Using and with your Resume and Cover Letter

October 1, 2009

The Resume Micro-Site blog concept allows for some nice opportunities to expand on your best stories without worrying about making your cover letter or your resume into a 6 page monster.

If your are able to email your resume and cover letter (i.e. responding to a Craigslist job post for example), this can be pretty easy. Here is the strategy:

Create your resume Micro-blog site to include some blog posts with detail on what the challenge was, how you stepped up to the challenge, and the results of your action. The whole story would be way too much detail for a resume or cover letter.  Writing out the story is good practice. Read it out load to yourself. If you get an interview, this is one of the stories you are going to want to tell. In a cover letter or resume, when you briefly describe in a short sentence your accomplishment, use the key words of the accomplishment to link to your blog post with this story.  Now, instead of pasting in the direct URL to the post, create a spreadsheet with the topic title, the actual link to the blog post, a shortened link, and a shortened link. Why these two? With both and you can log in and see how many times your links have been clicked.

For me, all of this is a work in progress so I’m not going to direct you to some examples I’m working on which would contaminate the statistics I’m hoping to measure. For example, on one of these sites I create, I only want to measure the hits from the HR department and hiring decision makers and influencers. In fact, you may want to set up your micro-site blog resume to ‘not be found’ be search engines. I have. If you do it this way, when you look at your site statistics, links to your site will likely only be coming from the links you included in your resume or cover letter. You can then see which of the links are getting some interest (how many times was the URL clicked).

When you get into HR web systems that don’t allow attachments, you will want to go back and add the or short URLs next too each of you “job or experience highlights”.

Note:  Just as you may need to tailor your resume and cover letter to specifically target a job, you may want to create several versions of your resume micro-site blog. In WordPress, it is pretty easy to export and import your blog to create more than one site. Also, remember that your last posts end up at the top and the first post you enter ends up at the bottom (unless you make a post sticky).

Test all links before sending/submitting.


Resume Micro-Site

September 25, 2009

Prior to creating my YouTube Resume with Navigation, I had done an experiment with creating a cover letter type introduction as a WordPress blog. This  introduction micro-site strategy has these advantages:

1. It is different from other traditional cover letters and allows showing my creative side.
2. It establishes that I’m skilled at blogging tools.
3. It shows an extra effort was made for this particular company and/or job
4. In my cases, it demonstrates skills applicable to the position I am applying for.
5. ANALYTICS ! I can look at my blog statistics and actually get an idea if my resume and cover letter are being circulated and viewed. I can even see number of views per day. If I have links to other sites or materials, I can see if these links are clicked.

In WordPress, there is an import and export tool. This can make it a little bit quicker to set up a site. Also, sites are free. I can set up a site for a particular company or for a particular job I’m interested in. I did not need to register a domain name. Blogger and Typepad are other popular blogging platforms you could also use. would let you set up a more complicated site structure. The idea is to do one quickly, perhaps in just a little more time than it would take you to construct a very focused and well thought out cover letter.

Although this site did not get me an interview with Cisco, here is an example of a Vblog Introduction micro-site I set up when applying for a Cisco Flip Product Marketing position:

Since this concept is experimental, I can explore different formats … perhaps create one with a single elevator pitch video intro and create a more text-based blog posts pertaining to my strengths in different areas specific to the job position. In the above example, since the job related to marketing a video-related product, I did the entire introduction in a video blog (vblog) format. In future resume micro-sites I create, I will use more text. Text is easier to scan.

A ‘Landing Page’ for your Personal Brand

September 21, 2009

Before you begin marketing yourself with Social Media, you must first have something tangible to market. A good way to start is by creating a blog.  A blog can serve as your landing page. A blog is a great way to establish some authority and influence in a specific area of expertise or focus. A blog can be used to establish your personal brand. In fact, in a future post I will talk about micro-site landing pages … pages designed specifically to match your landing page view to a very specific job, much as you would craft a cover letter. But before we go there, lets start first with your ‘Personal Brand’.

If you search on the exact phrase “Personal Brand” in Google, Bing, or other search tools, there are over 500,000 web pages with this exact phrase. I’m going to direct you to a friend of mine’s blog.  Jeffrey Blake offers a very long list of tips and considerations for building a Personal Branding Landing Page. I’m going to comment on his 1st point which is:

“It should deliver a simple message and not try to do everything.  This is the difference between being a jack of all trades and a branded specialist.”

Simple Message

If you’ve been to a resume writing or networking workshop (or read equivalent books), there is a lot of focus on your “3o second pitch”. Now, I’m not suggesting that your landing page be that 30 second pitch exactly, but your landing page should have a  simple focus that contains some words or phrases in your 30 second pitch and links to other blog topics, blog categories or other secondary focus topic pages that further explain them.  You want to keep it simple and not overwhelm the reader with 1500 words or more of all your job experience, skills, and life story. You want them to be curious enough to click on another link or two. So if you look at Jeffrey’s landing page, there is simplicity and focus here that establishes a view of his personal brand. Like a 30 second pitch, you quickly get a sense of who he is and his area’s of expertise. It reflects some of the key words and phrases he used when he introduced himself to me at a technology meetup event last December. And there are enticing links to investigate. Why is there a hammer on the landing page and what exactly  is this “Brand Hammer” link over to the left?

