Resumes have their place and time, and it certainly doesn’t hurt to know how to put together an effective one. But in today’s day and age, with the increased accessibility to potential employers and creative channels, resumes are becoming less and less relevant.
Historically, the most important function of a resume has been to provide a snapshot of what an individual has achieved. Why does this have to be on a perfectly formatted piece of paper? Why can’t it be done with a video, a Vine, or gasp — a conversation?
Sure, resumes allow employers to weed through potential candidates and filter out the ones who don’t meet specific criteria, but that’s what cover letters and portfolios are for. Portfolios showcase one’s work, while cover letters let a candidate explain how their previous achievements transfer to the job they’re being considered for.
And yes, sorting through cover letters can be a daunting task — been there. That’s why those who can demonstrate their ability to get the job done in as few words and in the most creative way possible are going to stand out among the rest. You know the old saying, “actions speak louder than words”? It’s a tried and true saying for a reason, and it holds true for the job search.
Here are several examples of professionals who have landed dream jobs from social media, without a resume or traditional recruitment processes, including my own!
The Vine star
Aaron Chewning, Comedic Writer, Director and Performer
Last resume: “I put together a half-hearted sloppy resume my last month of college about five years ago. I never actually sent it anywhere though.”
How he found his passion: “After I graduated from college, I began doing corporate video on a contract basis. I knew I could do comedy and that I wanted to do comedy while I was doing corporate video, but it was hard to control what kind of jobs I was getting. I couldn’t just call people and say, ‘I have nothing to show you, but you should give me money to make funny content for you.’
“For me, social media was and is a great tool for showing off what you can do. I’ve tried to stay ahead of the curve on social media and stand out where I can. More and more people who reach out to me for comedic content mention the role Vine, Twitter, or Instagram played in them contacting me. My clients are all over the place and I love it. I work a lot with a few sports teams, news stations, churches/ministries, and leadership conferences.”
On securing work: “Now, they mostly come to me. The first few years of my career, I networked as much as I could. I volunteered on sets and took people I wanted to know out to lunch. A lot of my work now is from recurring clients and people they’ve recommended me to.”
Aaron’s anti-resume: “In 2013, I made a funny music video about the Atlanta Braves with the hope that they’d use it and that it’d lead to more work. I posted it on YouTube at 9 AM and they called at 10 AM saying they wanted to use it at the stadium on opening night. That led to several more projects and they’ve been one of my most consistent clients ever since.”
Resulted work: “My favorite gig to date was a music video for the Braves called Baselines. Watching it on the jumbotron as the Braves took the field at a sold out Turner Field for game one of the 2013 playoffs was a special moment for me.”
The PR pro
Jaclyn Lambert, Digital Content and Public Relations Strategist
Last resume: “I hit my first ‘dry spell’ with freelance work at the end of last year. I had always heard this was a thing, but had never experienced it before. I was scared, especially since my livelihood pretty much depends on these one-off assignments that clients regularly give me.
“I updated my resume to include my freelance experience. I then asked my clients to add testimonials to my LinkedIn profile, just to ensure that if someone saw my latest entry, they didn’t assume that ‘freelance’ was just code name for ‘unemployed.’
“I didn’t pass along my resume to too many companies, but I did talk to two different ones for potential full-time work. Everything fell through and I ended up getting more freelance work in the end (which I am grateful for!).”
Falling into freelance: “My first job outside of college was at a digital marketing firm, BlueGlass Interactive. I had worked there for seven months when my coworkers and I were laid off. When rumors began to fly that our US office was going out of business, people took to Twitter for the latest updates. Since BG was pretty well-known in the SEO community, I took that opportunity to tag the company name:
Talented, formal @blueglass employee available for hire! Blogger outreach specialist with experience in traditional media relations!
— Jaclyn Lambert (@JaclynLambert) April 15, 2013
Embarrassingly, I had a huge typo that I didn’t even notice until weeks later. Yup, I said formal instead of former. (But maybe that’s okay, because check out the first reply! 😉 ) Anyway, I was given full-time offers and part-time contractor opportunities. I went with the latter because the independence was attractive to me. And, I’m glad I went that route!”
On securing work: “I never wanted to admit that networking worked, mainly because I don’t like the idea of ‘using somebody’ to get ahead, but my friends in the industry have passed along so many opportunities to me!
“In fact, all the work I have now was referred by people who know me personally. And through these referrals, I’ve learned one important thing– potential clients are far more interested in examples of my work than they are in seeing my resume.”
