Résumés may not be dead yet, but they are absolutely evolving -- and not just moving from printed paper to digital copies.
While some businesses still rely on traditional résumés in the hiring process, many are seeking a more complete picture of their future employees and turn to social media sites to learn more about potential hires.
Who can blame them? Résumés are two dimensional, offering only work experience and education. They are also sometimes incomplete or completely fudged. Think of those old personal ads in the newspaper -- sure, you got a four-line snapshot of your potential match, but how much can you really learn about someone from just a few lines about their favorite hobbies and their dog?
In recent times, college admissions use Facebook as the 21st-century SAT test. According to Collegerecruiter.com, more than 90 percent of human resource departments use social media like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest to find reasons to hire or not hire a candidate.
An online profile can be a big plus in the hiring process -- when done right. It can highlight a candidate's personality, image, interests and ability to communicate. In addition, endorsements from work colleagues, professors and peers can highlight a person's potential, which all adds up to create a three-dimensional view of the candidate.
It is important to build a proper online persona. Make a good first impression, because the job search is much like dating. The goal of both is to make a match. Dating sites have long since evolved from those newspaper personal ads into vibrant profiles that offer real insight into a person. Likewise, the job search is following suit.
Online communities like Sittercity, which enables families to find trustworthy babysitters, and my firm Shiftgig, which connects service industry candidates to employers, work in a similar fashion to dating sites such as Match, eHarmony, and PlentyofFish. Instead of making romantic connections, they match potential employees with employers. Just like those dating sites, creating an attractive online profile increases chances of a match.
Sam Yagan, co-founder and CEO of OKCupid, confirms an unfortunate truth of online dating, "No matter how much time you spend polishing your profile, it's your picture that matters most."
A professional profile faces a similar challenge, so don't be afraid to add a photo to your online profile. Make it show off your personality. Let it help you stand out. Catch an employer's eye and help them put a face to a name.
However, provocative photos or inappropriate pictures are a huge mistake. Always remember that the Internet is written in ink, not pencil; and that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. So make sure you don't distract from your most marketable qualities by presenting your best professional profile right from the start.
Lou is co-founder and CEO of www.shiftgig.com. Readers may send him email at email@example.com.