I must read an article every week highlighting some innovative new “replacement” for the resume, geared towards bringing the hiring industry into the 21st century. Unfortunately, folks, we’re still not quite there, and the resume continues to be your shining standard for jobseeker marketing purposes.
In my professional and time-tested opinion, I would never tell anyone to forgo the traditional PDF/paper resume in favor of video resumes, graphical resumes, or even those crazy resumes people come up with to mimic the front pages of major media outlets like Mashable, About.com, and CNN. The first guy to do it was innovative; everyone else just had really great graphic design skills.
So while we hiring managers tend to favor the good old standard, that’s not to say that as a digitally-savvy job seeker you’re limited to two pages of 11-point Ariel when it comes to getting your message across and making a stand-out impression on potential employers. Here are a few other resources you might consider adding to your personal brand portfolio to help you market your credentials and craft a professional, yet innovative presentation:
A Professional Bio
Commonly associated with businesses and solopreneuers, a professional bio is a formalized document that is generally written in a third-person narrative format, and focuses on your expertise, experience, and accomplishments from a high level. It can go into varying amounts of detail, but is generally one page. Think about what you might say about yourself on the “About Me” page of your website, or your employer’s website. A bio can be a great tool in place of a cover letter if you’re sending out a general inquiry or promotional package, and want to add a really polished touch to it. Additionally, it’s a great piece if you’re the type of person who’s targeting both full-time work and freelance, as you can use it as a marketing piece to send to potential clients. See an example.
A Simple Branded Website or Landing Page
A branded landing page, such as what you might setup through About.com or other services, is a great tool for providing complimentary information that expands on what you say in your resume or cover letter. This is a great platform to give more context to your background and expertise, or things that might not fit into a cover letter or resume. These can include personal interests that you want to parlay into a professional focus, side projects you’ve been working on, freelance ventures, additional coursework, or anything related to making a career transition. Think of it like having a portfolio, but more versatile. See an example.
Branded Social Media Profiles
More and more employers are leveraging social media for tapping into candidate networks, as well as doing additional research on candidates to get a better sense of their personal brand and what their professional interests are. While many of you are probably already on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest, is all of your content consistently branded around a singular message? How are you coming across to employers – is your Twitter all about your personal interests, and your Google+ more on the professional end? Get the most out of your online presence by connecting your profiles to reach a wider audience and create a bigger impact. When they read any of your profiles, it should be clear what your focus is and your personal brand should resonate throughout. See an example.
Your business card doesn’t need to be tied to your current job title, and you’re not disqualified from having one if you’re in between jobs. Position and brand yourself in the image in which you want employers to see you. If you’re a graphic designer by trade but you’re in between gigs, you’ve still earned your right to the title – put it on there and market it. If you’re changing careers and are actively marketing yourself towards a new role, brand yourself as such. The message on your business card is absolutely what your contacts will remember you for, so make it impactful and accurate. Want to add a creative element? Business cards that double as stickers (and still remain business cards) are pretty cool.
While I wouldn’t drag and drop your resume to the trash bin just yet, you can certainly give your personal brand a professional and creative polish with some of these tools designed to compliment your resume, versus replace it. Go the extra mile to perfect your presentation, and you’ll significantly increase your chances of standing out, getting noticed, and getting hired!