and thinking about doing the same. I think the message I’m hearing is that many of you believe it is the people in the hiring positions that represent a barrier to your employment, in that in their advanced age, they are incapable of comprehending the level of your brillance and how you would be the difference between their business succeeding or failing in this new economy. To that I would say “nay-nay” my friend. There are no doubt an abundance of brilliant people just waiting for some old dude or chick to see their brilliance…..what there ARE NOT enough of, (this should be your challenge, should you accept it)….are brilliant people who can make their brillance appear to be so effortless that anyone can see what they are doing. Know what you’re doing SO well that you can spend our interview time talking not about what I as the interviewer can’t see about you but rather what YOU, as my prospective employee, are going to do for my business, and to what degree I will be able to measure your value, and you will have yourself job offers lined up around the block.
    That paragraph was long. But it comes from experience. Find someone that can give you some insight on how to translate your talent into a prospective employers value, and you will be light years ahead of the competition.

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  • Shannon,

    You’re post really highlights what sounds like a successful way to use your resume, (like you said) as a bridge for people who do use social media daily to connect with those who aren’t as familiar with the 2.0 world. I think creating hyper links in an e-mailable form of your resume is something that employers (even HR that doesn’t get it) can easily figure out, without overwhelming them. I may try this in my current job search. Thanks for a great post.



  • Hey Shannon-

    Thank you for this great post. It’s all very very sound advice.

    “Make sure that the information on the selected profiles is something you wouldn’t mind sharing with a potential employer.”

    Another key point is to make sure that your online profile is ALL built of things you wouldn’t mind having an employer see. The recruiters in my office (as well as the folks on the executive team) almost always look on MySpace, Facebook, Naymz, Google and Twitter for additional clues to the real personality and character of a person.

    An initial interview is something a little like a first date. Both the employer and the candidate has their “date faces” on. Knowing what “social profile” the other party has is research that BOTH parties should participate in. I would encourage candidates to research companies as carefully as companies research candidates.

    If you’re going to call out your social media profiles, try to make sure that you’re making your references relevant. Tie the reason you’ve linked to these resources to an example of how companies like your prospective employer have benefited from social media.

    One last thought – I’ve for quite some time included the text of some of my LinkedIn endorsements in the references section of my resume. I’ve been complimented on their inclusion, and have tried to embed some of my online persona into my paper resume presentation.


  • Great thoughts. I have one suggestion on your hyperlink thoughts. There is a great new site called http://www.personavita.com that allows you to list all your past work experiences. Then those experiences can be validated by your co-workers. So it’s more than recommendations from friends. Something like this ought to be on everyones resume. I have like my experience with personavita and would recommend it to anyone.

  • A long time since your post but check out http://www.easy-cv.com, it is free and available in 7 languages

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