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27 May  2009 ~

Are Resumes Still Relevant Given all the Information and Power of Social Media? This is one of the worst economic environments in the last 30 years with an unemployment rate that is still too high to generate the recovery everyone desires. We have spoken with quite a few CEO’s recently about what they are seeing in terms of how job seekers are altering their approach in this difficult environment and what they see as the impact from social media. At the same time, we also noticed the buzz that Jamie Varon was creating with her public quest to land a job with Twitter and her new web site called www.TwitterShouldHireMe.com . So given these perspectives, are resumes still relevant?

The short answer is YES – the resume is still very relevant but in certain industries and with certain jobs, the resume’s significance is going the way of the eight track tape.

If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. A resume is a sheet of paper. As a hiring executive, the resume is simply one tool to enable learning about the candidate. To me it was important to see a “three-dimensional” view of the candidate. For instance, a resume can’t tell you how someone will react to challenges, deadlines and changing business climates. Clearly, you would hope to get to know candidates more deeply during an interview process, but sometimes that is very difficult when you have say 10 or more, 30 minutes interviews stacked back to back on a college recruiting trip.

For me, I wanted to find people that were good problem solvers. After all in business, that’s one of the keys to success, having the ability to solve one of the myriad of challenges that business leaders face daily. A simple problem solving question I like that has neither a right nor wrong answer is “how many man-hole covers there are in the United States”? Some people just stared right back at me as if I asked the stupidest question ever. Perhaps I did, after all what bozo would want to know how many man-hole covers there were in the U.S. However we didn’t hire those people. We wanted people who could twirl that question around, analyze it and offer a variety of ways at possibly finding a solution to the question.

Social media in some ways offers that same ability. For instance, a solid social media presence sets you apart from your peers. It shows that you understand the changing technology, understand how to participate and are aware of how this could potentially impact your new employer.

Think about the elements that a good social media presence offers. When combined, these are literally the most effective elements of the most effective tools available. This includes LinkedIn, where one could properly brand their work history to clearly articulate their business expertise. Perhaps that also includes a Slideshare presentation highlighting one’s business knowledge & expertise to offer an even more robust profile.

Other ways that one could connect and present a three dimensional image include; a) effectively managing photos that appear in Facebook (keep in mind prospective employers are not big fans of crazy happy hour antics but perhaps instead, candidates could focus on photos where the candidate is highlighting their charitable outreach), b) leverage a following on Twitter where one could create “conversations” that help in their job search and c) tap into the multimedia power of functions like YouTube Videos, Podcasts or free Webinars on sites like Brightalk.com. Given it is relatively easy to plug into these elements, a social media presence offers a fuller more robust perspective into the prospective candidate when compared to the traditional resume.

Let’s close with a hypothetical thought. Taking this thought to the next logical step is may be even more intriguing. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers with at least 15 employees from discriminating in employment based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. The CFO Strategist is neither a lawyer nor HR professional, but wonders if the following may become an issue. Given the accessibility of the fuller & richer candidate perspectives online, a prospective employer could review that candidate’s race, color, religion, sex, and national origin beforehand and simply decide not to interview them based on one of those criteria. Is that a new form of discrimination? Can it be proved? Could this potentially blur what could currently be considered discrimination? Let’s hear what you have to say and perhaps this is a good topic to explore further another day.

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5 Comments »

  1. […] under Branding, Online Identity, Social Networking on May 27th, 2009 The CFO Strategist makes a compelling case for CFOs to have a visible online presence in his article, “Are Resumes […]

    Pingback by Do CFOs Need a Digital Footprint? | Career Management Alliance Blog May 27, 2009 @ 6:24 pm
  2. Thanks for the useful info. It’s so interesting

    Comment by JamesD June 11, 2009 @ 8:16 am
  3. […] The CFO Coach. Posted under Branding on May 27th, 2009 The CFO Strategist makes a compelling case for CFOs to have a visible online presence in his article, “Are Resumes […]

    Pingback by Do CFOs Need a Digital Footprint? | Career Management Alliance Blog June 23, 2009 @ 6:49 pm
  4. […] CFO Strategist makes a compelling case for CFOs to have a visible online presence in his article, “Are Resumes […]

    Pingback by Do CFOs Need a Digital Footprint? | Career Management Alliance Blog June 30, 2009 @ 9:19 pm
  5. Thanks for the info. I”ve been out of the job market for 6 years (having 3 children, ages 6,4 and 2), and was scratching my head as to why none of my reumes/cover letters were getting replies. It seems I’ve missed a ton. I’ve got a lot more homework to do, but at least now I know where to begin.

    Comment by Melanie December 17, 2009 @ 11:54 am

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