Will Your Online Presence Suffice as Your Resume?

Susan Hall
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10 Tips for Getting that IT Job

There's work out there, if you know how to get it.

In a Forbes post, Dan Schawbel, who specializes in personal branding, predicts your online presence will replace your resume within 10 years. He recommends you get started now so you can better control the information potential employers find about you on the Web.


He suggests you start by creating a personal website at yourfullname.com and also create vanity URLs at sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.


Schawbel gives five reasons to focus on your online presence:


1. Use of social networking is skyrocketing while e-mail is plummeting. Yes, it's true that companies increasingly are moving away from e-mail, as fellow blogger Ann All wrote just last week.

2. Traditional job-hunting methods don't work anymore. In a separate Forbes piece, writer Susan Adams refers to a survey that found just 23 percent of job seekers found work through ads. But people have been saying that for years. I would argue that traditional methods do work, namely networking face to face. But that requires a huge amount of effort. Adams also quotes Orville Pierson, author of "Highly Effective Networking: Meet the Right People and Get a Great Job," saying:

If you're the hiring manager, your first choice, your safest choice, your best bet, is to hire someone you already know. Your second choice is someone who is known by someone you know.

3. People are managing their careers as entrepreneurs. He says the younger generation, especially, knows there is no job security and tend to start side businesses to supplement their low wages. I wrote yesterday about Peter Weddle's post called "The iPhone Proposition," which states we all have to be like Apple: We must work continuously to stay ahead of both our competitors' capabilities and employers' expectations.


4. The traditional resume is now virtual and easy to build. He points out that there are so many tools online, such as LinkedIn's "Resume Builder," that make online resumes so easy that there's no reason anymore to create a resume in Microsoft Word. I'd second that, having just built an online portfolio for a family member using Krop. These tools make it easy enough that people who are not website designers can do it.


5. Job-seeker passion has become the deciding factor in employment. He says that through these sites you set up, you can totally target and display what you're passionate about, helping companies easily determine whether you'd be a good fit.


The problem I see with the Schawbel piece is the advice I hear over and over that you need to create custom resumes to address the specific position for which you're applying. And you might want to leave some information off to apply for certain jobs. To me, these sites sound like the static resumes you send out to hundreds of potential employers, most likely not really connecting with any of them.


Yes, you can create some really cool digital resumes, but you still have to sell your ability to solve the specific problems of a specific company. You can do that by connecting through recruiters online. Intuit's Chris Galy offered some suggestions for doing that in this post.


What do you think?

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Feb 22, 2011 3:29 AM Susan Hall Susan Hall  says:

For instance, if you're a person who cannot spell, I don't see Twitter presenting you in a good light.

Feb 25, 2011 4:42 AM Tamara Dwyer Tamara Dwyer  says:

I've owned my URL with my name for ten years and suggest everyone get one (having an uncommon name and getting there early helps). Email from this domain is a very strong first impression. The 'billboard' at this site is an important statement of who I am and what I represent as a whole person. It lists work accomplishments, and includes links for other activities and interests.

I've included a link to PDF resume when I was actively and publicly seeking employment. The resume garnered attention from recruiters using search engines too; they contacted me after finding the resume. Yes, you should focus on your online presence. It is critical.

Will it suffice or replace a resume? No. Sending a targetted resume in response to a specific job posting will be with us for some time. The hiring companies will continue to need to filter and search for applicants on their own system. The Internet is too vast to perform targetted searches of people who meet specific requirements and - most importantly - are actively seeking employment with a specific company.

That said, the targetted resume can't contradict information available online; the resume sent to a specific company must be subset that fits the broader context of the applicant's online presence.

Feb 25, 2011 4:43 AM Susan Hall Susan Hall  says: in response to Tamara Dwyer

Thanks for your input.


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