It seems like social media is everywhere. You can’t turn on the TV without hearing about the latest celebrity tweet. Businesses are rushing to Twitter and Facebook – even if they’re not quite sure what they stand to gain. To some, social media is refreshing and authentic. To others, it’s vapid and tasteless. But one thing is for sure: the commercial world has embraced it with astonishing speed. That includes your next employer.
Social media has the ability to shape, generate, and channel “buzz” like nothing else. It helps people decide which products, services, ideas, and colleagues are worth their limited attention. The question: How can your resume benefit from the lessons about positive press businesses have learned through social media? The answer: your resume needs the “social advantage” built on genuine testimonials.
All tweets and Facebook updates are tiny little testimonials. Facebook has led the way in making this clear, with the ubiquitous “Like” button and featured stories. All these tools are compelling because we are more likely to believe opinions from people we know – or at least, people we identify as “like us” – than strangers or pitch-men. When we identify someone as having an angle, that person loses credibility by the bucket.
Employers know your resume has an angle: to get a job. So, how can your leverage social authority in a way that speaks to their needs… without making them feel as if it is part of a sales pitch? The key is sourcing and selecting the right kind of quotes about your past work and distributing them through your resume.
Giving Your Resume The Social Advantage
LinkedIn makes it easier than ever to collect kudos about your past job performance without the awkwardness. Through LinkedIn, it’s easy to request and trade endorsements. Supervisors, peers, and clients can get involved. But you should always collect endorsements strategically, with your end goals in mind.
When your resume reaches the hiring decision-maker, that person will often forward it to peers in other departments who are impacted by the decision. That means there is already a “social network” evaluating your resume. If you’ve been in your industry for a while, you can figure out some connections: for example, a sales engineer is closely connected to IT and sales.
When you know the cross-functional connections that influence the hiring decision, you can collect endorsements that appeal to each “link” in this social network. If you suspect your resume will be evaluated by operations, marketing, and finance pros, you can focus on collecting endorsements from colleagues in these areas. Then, it becomes a matter of displaying endorsements on your resume in an engaging way.
Although a chronological resume is often best, you can modify the chronology of your resume so your contributions to multiple departments are obvious. I call this a “Social Advantage Resume.” Done well, with the research and crafting it needs, it calls out to decision-makers from multiple departments and shows what you offer them. That means plenty of readers with clout will “vote up” your resume.
Using Social Power Shows Innovation
One of the most common problems with resumes is even when your achievements are outstanding, your document may look and read like hundreds of others. A socially-based resume shows you are focused on the needs of the company you are applying to – that you want to work there, not just anywhere. This projects confidence!
A social resume leaves a tremendous impression, but it has many moving parts: from the networking to the employer research to the visual design and strategic use of quotations. A socially focused resume is best if you know exactly what company you wish to work for and what role you want; this way, you can determine just who your readers will be.
Another opportunity this kind of resume creates comes from the fact it looks and reads differently from a traditional document. Open positions may attract hundreds of resumes, and the majority look like the old “Microsoft Word resume template” documents bosses have read countless times. By emphasizing the social aspect of your career, you easily stand out from a huge crowd.
Is A Social Resume Right For You?
A social resume may not be your best bet if you are testing the waters in a field and do not have a specific goal in mind. Likewise, it’s not a practical tactic when your job search has to start right away. But if you are focused on a specific role at a specific company, finding and displaying the right quotations can make all the difference. Through the opinions of others, decision-makers are invited to feel as if they already know you; and that’s precisely the feeling that will make them eager to talk to you in person.
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