There is no specific format for a landing page that will work for everyone. Many readers here who are not inclined to create a blog might simply use their LinkedIn profile as their landing page for their personal brand. There are several possible approaches should you want to use a blog platform for your landing page. If your landing page is your blog, you can create a “static post” that always appears at the top (keep it short), or you could create an “About <your name here>” bio page.  In my case, I wanted to showcase the unique YouTube video resume with navigation I created that is probably more ‘buzz worthy’ for the technique used than the actual resume content in  my YouTube video. Since I wanted a place where someone could download my resume, I created this blog. I did not follow the very rules I’m suggesting here. Maybe I should change my own landing page?My landing page is as experimental as my YouTube Video resume. If it does not deliver the desired result, I will go back and change it.

Jack of all Trades?

Maybe you have many skills and experiences and do consider your self a “jack of all trades”. If there is no specific job target that is cohesive and benefits from every one of these skills and experiences, I would not blog about all of them. If you are truly qualified for more than one  job position and these positions are not  ‘joined at the hip’ in purpose, you might consider creating two or more separate focused blogs  instead of one single blog that lacks focus. I’d recommend starting with one.

As an example, I might blog about topics related to both Product Marketing and Product Management. They are closely related. In both roles, I spent considerable time focus  refining the key messages about product benefits with my product team peers.  In both roles, I presented numerous times to customers in the Executive Briefing Center. In both roles, I listened to customers, tried to understand the problems that most vexed them, and either explained how my product could help alleviate or solve those problems, or took notes for new potential product features back for consideration for future product releases. I would probably not blog about my past experiences as Manager of a Technical Assistance Center or Manager of an Applications Services Team. I’m not actively targeting my job search to those two operations service manager roles.

Marketing ‘YouTube Resume with Navigation’ – Day 1

September 16, 2009

Any successful marketing effort has some kind of underlying marketing plan, even if it is a relatively simple plan. I did not simply publish my YouTube Resume and magically expect it to  spread virally. Consider that this resume is “a Product”. I recently read “The Purple Cow” by Seth Godin. Seth maintains that products need to be remarkable to be newsworthy. What is remarkable about the product here (My resume)?  It’s not my resume content that is remarkable. Many people have done similar jobs or have similar skills. The fact that it is a video resume isn’t remarkable. Many job seekers have by now created video resumes. The 2 things that are  “Remarkable”  about this particular resume are:

  1. This is the 1st YouTube Resume with Navigation Buttons in the YouTube Video
  2. The Navigation technique I developed and used here is in itself unique. It will be of interest to Social Media Marketing professionals and bloggers, not just HR folks and job seekers.

I’ve designed my day one marketing effort around point 1 above. My social media marketing strategy for Day 1 launch of my YouTube Resume with Navigation consisted of:

  1. Create a Blog-based Microsite
  2. Facebook
  3. LinkedIn contacts via “Ask a question”.
  4. Twitter
  5. Contact one influential blogger

I created a wordpress blog as I needed a “landing spot” for anyone who viewed my video resume and actually wanted to download my resume, interview or hire me. My 1st blog, Social Media Marketing in Music, resulted in a 50% increase in application downloads for a MySpace App called “Playlist Power” that my team built at Weekend Apps held at Google in February 09. So I am a firm believer that blogging needs to be part of a successful social media marketing strategy. A wordpress blog is sure easier than building a web page from scratch. I basically learned wordpress by starting a blog, using WordPress help, and searching for html tips when I wanted to try something a little more advanced. I also follow a few blogs about blogging in wordpress. One I like in particular is WebsiteInAWeekend by Dr WordPress.

I first posted news about my YouTube resume on facebook to see if any of my friends had problems viewing the video. I’d done extensive testing prior to posting, yet still, one of my friends caught a link that did not work in my blog (a last minute link I added after I completed 98% of my testing had a problem … probably the one link I had not tested).

Next I posted an update to LinkedIn, but I also used “ask a question” and contacted all my linkedin contacts in this way, both sharing the link and asking a legitimate question regarding best practices for gaining the attention of influential bloggers. This had a 2nd purpose as well, reminding all of my LinkedIn contacts that I’m still looking for work.

Late sunday night I tweeted “1st ever YouTube resume with “in-video’ navigation links & a unique “serial navigation” technique. It was retweeted once in the 1st 3 hours.

I have not been using twitter very long so my number of followers is still under 100. What I really needed was someone with a lot of followers and some measure of authority in the subject area of job seeking/networking to tweet my link. I decided to contact Jason Alba, the founder of JibberJobber. I’d seen Jason present at a workshop this past spring and it was at Jason’s talk I decided that I would start a blog about something and learn how to blog. I also remembered him saying “any time you write a blog post, tweet a link to your post … trust me … just do it”. I’d followed his advice and found about 1/3 of my blog readers were coming from twitter in my 1st blog. I also remember Jason saying that he took the time to repond to inquiries and questions and so I thought, why not contact Jason Alba ? Maybe he’d tweet something about my resume. Jason responded and tweeted “This is awesome-navigation inside a YouTube video- closest thing to video resume that I can like!“. He also continued the correspondence and asked If I’d like to write a guest blog about this.

1st day results:

  • YouTube plays = 201 (269 minus the 68 that I’d logged in testing prior to launch).
  • YouTube navigation uses = 100 (164 minus the 64 that I’d logged in testing prior to launch)
  • Day 1 Tweets and RTs (retweets) = 22
  • Blog visitors = 62
  • Hiring Inquiries = 0 ( I wasn’t really expecting any this quickly)

Note to self.  Contact Seth Godin and show him this post (day 2 or 3 marketing strategy).  Maybe my effort here would be worthy of a Seth Godin Blog post?