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Science Careers Blog

March 17, 2008

Social Media Résumé: A Link Too Far?

Christopher Penn, chief technology officer of the Student Loan Network and founder of the Financial Aid Podcast, has created what he calls a social media résumé that applies a panoply of Web 2.0 technologies to the challenge of telling the world about himself and his accomplishments. Penn assembled the site using Google Page Creator, a simplified Web site design tool from Google.  He offers his résumé as a model for anyone who wants to take a similar approach.

You can't help but be impressed with what Penn has combined on one Web page. The centerpiece, literally, is an introductory video, surrounded by links to his personal Web sites, his LinkedIn profile, work-related Web sites, bookmark sites (e.g., del.icio.us, StumbleUpon), his instant-messaging addresses, his Twitter link, RSS feed subscriptions, and a drop-down menu of 14 more social bookmarks. If you're a traditionalist and want a résumé you can print on paper, there's a link to a PDF copy of his LinkedIn profile, and if you need that personal, real-time connection, he lists his telephone number (which doubles as a fax number, in case you chicken out from a voice call).

While I like bells and whistles as much as anyone, you have to wonder whether a résumé of this kind will get you in the door for an interview any faster than the traditional printed page. Dave Jensen, who writes the Science Careers' Tooling Up column, talked about résumés and cover letters just last month. While not denying its importance in the overall process, Jensen says "a good résumé is better than a great résumé because it's out there working for you while the great one is still being analyzed and revised." Also, the résumé, according to Jensen, should address in some way the needs of the hiring company. It's hard to do that with even the most impressive Web technology, unless you want to design a different Web site for every job you apply for.

Penn's social-media résumé may be a great advert for people in the Web 2.0 business, but it has LOOK-AT-ME written all over it. It's impressive in its own right, but Penn still needs to explain how he will help a hiring organization make money or cut costs.

Hat-tip: Shifting Careers blog

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