Everywhere you turn you will see “The resume is dead!” or “Social media is the new resume”. You will also see “ You must have a compelling resume!” Which one is true in today’s job marketplace? Where should you spend most of your energy when job hunting or positioning yourself for that next move? The advice seems contradictory to say the least.
It boils down to this. You need both a strong social media presence and a strong resume. Neither a resume nor a social presence on their own are good enough. You also have to actually be good at what you do - a point often overlooked!
Keep in mind these key points:
- Social media presence is networking. It will open opportunities.
- From your social media (and other networking) activity, you aim to start a conversation with a potential new employer.
- At some point, that conversation will lead to “Send me your resume.”
That last point is very important. A potential employer is still going to want to study your background to establish whether you fit their needs. So a strong resume is a great way for you to make that fit clear.
But you won’t get to that point if you do not network and have a strong social media presence in the first place.
Here’s a ‘Top 3’ summary of how winners approach today’s job market:
1. Winners build a strong and consistent social media profile
For professional job seekers, this mainly means LinkedIn. A LinkedIn profile is not negotiable in today’s job market. Virtually all recruiters search LinkedIn for prospective candidates or use LinkedIn to check the background and reputation of potential employees.
Remember that your LinkedIn profile is public, so can’t be as direct and focused as your resume. It should position you as well-regarded and well-respected in your field and as someone who achieves results. It should also be kept up to date and key worded to ensure that you are found in searches relevant to your expertise.
You absolutely must have a few strong, serious recommendations. Consider them as references - choose who they are from carefully and treat the people giving the recommendations as your references/referees.
2. Winners are active on social media, not passive
Like any other networking, you need to work social media to get the most from it. Winners don’t wait to be approached. Drive your social media activity towards the goal you are aiming for.
- Twitter. Picking up the phone and cold-calling people in a target organisation is pretty difficult, but engaging with them on Twitter isn’t. Tweeting is an easy way to network with like-minded professionals. Build yourself a professional profile and start following your target companies/decision makers. Twitter users are quite likely to engage and reciprocate - as long as you are talking sense of course!
- LinkedIn. Once you have built some engagement on Twitter, find them on LinkedIn and send a connection invitation. They’ll know you by then so are much more likely to connect. You can also engage with target decision makers via LinkedIn’s Group discussions and observe their interests to establish opportunity to take the connection further.
- Facebook. Firstly, make sure your Facebook presence is one you are comfortable having potential employers look around - a lot are not! Make sure what should be private and personal is private and personal. Then you can ‘Like’ target company corporate pages to keep up to date with their developments.
- Engage in your sector. Read articles and posts on industry news and developments and share them on your social media platforms (particularly Twitter and LinkedIn). It is a great way to slowly build your ‘brand’ and raise your profile as someone interested, engaged and contributing in their sector.
3. Winners use focused, tailored resumes
Remember the whole point of all that social networking was to reach the stage of “Send me your resume.” By that time, you should know quite a bit about what your target company or decision maker is looking for.
Now is the time to make it absolutely clear that you have what they are looking for. A strong resume should be a personal, private document between you and them that points out exactly how you meet their needs - and what you could do for them if they hired you.
We have lots of resume advice elsewhere on our blog, but in short:
- Keep it up to date so you can respond to opportunities quickly.
- Make sure it is achievement focused and full of quantified results.
- Make sure you show how you achieved those results - so you illustrate your skills and capabilities.
- When you use it, make sure it specifically addresses the needs of your target. It is not about you: it is about how you meet their needs.
If you have any thoughts, comments or stories, we would love to hear them.