With the advent of LinkedIn, Facebook, and dozens of other websites profiling you, the old-fashioned written resume is an artifact of a hiring practice that is now superfluous. The real “resume” that you have to live with is everything that you or anyone else has posted about you on any site on the Internet. You can’t hide, since no Internet presence will always be a negative.
Today, most personnel organizations readily admit that they already use the Internet to validate what they see in your written resume. You can bet that if the stories don’t match, they will more likely believe the online version. That’s why I emphasized in an old article, “Google Yourself to See How Other People See You,” how important it is to keep your online image clean.
In reality, it doesn’t matter whether you are preparing an online profile for your favorite social network, or a written resume (Curriculum Vitae) in the old-fashioned sense, you need to make certain that it helps your case rather than hurts it. Here are some tips on how to make yours stand out above the crowd:
Executives tell me that they are continually frustrated that most of the resumes they see still sound like “job descriptions?” We need to know what you did, not what you were supposed to do. Words like “assisted” and “supported” are not results. Fuzzy words will hurt you.
Offline, it’s a good strategy to customize your resume to match each opportunity. For example, if you are looking at an entrepreneurial position, show a background in leadership. Mention entrepreneurial groups, and highlight groups you started all the way back to college. If it’s an executive position, highlight your results in that context.
I suspect the day is near when Wikipedia will make even social network profiles obsolete, meaning that every professional will have a public profile entry, maintained by a vast number of “online volunteers” (see Bill Gates, for example). The “open source” cross-check process seems to keep these fairly accurate, and the constraints on who is a “public person” go down every day.
Based on what I see today on Facebook, a lot of people have a long way to go in building that professional resume to show the world. Now is the time to check yours and make sure it highlights your strengths, rather than your shortcomings, before it shows up on Wikipedia and your employer’s desk.
Martin Zwilling is the Founder and CEO of Startup Professionals, a company that provides services to startup founders around the world. See more details at www.startupprofessionals.com