Social Media: The New Resume

Social Media is changing the climate of recruiting and the traditional job search, placing more emphasis on effective personal branding.

“Write a profile that reads like a marketing brochure highlighting the benefits in detail that someone gets when they hire you rather than a technical manual listing your accomplishments,” says Dave Carvajal, CEO of Dave Partners and Co-Founder of HotJobs. Carvajal places a great deal of emphasis on distinct experience and insight in solving a particular problem set in recruiting.

Carvajal emphasizes that “bosses want to know what you can do, where you’ve done it and how quickly you can do it. It’s your ability to solve bigger and better problems in the world that makes you more valuable.” Recruiting revolves around problem solving–trying to find the perfect candidate to solve and strategize within a corporate team. Someone who can merge within the fiber of the company, both on a professional and personal level.

With this, effective personal marketing is of paramount importance in order to land a dream job and attract the right recruiters. This type of marketing is no longer limited to the traditional resume. The job search has expanded its horizons to social media. In fact, social media has become such an integral part of recruiting that 93% of all hiring managers look at a potential candidate’s social profiles before making a final hiring decision.

So how can you turn your social platforms into personal branding powerhouses?

Emily Raleigh, founder of Smart Girls Group (an organization that seeks to unite, inspire, and empower the next generation of influential women) notes that social media opens up an entirely new arena of opportunity for young professionals to amplify their voices, and in turn build their networks from a young age. When the focus on social platforms shifts to spectacular moments versus random thoughts, real-life connections and job opportunities can stem from utilizing Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and more.

Sharing spectacular moments, by creating a consistent and wholesome message, attracts like-minded users to your platforms. Effective personal branding places an emphasis on high quality, appropriate images and content.  Telling your story by incorporating elements of both personal and professional life.

“I have seen first hand that young women in Smart Girls Group have used their social media platforms to build relationships with others their age who are pursuing similar passions,” says Raleigh,  “and it shows that if social media is used to create a positive, clear message of what a person is passionate about, fantastic opportunities are bound to follow.”

For these fantastic opportunities to follow, your personal brand must become your resume. Focus on growing and learning. As Carvajal says, “Disproportionate growth leads to disproportionate learning. Disproportionate learning leads to disproportionate income and everything else that’s good in life.” Show your distinct experiences and insights by engaging in thoughtful conversations with like-minded individuals on Twitter. Search hashtags that relate to your interests and follow appealing users. Post pictures from your most recent family get-together. Talk about your latest research project. It all comes back to telling your story through social media.

Your accomplishments and skillsets, as well as your tweets, statuses, favorites, are all a part of your modern resume. Taking advantage of this enables you to build your personal brand through each shared experience.


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I recently served as a judge for the Harvard College business plan competition elevator pitch contest, along with prof. Tom Eisenmann, fellow EC Jess Bloomgarden, and two others affiliated with Harvard.  We were blown away at the number of pitches (at least 10%) which were effectively re-creations of LinkedIn.  One student wanted to give her classmates the ability to upload resumes into a centralized “drop” area.  Another student wanted to help connect classmate who had similar interests, and package those groups of students for employers.  Yet another student idea was about building a standardized database of student skills (and affiliations) so that potential employers could easily find and sort candidates for contact.  All of these functions are served, and served well, by LinkedIn. And within the HBS community, none of these ideas would have passed peer muster and made it to the pitch state.  (These weren’t bad ideas — they served quite valuable functions.  But the needs were already met by LinkedIn.)

It seems as if this is a clear example of the power of network effects, and the danger to adoption and risk of abandonment when network effects are potentially strong but un-realized.  In the case of Harvard College, very few students were on LinkedIn to begin with, meaning there was little incentive for additional students to join.  Because students weren’t familiar with the platform, employers [evidently] didn’t make much use of it for screening or messaging, and thus, its value for students was limited.

This led to quite an interesting conversation on twitter, involving an undergraduate, Harvard’s Chief Digital Officer, and Jess and myself.

Original tweet

An undergrad (hidden account) points out that LinkedIn is making special efforts with the community.

via @PerryHewitt “. agree they don’t use but shd prob use what will connect them to ppl who will hire them. Better to work off API?

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