Let me pull back the curtain for a second.

Do you know what happens when you send in your resumé? It usually goes to a stock company email that someone checks when they feel like it. The person checking it is busy, and nine times out of 10 gives it a two second glance before tabbing back over to Facebook and being distracted by a video of a cat falling into a swimming pool. 

The next day, when you call and ask if anyone looked at your resumé, the person says, "Shhh, tell them I'm not here. Tell them I'm in a meeting," to which the intern fielding your call says, "I'm sorry, but our staff manager is currently in a very important meeting." That staff manager is on Facebook. Or Instagram. Probably Instagram.

You call back three days later: "Hi, I just wanted to follow up..."

Someone finally looks at your resumé. They see you were a camp counselor for two years. They see you had an internship with Legacy Digital Advertising Worldwide (I made that up) doing "highly intensive client facing social interactive marketing," which really is just a fancy way of saying you sat in the room while two people who know nothing about Facebook advertising bought into the idea of your company handling their Facebook advertising. 

You hope they call you back. You wonder if you'll get the job.

Let's just be blunt about it: The resumé is dying.

Getting someone to even read a resumé in the Age of ADD is an achievement.

Having a resumé worth reading in the first place is even more challenging.

But the truth is, most places don't care about what you've done in the past.

They care about what you're doing.

They care about your personal brand.

The resumé is dead. What you need is a personal brand.

I am the biggest advocate for personal branding. Back when I was 17 years old, way before blogging on the Internet was an acceptable profession, I learned the value of being a thought leader. At the time, my niche was gaming-- and I had more readers on my gaming blog than most professional columnists. 

Everyone told me I should spend more time "beefing up my resumé."

My parents told me I should get a job scooping ice cream for minimum wage, because I could "put that on my resumé."

But I knew it wasn't going to matter. Where I wanted to go, and what I wanted to do, was entirely based on me proving my thought leadership within that industry.

Stop thinking about doing things for the sake of putting them on your resumé, and start doing things that actually matter to you.

Nowadays, people want to see your ability to go after things on your own. If you are a thought leader, and you build a following, that says ten times more than any resumé could--and is living, breathing proof that you actively practice what you preach.

I help people develop their personal brands, and it is astounding to me how overlooked this is in an age where anyone can have a website, anyone can have a blog, anyone can create their own social media presence, anyone can create their own products, and anyone can make money--from anywhere in the world. 

How does having a personal brand set you apart?

Let's say you want to get a job in digital marketing. Maybe you want to work for one of those big, alluring advertising agencies (and role-play Mad Men during lunch). 

Who do you think they are more likely to hire?

The person whose resumé says "Highly skilled in digital marketing," or the person whose resumé is a link to a full-blown website, a blog populated with content, email subscription offers, free downloads, and, should the venturing reader put in their email address, a barrage of automated emails delivering value to the reader--maybe teaching them about new trends in digital marketing?

I would instantly hire the second person. 

And so would you.

What's mind-blowing is how everyone knows this, everyone sees the cataclysmic difference between these two candidates, and yet people want to sit back, relax, and "wish" things were different.

Newsflash: 10 years from now, I'm willing to bet resumés are a thing of the past. You either have a digital presence and a personal brand, and that is your living, breathing resumé, or you are going to work a job you really don't like.

It's already happening.

PS -- It just so happens there is a book already out called The Resumé Is Dead, by Nelson Wang. Check it out! 

Published on: Jul 26, 2016