Southworth 24-lb. Fine Parchment Paper, Letter, Gold

If you had printed your resume on this elegant evolution of papyrus twenty years ago you would have stood out.  That 11 cent investment and a 29 cent Lunar New Year of the Rooster postage stamp would have put your application for employment at the top of the heap.

Flash forward to today and there is no heap of applications to climb but a steady stream of electronically submitted applicant data to emerge through.  If you have managed to attract the recruiting eye with your resume for longer than six seconds, consider yourself fortunate.

Out with the old and in with the new.  Although recruiters spend a short amount of time on reviewing resumes, they have been taking the time to scour the web, social networking profiles, and browser search engines to find out more about candidates.  In fact, 65 percent of social media reviews were conducted to determine a candidate’s professional presentation.

With rising costs associated with resume fraud, equating to $4,500 per employee, hiring personnel are doing their due diligence to ensure candidate credibility.  The web, regardless of its accurate portrayal, is the first go-to for validation.

Remember the party a number of years ago and that picture of you at the bottom of the ice luge with the thumbs up salute?  Ok, maybe that was me… but I think we can all relate.  This is one of those memories you do not need reinforced via social media.  Flash forward again to the present day and it is time to use technology, social media, and multimedia to your advantage.  It is time to take ownership of who you are as a professional, innovator, and person via an appropriate form of communication.

The Online Career Portfolio

A tool that is gaining traction to communicate academic, professional, and interpersonal skills is the online career portfolio.  Convincingly, 98% of employers strongly agree career portfolios are useful for validating candidate skills, while 88% indicated interest in using an online portfolio system.  Hard copy career portfolios or brag books have been commonly used in marketing and sales professions in the past and with advances in broadband speed have picked up steam online to a more diverse group of professional specialties.

The best way to command ownership of the job search process is to beat hiring personnel to the punch by providing them with multimedia content before they ask.  Such multimedia content includes video introductions, examples of work, achievements, extracurricular activities, and references.  The person who demonstrates a fastidious approach to effective communication will stand out amongst the crowd.  There are free online services available, such as Bragbook Multimedia’s offering, that allow users to upload, store, and sort rich multimedia content in an online profile and seamlessly share this content with hiring personnel.

Going the Extra Mile

One of the sometimes overlooked benefits of the career portfolio is the processes contribution to candidate development and the impression of work ethic.  When I was first presented with the task of creating a brag book, I had to look far and wide for content to fill my hard copy binder.  Emerging from the exercise was Xeroxed varsity letters, certificates with crumpled edges, and last minute reference letters.  While a last minute bragbook did not prevent my employment with the firm, it certainly didn’t help.  I made a conscious effort moving forward to save any positive professional and personal experience to include in my brag book for the next opportunity.  As I built my portfolio, I had a large resource of materials to validate my experiences and skill sets, and the effort it took to build was quickly recognized by those I interviewed with.

The Multimedia Advantage

When asked which attributes most differentiated candidates from one another, 57 percent named personality fit with the company as a strong factor.  An additional advantage of an online portfolio is the ability to upload multimedia content that encompasses your professional and personal activities, bringing personality front and center.  It has been my experience that employees excel the most when they are surrounded by like-minded persons.  Technology has now created a forum where candidates can express personality to hiring personnel.  The use of this technology will lead to job satisfaction, upward mobility, and long term retainment, which is a winning combination for both the candidate and employer.