Recently, a CBS piece on innovative job hunting strategies caught my eye. I asked one of the segment's featured participants, Robert "Bobby" Hoppey, to share tips with us. A native of Setauket, NY, Bobby is a recent graduate of Elon University in North Carolina. He is seeking full-time work in New York (leads are welcome). Here is his story--and his suggestions for how you can create your own social resume.
I am one of the country’s many job hunting 22-year-olds and my background to date lies largely in public relations and social media. I am an open book when approaching career prospects, but I ultimately want to do work that is creative, relevant and (with any luck) located in my favorite city in the world--Manhattan.
It recently occurred to me that the concept of a resume is deceptively simple. Don’t get me wrong: It is an essential document to market oneself and will never go out of style. However, when looking over bullet points summarizing some of the accomplishments I am most passionate about, I felt there was a certain spark missing.
I wanted to provide prospective employers with a window into who I am, as well as capture the elusive “way to stand out” in today’s undeniably competitive market. Like most of my peers, I am well versed in Facebook. I also worked as a social media communications intern for General Motors. So, making greater use of social media seemed a logical next step for my job search. I chose to create a social media resume on VisualCV.com.
The Visual CV site serves as a colorful and interactive supplement to my traditional materials. Created fairly recently, my page has already opened doors for informational interviews with established professionals and was featured on a national segment for CBS Evening News. This summer, I am on a 4,000 mile cross country cycling trip to raise money and awareness to help individuals with disabilities. I'm keeping a blog to document my trip, and am maintaining networking leads through my use of social media in preparation for my full-time job search.
If you are a social media resume rookie, and would like to supplement your own job search with a Visual CV or other resume, here is some advice:
- Think buffet style. When crafting a social media, don’t hold back in terms of diverse content. If you have created multimedia assets in your professional or educational endeavors, show them off! My VisualCV page includes videos, a podcast, writing samples, screenshots, a PowerPoint presentation and web site links that are easily aggregated together. If you don’t have similar resources under your belt, or would prefer a more simple approach, you might consider alternative ways to make things pop and encourage a viewer to learn more--graphs, photos, etc.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously. This is not to suggest a radical breakaway from professionalism, but rather a chance to have some fun and provide a broader look at who you are. On my page, I have included a comedic (yet tasteful) YouTube video I created for a presentation, as well as photos of me "cheesing it up" at some of the places I have traveled abroad. By including possible items as simple as a filmed introduction to the page or photos of you engaging in your favorite hobbies, you are presenting a well-rounded depiction of yourself and can stick out in the applicant pool. (As I see it, it is easier for people to relate to you when you've shared information about yourself.)
- Shout from the rooftops. Once you have created a page to be proud of, don’t allow it to linger in "cyber" obscurity! While your competitive side might be hesitant to let your personal network in on the still-emerging social media resume trend, these people may ultimately be the best place to start. I opted to announce the creation of my page (and request feedback) on both Facebook and Twitter, while also incorporating it into my email signature and “link” section of online spaces such as LinkedIn. By choosing to throw myself out there, I was able to establish relationships with new job search advocates and even receive news coverage. There is no telling where your page could lead!
- Make it a committed relationship. Once you have made the rounds with your eclectic, exciting page, there is no reason to let it fall to the wayside. Whenever you have a new accomplishment or professional undertaking that enhances your credibility, pass ‘Go’ and report directly to your social media resume. By consistently keeping your page fresh, you are maintaining an accurate living document online and advancing your personal marketability at the same time.
Hats off to Bobby for sharing his advice! If you have any additional suggestions or leads, please share 'em!