Personal marketing: beyond the resume.

The curriculum vitae (CV) or resume has always acted as our professional marketing document. It is our personal product sheet, allowing potential employers to look at our education, skill sets, work history and experiences to determine whether or not there could be a fit with their business. In the past, you would print out your resume on quality stock paper and snail mail the document to recruiters, human resource departments and hiring managers in the hopes of providing the right fit. Today we can email and upload our resume from a simple mouse click. What has provided us with increased ease of distribution – the web – has also given us other channels for personal marketing efforts.

When we think about marketing ourselves to future employers we need to think beyond the simple resume, not to say the resume is irrelevant. First let us assume we have a strong resume so what are some other tools that we need to leverage and be aware of  in our personal branding and marketing efforts?

  • Facebook: Ok not a surprise, but THE social media site (over 350 million users), is also a resource for your future employer to find you, learn more about you and make a decision about you. Keep that in mind when you post pictures from your trip to Las Vegas. Check your privacy settings as well as what has been posted on your wall as well as where you have been tagged. If there is any content you have to think twice about being viewed by your grandparent or future boss…then remove it. Remember that even if your page has the full privacy settings and you keep it free of any distasteful content, if you are tagged in a picture that is on another profile it can be found if privacy settings are not appropriately set.
  • Linkedin: Professional networking sites like Linkedin (others include such sites as Plaxo and Naymz) offer a wonderful way of expanding on what information you provide the world. Make sure your bio and information parallels what is in your resume, nothing more embarrassing than discrepancies between your resume and your Linkedin profile. When it comes to Linkedin make a concerted effort to accumulate recommendations for your past work – from your bosses, co-workers and those you managed. Try to maintain a balance as well – make sure any position you held for a significant amount of time ensure you have recommendations for that role. Of course utilize key word rich text in your bio – rather than saying “experienced consulting companies on web 2.0” state “experienced consulting companies with social marketing efforts.”  Ensure you leverage some of the widgets available such as Box.net and SlideShare more on that in the next bullet…
  • Speaking of…use content sharing sites such as Box.net and SlideShare. If you have articles, papers, blog posts, creative content or other relevant documents that demonstrate the work you have done – put them on Box.net. If you have some powerful PPT presentations do not hesitate to upload them to SlideShare. Of course make sure you are allowed to make any of these documents available for public consumption. Finally make sure you make your accounts available via Linkedin or hyper-linked within your resume.
  • Write a blog. Okay not everyone has something they are passionate about…but if you do…write about it! Of course you need to be aware that some topics – such as politics and religion – while are very interesting can also illicit very strong emotions. Not to say you should not write about these topics if you are interested, but understand that from your branding it could created some unintended consequences. The benefits of a blog is it allows you to share your thoughts and demonstrate you can communicate in a consistent and organized manner. The same holds true for Twitter the micro-blogging site, remember that what you Tweet can be searched and found.
  • Be aware of other sites that you leverage that can be searched. Photo sharing sites such as Flickr are wonderful tools to search and view user generated photographs. However, much like Facebook sometimes there might be pictures that are not ones you want your grandparent or future employer to see. Be aware of what is on these sites.
  • Google yourself! That is not just something to do for fun, but realize your future employer will most likely type your name into Google. Do it yourself to see what the search engine finds.
  • Think outside the resume box…Did you present at an event? Was there a news story about you? If it is on YouTube make it available! Alternatively you can use YouTube to create a quick video about yourself…your elevator pitch. Don’t forget to not only include your contact information, but also any relevant hyper-links:Linkedin, Facebook or personal web site for example.

The power of the web has allowed for us to leverage a number of tools to build our professional brand beyond the resume. Some of these tools can enhance our brand others need to be managed to ensure they do not damage our professional brand. Used properly they allow us to demonstrate our value beyond the simple 1 page CV.

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