It's an age-old question: should I try and make my CV stand out from the crowd or not? Back in the day, before the rise of the Internet and all these shiny new social media platforms, it was a case of using a comical font, or if you want to get real old school, posting a CV on colored paper. To be honest, there were hundreds of things job seekers did to try and make their resume stand out. Occasionally we got to see something that made us smile, but generally it quickened the document on its way to the shredder or deleted folder.
In all reality, it often still does today. Unreadable layouts that don't make sense, and what can only be described as offensive-on-the-eye fonts are still a huge no-go in my opinion. Do you need a photo? Let's be honest for a moment and put all political correctness aside; people judge a book by its cover and if you're not quite the super model type, then this will do you more harm than good. I know it is something you might not want to hear, but take the advice. Seriously. When I see a photo on a resume, I remove it before sending it on to a client.
Now let's forget about all the old techniques and fast forward to 2012 and the brave new digital world the likes of Twitter and Facebook have forged for us. Would I advise against something creative on the resume front nowadays? Well, yes and no. It depends on what kind of an eye you have for design.
Got a profile on Facebook? I'm not really the gambling type, but if I was I'd lay money that you do. Anyway, it's up to you whether your profile is public or not, but personally I'd set it to private at least while you look for a new job. Within digital I'd say around 99 percent of employers go take a peek now. Got something in your personal life to hide? Then hide it.
With timeline being rolled out, why not create a fan page for your CV? Now please remember, there are a lot of weirdos out there in Internetland, so don't put any personal contact information such as a home address or phone number on the fan page. Keep it simple: they can message you via Facebook or add in a throwaway email address just for job hunting.
If you happen to be an SEO type, then do a bit of keyword research around your job title and pick a page name that might be capable of ranking easier if someone goes looking for a person with your career history.
Also remember to set it so that no one can post a comment. Apart from the weirdos, there are nasty little trolls and spam addicts around every corner, or should that be under every bridge?
Let's take a look at what we can now do with our timeline page. We have the option to post milestones with dates. Perfect for education and work history. Find a cool photo or company logo and this update is instantly spruced up and laid out in a nice chronological order.
Think about your header image. Remember what I said about books and covers? Avoid a self photo and go with something more appealing to the general public. Google the top 10 best timeline headers and you'll probably get a few good ideas of what looks good, or more importantly, what other people think looks good.
Add some information to the basic information under the manage tab. A brief profile with the usual work achievements and selling point. Add links to LinkedIn profiles, Twitter, and personal blogs if you feel they are employer safe.
You could add in a few "likes" for pages in your industry to show you know your stuff and stay up to date with the latest news. Just set your fan page as the main Facebook user when you do this so it shows on the page. This will be shown in a prominent position on the page, so I'd suggest avoiding any political or religious sites you may be a fan of or have a personal belief in.
You only have four Facebook tabs showing under the header image now and Photos is a sticky that you can't move. Add a few here if you think they would help, but try and avoid those naked, drunken handstand photos from the Christmas party. I'd suggest business-related tabs here. Things like SlideShare so you can show any presentations you have made; or if you have a YouTube account, maybe some cool videos on industry-related topics. Or a video of a speaking gig. The apps list is pretty extensive, so think carefully about what you want to add.
Will the Facebook fan page resume make a standard CV a thing of the past? I seriously doubt it. But if done correctly, this can be a great way to show you have a bit of creative flare and it's easy to update, amend, and get in front of prospective employers. It's simply another weapon you can use in your job hunting arsenal.
Jake Langwith is managing director and founder at International Head Hunters Stone Carter where he specializes within SEO, web analytics, and social media. With over 17 years experience across the U.K., Europe, and Asia Pacific markets he has established a strong global reputation and works in close partnership with some of the world's leading digital agencies and brands.
Jake is actively involved in the digital marketing community. He's also an avid blogger and a speaker at SEO-related industry events such as the SES conference series. He takes a keen interest in his market sector and outside of recruitment runs several websites where he puts into practice SEO and marketing strategies. Jake is particularly interested in SEO and conversion strategy within e-commerce.
A self-confessed search and tech geek, Jake is married with two children and lives in London where he was born and bred.
June 20, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT