Your Resume, Your Blog, Your Personal Brand and Your Next Job

I was chatting with a friend of mine this weekend who is currently in search of a new job. He mentioned that, in addition to applying for specific positions, he has his resume posted on in hopes that someone searching for his skill-sets will find it. Now, I can attest that this does work. That’s actually how I got my job at Caremark back in 2003. Caremark’s HR Recruiter found me on Monster and it turned out to be a great gig with a great company.

The problem though, as I see it, is that was 2003; now its almost 2009 and if I was a betting man I’d guess that there are hundreds of thousands of resumes out on today and my friend’s is just a needle in the haystack.

This started me thinking: if I was in the market for a new job, how would I approach it? The first thing that came to mind is that in the last couple of years I’ve received a handful of unsolicited “opportunities” in my email inbox. Now, this isn’t all that uncommon once you’ve been around long enough to get into the “headhunters” databases; but what is different compared to 2003 is that they found me via my blog, not via headhunters or job websites.

Let’s compare for a minute the difference between a recruiter searching for a resume on Monster and searching for keywords related to their industry on say Google:

A resume simply boils down into highly targeted and carefully crafted bullet points what I want to relay to you about what I’ve done in my life and how I think it applies to your job posting. Assuming that experience and past accomplishments are indicators of future performance you can probably discern things like my work ethic and basic levels of competence; but what does it tell you about how well I’ll fit into your company culture, or how I would approach the responsibilities of the role? The short answer is that it doesn’t. Arguably one could uncover some of this during an interview, but even that only scratches the surface.

So what’s the answer? Well, as audacious as it sounds, If I were applying for a new job, I would probably just submit a very brief cover letter and a link to with no resume. Now, why would I send them to my blog and not tailor a resume to their specific job posting? It’s not because I’m too lazy to update my resume, but rather we’ve already established the flaws in the current resume/interview process so lets rethink it…

Imagine that the person interviewing me spent a few minutes on this site; what would they unearth?

  • How I communicate: Not just grammatically, but my ability to articulate ideas (like this blog post)
  • My true areas of expertise  and INTEREST: For Example, I’ve run call center operations, call center I.T., Resource Planning and virtually everything in between; but does that really mean I’m passionate enough about any of those roles to it again?
  • How I think: Am I a negative person that complains a lot, or do I approach the world optimistically and solve problems? Do I have original ideas, or just regurgitate what I read in the Blogosphere?
  • My “Brand” impact: By the shear fact that I have a personal blog I will have an image impact to your company. Would I be an asset, or a liability? Is it tangible or not?
  • Personal data that you can’t ask in an interview but the “National Inquirer Wants to Know”: I’m married to the woman of my dreams, I’m 34, I grew-up in Ogden/Manhattan, KS, I live in Boston (but desperately miss Chicago), and have a baby Crosby on the way. And oh, by the way, I work for Cisco, not SYSCO.

The list goes on, but hopefully you get the point.

So, now that potential employers are finding and interacting with you online, what else will they find out about you?

Not that long ago, I made a religion out of managing Latigent’s online presence (If you Googled “Latigent” in May of 2002 when we founded you would have retrieved zero results; in Sept 2007, just before the acquisition, it was 34,000 results ((64k the day after the acquisition was announced, the power of Cisco :-)).One thing people don’t think about are the implications of the things they post on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and the like. One day, during our growth phase, I Googled “Latigent” and the third listing was a link to Jason’s Flicker page where he had innocently uploaded a handful of photos from our company Christmas Party and tagged them as “Latigent”. The pictures weren’t incriminating by any means, but lets just that you don’t want to walk into a sales call with a CXO after he or she has perused photos of you enjoying a few dirty martinis (Belvedere, 3 Blue Cheese Olives)…

The moral of the story is threefold:

  1. Job Searching: If you don’t have a blog, start one. If you have one, don’t blog about what you had for lunch or how many beers you consumed last night. Talk about things that the people you want to find you will find useful. Trust me, we’ll find you…
  2. In the age of Social Networks and digital pictures that can be sent from your mobile: think before you post (seriously).
  3. The more your potential employer vets you (and conversely, by blogging about your interests you are targeting and “vetting” the people that find you), the more likely you are to end up in a job you you’re not only good at but that you’re passionate about.

My departing thought: What I find rather musing is that Monster.Com correlates “Your Personal Brand” to your resume. This means the majority of job seekers in the market today are still buying into that idea (that’s the audience they’re pandering too). And right now, the majority of job seekers (your competition) is growing by the day…

So how will YOU stand out?

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2 thoughts on “Your Resume, Your Blog, Your Personal Brand and Your Next Job

  1. EXCELLENT post man. I agree with every single bit of it, and this is some good solid advice. I particularly like your discussion of the tone of what you post online and what it shows about you as a person and the way you approach work (and your life). Great stuff.

    Also, your selection of expert commentary is beyond reproach ;)

  2. Great post Chris. I have thought seriously about the blog – if anything, it helps codify knowledge in your areas of passion.

    Glad to hear you are doing well in Boston, but of course it is no Chicago… :-) And congrats on the baby Crosby!