I’ve never liked the idea of a resume. Partly that’s because I haven’t had a normal job since 2002. At any given point, I’m writing for five to seven different organizations, and I’m also in a line of work that’s more about output than anything else. If you’re thinking of hiring me, there are examples of my work all over the web. A resume won’t add much to that, which is why I don’t have one.
But it turns out that in the social media era, I’m not the only one who doesn’t bother with a one-page summary of my work history—and who doesn’t use one to get a foot in the door somewhere. Much about the traditional approach to getting jobs is changing. The resume is “quickly becoming archaic,” says Ian Ide, president of the search division at WinterWyman. “People still like that concise document for purposes of interviews, but the front end is changing pretty quickly.” These days, “Many first interviews are granted on LinkedIn profiles, not resumes.”
Indeed, your online presence—particularly at LinkedIn, but with some Twitter and Pinterest possibilities—can become a subtle way to intrigue recruiters without giving anything away at your current job and, in fact, without you doing much at all.
With LinkedIn, aside from keeping your profile up-to-date and listing specific skills people might search for, Ide says that you should go to your settings and indicate—in the “Communications” section—that you’re open to hearing about career opportunities. That's a tip-off to recruiters that you’d be okay with being contacted, but it doesn’t flag anything obvious to anyone you currently work with.
Next? Put things on your LinkedIn profile that can start conversations. Maybe it’s news about a charity you support, or even your favorite sports team, but just as wearing a Red Sox T-shirt in a bar would give someone an opening to talk with you, so can the logo on your LinkedIn profile. “Recruiters want their efforts to be high yield,” says Ide. “If there are seven people who are technically qualified for the job, the person who looks approachable is the one they’re going to reach out to.” In a bar, you speak to the person who’s smiling, not scowling.
On Twitter, the key to hearing from interested organizations is to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. Tweet links to interesting stories about your field—particularly ones others aren’t sharing—and respond to other people’s tweets. Offer pithy but professional commentary. The fact that you can express yourself well in 140 characters is, in itself, an attractive job skill. Follow—or follow back—people working at organizations you might someday be interested in. While it might seem cool to have many more followers than people you follow (as if you were Ashton Kutcher), being open to direct messages increases the chances that people will query you.
Pinterest brings in the option of creating a visual record of your work in a more centralized location than your own website (which is a great idea if you have a portfolio, but is also a lot of work, and harder to lure in a lot of eyeballs). If you’re in a design-oriented field, pinning examples of your work, and work you admire, creates a very clear sense of your eye. As more people re-pin you, you become known as an expert. Add in a good way to contact you, and you just might start hearing from people looking for your visual sensibility.
“Posting your resume—up on Monster—is not the most subtle thing in the world,” says Ide. But if you can be more coy, you can gauge the market for your talent, and figure out what your next move should be.
[Image: Flickr user Jenni C]