What is a social CV?
More a living, breathing and constantly evolving mass of energy, inspiration and ambition than two pages of A4 paper, the social CV (or social résumé, as it’s known in the US) is a label for your online presence in the context of your job search and career goals.
Examples of social CV content include your LinkedIn profile, your blog, if you have one, and your use of sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram. Recruiters can view your activities on these sites and, even better, see your interaction with others, enabling them to build a real-time picture of your personality, qualifications, experience, aspirations and views.
“Your paper résumé is what you did but your social résumé is who you are.” — Chris Russell, Founder of CareerCloud.
If you have an active presence on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, You Tube and other social platforms, then you already have a social CV. Recruiters are likely to be playing detective and checking out your social media accounts already, either manually by hand or by leveraging the power of people aggregators.
At this stage, you may be thinking, ‘Well, if I already have one, then surely I don’t need to do anything further?’ and I can see why you may have reached that conclusion, however, there’s a bit more to the social CV. I’ll explain.
How can you present a social CV that you are proud for recruiters to see?
Presenting yourself in the best possible light all starts with defining how you want to be seen, then working towards that goal with every thought, every word, every deed.
Ideally, your social CV needs to reflect your career goals and ambitions, making it very obvious to recruiters who you are, what your skills are and how you are using and intend to use those skills in the context of your career. However, without a clearly defined target and conscious plan to reach your goal, your blogs, tweets, posts, updates, likes, mentions, retweets and shares are likely to be a bit haphazard, certainly not providing a coherent picture of your preferred direction.
On the other hand, if you have a clearly defined goal at the front and foremost part of your mind (or on a sticky note beside your keyboard), then you are more likely to curate, comment on and share content which reflects your career goals. Harnessed in the right way, your social CV can represent a personal branding tool, enabling you to positon and market yourself effectively for a specific career target or opportunity.
Your social CV – going one stage further
Rather than leaving their social CV roaming free on the internet, some people prefer to round it all up in one central place. This can be achieved in a number of ways.
Sites such as CareerCloud enable candidates to collate a social résumé, a homepage which gives an up-to-date overview of all of their social accounts. Users of CareerCloud are given a unique page URL, which can be shared with recruiters to provide an instant snapshot of who you are, and easy access to the major social sites you regularly use. This free resource is definitely worth exploring if you have a proactive presence on social media which supports your career goals.
You could also take the step of registering and owning your own vanity domain name. These personal domain names are increasing in popularity, with jobseekers using the sites to showcase their CV, share a carefully curated professional portfolio, videos, podcasts, blogs and more. These sites also usually link to social media platforms which the jobseeker is using and is keen to share with any interested recruiters. Examples of domains used for this purpose include .me and .social.
If you do go down the road of rounding up your social content in this way, you may as well share it with the world at large. You can achieve this by including the URL on your email signature and on your CV, sharing it on social media and even embedding a link to the site across other platforms where recruiters may come across you.
Pros and cons of the social CV/social résumé
Providing that you are active on social media, your social CV will be constantly evolving, capturing what you are saying and doing online, here and now, without you having to update it.
Your social CV enables recruiters to quickly understand who you are and gain a real-time insight into your personality, interests, beliefs and motivations.
Your social CV gives the recruiter vital information you may not have included on your real CV.
Your social CV creates forward momentum by showing your skills in action, enabling the recruiter to see how you could apply them in the context of a specific role or organisation.
Your social CV is readily accessible to any recruiters checking you out, regardless of where they are in the world.
A well-curated and conscious social CV can show you as tech-savvy, innovative and proactive in your career activities.
Your social CV cuts down on the legwork for recruiters researching you online.
Your social CV enables you to build and promote your personal brand online.
A centralised version of your social CV allows recruiters to easily link and follow you across various social media sites.
Knowing about your social CV makes you conscious of every social media interaction, knowing that what you share online is likely to be seen.
If you are inactive on social media, your social CV may capture what you were doing, what you were saying and what your focus was then, rather than now.
If you are the ‘wear your heart on your sleeve’ type, your social media activities may be giving away more than you – or the recruiter – bargained for.
Without a conscious plan, your social CV may contradict or confuse information you are presenting on your real CV.
If you are proactively leveraging social media in your job search, recruiters may be able to see who you are engaging with and which other opportunities you are pursuing.
The bottom line is to make sure your social media presence is presentable. You are basically on a player on the worldwide stage and everyone can see you. Strive to be a paragon and avoid social media activities that will make you a pariah in the recruiter’s eye.