Remember back in the day when job seekers used to labor over their resumes, trying valiantly to impress their prospective employers within the narrow boundaries of a pristine, personality-free, humor-less, vanilla piece of letterhead paper?
Thank goodness those days have come to an end. Seth Godin asks the question-- Why bother having a resume when there are so many more creative and potent ways of showing someone you want to work with what you're made of, who you are, and what brilliance you're capable of?
After all, don't we want to know/show more than just dates of employment and job descriptions? Yawn!
The resume is dead. If you want to truly get that client, that job, that project, you need to step out of the box and market yourself and your abilities in a more creative way.
Torch your resume or anything you have on your website that looks like a resume. Stop being ordinary and get to work on these drop dead impressive personal marketing tactics:
1) Create a blog that is so captivating, so ingenious, so clever, so compelling and so insightful that your potential clients feel a thrill of anticipation at the thought of meeting the person behind the blog. For anyone who works on the internet (and even for those who don't) I cannot stress the power of a great blog enough. Not only will it impress potential clients, but it may turn people who stumble upon your blog into fans, and you never know what random readers will stop by. They may be influential people in your niche, or journalists, or people who know other people who might be great clients for you.
Client interest, colleagues wanting to collaborate on projects, media wanting to share your story--This happens all the time for bloggers. When you are looking for your next client, customer, project, or employer would you like to refer them to your spectacular blog, or send them a bland email with your dates of previous work?
2) Get extraordinary testimonials from people that your potential client/customer/employer knows or respects. Do you think that would catch someone's attention? Oh yeah, no doubt.
3) Share a sophisticated project that you've worked on that they can see and touch. Something tangible, something that you're proud of, something that at a glance would give the potential client/customer/employer an idea of what greatness you're capable of at a glance.
4) Develop a stellar reputation that precedes you. On the internet, a great blog goes a long way towards accomplishing this task. Bloggers sometimes get written up in traditional media, which also helps build a solid reputation. Also, great customer service is priceless. When people receive exceptional customer service they rave to other people about it. A potential client/customer/employer who sees your name and thinks--"Ahh, someone told me about them. I've heard such great things!" will be much more likely to want to work with you.
5) Get inside your potential client's/customer's head. What sorts of services do you offer that could make his life easier and his business stronger? Write a personal letter letting them know that you understand what their business is about, what their needs are, and how you can satisfy those needs. Believe me, showing someone that you understand what he wants and needs and painting a detailed picture of how you can satisfy every one of those needs is downright memorable.
This is all marketing folks. It's a bright and shiny brave new world now. Those of us who want to step out of the pack will want to communicate and market ourselves and our businesses in living color, with personal, insightful, memorable, more creative forms of communication. At the very, very least, create a blog, then work on the other areas. As Seth says,
Great jobs, world class jobs, jobs people kill for... those jobs don't get filled by people emailing in resumes. Ever.