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Is Your Resume Social?

It seems that we are quickly leaving the traditional resume format behind. Black and white, word-processed documents, whether printed or digital, are evolving into web-based versions that use a range of multimedia and graphics to present an applicant's work history and education. An added feature of these formats is social, bringing conversation and interaction to the mix.

A survey conducted last year by the recruiting specialists at Jobvite revealed that "the majority (88%) of job seekers have at least one social networking profile." It is also interesting to note "86% of today's recruiters said they view potential candidates' social media profiles." If you aren't already participating in social media, now may be the time to take the leap, particularly if you are looking for a job or anticipate doing so in the near future.

Social Characteristics

Jan Kietzmann, Kristopher Hermkens, Ian MacCarthy, and Bruno Silvester of Simon Fraser University's School of Business developed the Honeycomb of Social Media [presentation] to help describe the "building blocks" of social activity online. This approach includes the following components:

  • Presence
  • Sharing
  • Conversations
  • Groups
  • Reputation
  • Relationships
  • Identity

These are elements we now expect to encounter on websites and in virtual communities, especially those used primarily for professional networking and development purposes (i.e., LinkedIn). Though the Honeycomb framework was created with business use in mind, you can use it to guide your development of a social resume that establishes your online presence, and inspire your participation in activities that connect you with potential employers.

Trends and Tools

As you consider a move from resume writing to resume development, here are a few resources to inform your social resume presentation:

  • Social Media Profiles: Take a fresh look at your existing accounts with the employer's point of view in mind, and explore additional networks where opening a new account may be helpful in your field. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are perhaps the most frequently used, but you may want to add Google+.
  • Repurposed Resources: Beyond the profile, many platforms offer the opportunity to not only connect with others online, but also present your work in a way that expands on the traditional resume concept. Pinterest, a popular tool for "collecting and organizing things you love" has been successfully used as an online resume option that has visual interest and can be set-up to function as a professional portfolio.
  • Interactive Websites: In addition to social networking systems, there are other tools designed specifically for online resumes. Resume Social and VisualCV are two examples. The format and built-in social functions of blog platforms (e.g., WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr) can be customized to help you meet your career and job search goals.
  • Infographics: These images are popular right now as a way to present a lot of information in a single graphic. The concept is making the jump to resumes with platforms like and that pull the content from your online profiles (i.e., LinkedIn, Twitter) to produce visually appealing timelines that can be shared via URL.

Should You Go Social?

Before you make your resume a social one, consider the following:

  • Industry expectations and acceptance: Look at how and what others in your field are doing to present their professional information online. Creative fields may be more accepting of this type of resume, but interest in other areas seems to be growing.
  • Potential to enhance your online presence: Think about how you might use the new options to add to what you are already doing to reach your goals, whether its finding a job or networking. A social resume may or may not be right for you. Decide if it's going to add value before committing the time.
  • High-quality products: Many tools make it look easy, but there are good and bad examples out there. Take some time to try out new ideas and search for ways other professionals are being creative. You want a social resume to help, not hinder, your progress. You also want it to be something you will maintain and keep up-to-date.

Once you create a new social presentation, ask someone you know, preferably affiliated with the field you are interested in, to review your new format and make suggestions before you share it with the world. Second and third opinions can help you refine your approach. Don't forget about your school's career center for job search and professional development expertise.

You may not be ready to completely replace your traditional resume with a web-based or social one. It's still the standard for many employers and may be required at some point in your search to complete an online application submission or at an in-person networking event such as a career fair. And your existing resume can be a helpful foundation when making decisions about the type of information you'll want to include in a social version.

Image credit: joeshoe, Flickr, CC:BY-NC-SA