Tips for getting by sans resume: “Gather a list of people who are fond of you. I’m talking about people you’ve worked with, went to school with, your mentors, etc. and make sure that they are connected with you on LinkedIn. Ask them for recommendations and be active in giving them back. (In fact, I recommend giving out recommendations first to incentivize them to follow through.) Let all these contacts know that you are available for hire.
“Also, keep your profile as robust and updated as possible and make sure you have the ‘looking for opportunities’ option displayed on your profile. Just from regularly updating my LinkedIn profile alone, I’ve received job multiple offers from recruiters just scouting profiles and looking for people with skills that match their needs.”
The sports writer
Josh Newberg, National College Football Writer for 24/7 Sports
Last resume: “The last time I updated my resume was my final semester in college, 10 years ago this spring. We had to take a two-hour credit course that prepared us for the real world. One of the things we had to do was prepare our resumes. I still have the saved file, but I never used it and still haven’t updated it.”
On securing work: “I secure jobs through networking. Sports media is a (relatively) small industry and there’s a lot of movement amongst writers from company to company. I’ve learned not to piss too many people off because there’s a good chance you’ll be working with them or along side them in the future.
“Over the last five weeks, I’ve been looking into where my career is headed and realized my contract was under a year. I reached out to people I knew at ESPN, Scout.com and Bleacher Report to let them know I might become available at the end of my contract.
“Within a few days, I spoke to higher-ups from all three companies. I ended up resigning with my current company, but floating my name out to peers in the industry is how I would have secured a new job, had I decided to leave.”
On leveraging social media: “My Twitter account is my resume. Not necessarily how many followers I have, but the fact that you can scroll in chronological order and see pretty much every story I’ve written since 2010. I honestly feel that my Twitter account is more important than my resume. In the sports journalism field, it’s about relevance. It’s about how many stories you break and how much traffic you can drive.
“In a way, the number of followers can be a negotiating tool in contract talks because it represents a built-in audience that will come with you if you move from one company to another.”
Tips for getting by sans resume: “From my perspective, I would say be relevant, let your work speak for itself on the internet or social media. Have a personality and be an expert in something.”
Lynn Abate-Johnson, Founder of People Forward, Biz Dev Consultant, Social Business Specialist
Last resume: “In late 2011, after I left a Silicon Valley internet startup, before I started my own Agency officially.”
On securing work: “Every.single.client has been secured via word of mouth. They come to me via referral from someone who knows both parties.”
The BEST gigs I’ve had (and I’ve had a ton) have been personal referrals where the company/client is already vetted for me by the mutual friend/referrer. Two of my favorite clients of all time share my same date of birth. Just a fun fact.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that I provide plenty of social proof as a brand. Social proof shows that you are who you say you are. After all, you are also who you associate with, on and off line. This is a timeless (“old-school”) adage that’s still true today.”
Tips for getting by sans resume: “Be the community-minded person you are ON and OFF line…get off your arse and get out to STP (See The People), in between work and family activities.
“Be sure your LinkedIn profile is completely detailed out, including plenty of recommendations from people who have worked with you.
“Participate in live-tweeting events and Tweet Chats as often as your schedule allows. It brings ‘chunks’ of relevant followers you can cultivate into valuable and long-term relationships. I have written several blog posts with stories about how business is personal…and must be social —> www.PeopleFW.com.”
I too secured my last two gigs without having to update or use my resume. Joining CloudPeeps was a bit different. I already knew and had worked with our CEO, Kate.
When CloudPeeps first launched, I served as a beta Peep, managing The Fetch’s community. Kate was also familiar with my content work since we were already connected on all the social media channels, and I am no stranger to tactful shameless self promotion. 😉 It also helped that culture fit was a non-issue, as we had clicked from the first day we met.
The point here is, it’s important to let your work speak for itself. Craft quality work and hustle it out to the people who will find it valuable, and the jobs will come to you. More importantly, build relationships. Make yourself available to people and learn how you can help them. People want to invest time in those with a lot of potential. Always ask yourself if you’re demonstrating your potential on a day-to-day basis.
Ready to get your hustle on without updating your resume? Check out the freelance opportunities in marketing, community, PR, and content on CloudPeeps!
Latest posts by Shannon Byrne (see all)
- How to overcome the most common challenges as a freelancer - November 8, 2016
- A freelancer’s guide to liability insurance - November 1, 2016
- How to have more fun freelancing - October 4, 2016