If you're like most people, you apply for jobs by emailing a resume and cover letter in PDF.
But do you know what a recruiter or HR manager will do as soon as they see your documents (and you seem like a promising applicant)?
They'll type your name into Google.
Which brings us to a critical question which was rarely asked until recently - will anything that helps strengthen your application come up?
Screening job applicants through web search is a relatively new practice for recruiters.
Until just a few years ago search algorithms weren't sophisticated enough to find bits of history of everyday people.
Web search favoured the elite, which meant that only heads of state, rock stars and CEO's had the kind of online presence that would enable a web search for their name to return a meaningful snapshot of their life.
Now search favours social.
And it matters to you in the context of employment because it's pretty much impossible to do something remarkably or uniquely differently to the masses - and not leave behind an easily discovered digital trail of conversations, debates, projects, posts, profiles, photos, webinars, hangouts, complaints, reviews and pages.
A few years PDF-based resumes were the main mouthpiece through which you had the opportunity to tell your story - until you got to the interview. That was the world of Resume 1.0.
These days employers who are considering you for a role want to know that a web search for your name will give them a snapshot of:
And when I mention your beliefs, I'm not only talking about your opinions. Opinions without results mean nothing.
I'm interested in actions you've taken to produce results which are in line with your opinions. For example, do you believe that climate change is real? Great - and do you have a blog which educates people why? And how big is your following?
The PDF resume, although still part of the recruitment process, is now engaged with in a much more fleeting manner.
It has become a business card on steroids of sorts, which allows potential employers to do further research into who you are. What is crucial is that they'll use what they find to decide whether to call you.
I think that in a few years there will be no need for a Resume 1.0 at all. If you meet a person who you think you'd like to work with, you'll simply have to tell them your name or give them a card. Worst case scenario, have to fill in an online form which will simply ask for your name and email address.
The first 2 pages of Google results for a search of your name will be your resume.
One way you could look at the changes is - you now have another hoop you must jump through. One more bureaucratic box you must tick to get your job.
I think to say that would be to miss the point that Google is shifting its consciousness to favour people who are creating great stuff. This is an opportunity for people who are up to something to be noticed and headhunted easily by people who need them.
Which leaves you with a choice - do you want to be the kind of person who is always fielding phone calls from potential employers? Or the one who is incessantly following up with recruiters?
This is an obvious next question to ask, but it's also a useless one because it looks at the problem from the wrong end.
Your strategy should not be to create a bunch of online content with the aim of eventually being able to type your name into Google and see an impressive list of results.
Rather, begin your strategy with finding something you intrinsically care about. And then develop your ideas, solve problems, create projects and grow your influence from there.
A few years ago my fiancee decided to give up his 'regular' job and become a photographer.
Photography been a consistent interest of his since being a child and he wanted for his hobby and his work to be the same thing.
He didn't care how much (or little) he got paid and how many hours he worked - his goal was to do what he loved and be able to pay the bills doing it.
He no longer wanted to just take photos. He wanted to improve how it was done. He began to specialise in kids photography and noticed that most photography in that genre was cute, but also somehow stiff and lifeless.
The problem was that photographers were putting kids in front of their camera, suppressing their natural desire to play and be carefree and were telling kids to look in the camera and smile.
In the moment of taking the photo, photographers wanted kids to rise to the level of adult. Which begged the question - what if the photographer came to the level of the child and engaged the kid on their level?
What if the kid could feel free to be themselves and play with the photographer like they would play with their friends or an older sibling?
I think in answering that question he has now created a completely new take on how child photography should be done. It's full of life, careless abandon and natural joy.
He is now launching a teaching side to the business where he wants to teach Mums how to take professional-looking photos of their kids.
I told you this story to illustrate my point that reputation does not begin with a desire to have a reputation. It begins with you:
Don't even attempt this if you honestly don't care about anything - apart from making money. The Internet and social media are becoming increasingly hostile to people who don't stand for anything and pretend that they do.
Well, what do you care about?
If your current job completely out of alignment with your passions and interests and is something you do just for money, that's fine.
But when are you going to launch that side project which might one day become your dream job?
And if you are in an industry you like, are you standing up, thinking outside the box, contributing beyond what's required - just because you can and you love doing it? Is it working? Why not? What can you do about it?
And, finally, let me ask you this - if you won $1billion dollars tomorrow, what would you do with yourself for the rest of your life?
Sure, you'd spend a while spending and splurging like crazy, but then what? You can't buy yourself fulfilment - so where would you find it?
The answer to that question will lead you towards discovering the point from which everything else in your career must stem from.
Irene Kotov helps senior executives get jobs in exciting companies. Through her resume writing services, social profile campaigns and interview coaching she helps people stand head and shoulders above their competition. You can catch up with her on Google+.
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