Reputation 3.0: The Internet Is Your Resume

Resumes are quickly becoming a thing of the past, says executive job search consultant Debra Feldman. “Before anyone asks to see your resume,” she says, “they’ll undoubtedly have checked you out on the web. What others say, true and false, is visible 24/7.” The resume you create becomes almost irrelevant; a Google search of your name is essentially the resume the world has created for you.

“Anything about us can be broadcast without our knowledge or permission, forever affecting our reputation,” she says. Sometimes you may find negative or incorrect information, but in this digital era, Feldman says it’s actually worse if there’s nothing about you online. “If the search inquiry doesn’t find you, there’s a void like you don’t exist. Your credibility suffers. You’ll never know that you were eliminated [from consideration for a position], or what chances you’ve missed…Anonymity and mistaken identity are the biggest threats to your reputation.”

Feldman, whom I profiled in my book Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future, says the antidote is to consider your Internet search results as “a perpetual resume – a dynamic record of achievements, affiliations and ideas.” In order to take control of your online reputation, Feldman says all professionals should “actively participate on the social networks where your market will notice you” and position yourself as an expert by publishing and contributing relevant, high-quality content.

Essentially, says Feldman, your social media efforts are a type of global networking strategy. “No longer can you plan on internal promotions for career progress. You must manage your own path and that’s best done through connections. Virtual ties can be as influential as in person relationships,” she says. She recommends using social media as an easy way to keep ties alive with former co-workers and extended members of your network. “Maintaining existing relationships while cultivating new, targeted contacts keeps you on the radar screen of decision makers so that you continuously hear about opportunities,” she says. “You don’t want to have to start a new job search from zero when you either want or need to make a change. It’s better to have a strong network before you need their help.”

Here are Feldman’s tips for building a strong social presence and creating your own online “resume.”

  • Positioning: differentiate yourself from the competition
  • Distinguish yourself as a trustworthy expert within a niche market(s)
  • Identify the target markets or employers you’d like to focus on
  • Describe the unique contribution you can make in each target area
  • Prepare and publish examples demonstrating your expertise across all media channels
  • Direct your social and in-person networking towards attracting decision makers
  • Evaluate your current online persona and compare it to how you’d ideally like to be perceived
  • Establish social networking accounts, create profiles, and start participating
  • Prioritize your social networking activities to generate the best ROI for your career goals
  • Set up mechanisms to regularly monitor your reputation and address any negative or incorrect information

The good news is your resume is no longer all that represents you to an employer. The bad news is that the entire online world is now your CV, writ large. So how are you building your resume…in the post-resume era?

This post originally appeared on the Forbes website on July 19, 2013.

Dorie Clark is CEO of Clark Strategic Communications and the author of Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future (Harvard Business Review Press, 2013). She is a strategy consultant who has worked with clients including Google, Yale University, and the Ford Foundation. Listen to her podcasts or follow her on Twitter.