How to Stand Out from the Crowd and Still Use a Résumé

A lot is being written lately about the résumé being dead. It makes sense: the idea that everything we are and everything we can be should be reduced to a single piece of paper feels archaic. And because we increasingly leave digital breadcrumbs all over the Web that add up to a lot of evidence of our life's work and achievements, the 1-dimensional résumé just isn't up to the task of representing a person's qualifications in the 21st Century.

Seth Godin, one of the leading thinkers on society's transition to all things digital, once wrote:

Having a resume begs for you to go into that big machine that looks for relevant keywords, and begs for you to get a job as a cog in a giant machine...

And who wants to be positioned as just another cog in just another giant machine? Still, most employers want to see a traditional résumé from job seekers applying for work. The tradition is too ingrained and only a small number of companies are experimenting with alternative forms job-applicant vetting. That doesn't mean, however, that there aren't steps you can take to brand yourself, stand out from the crowd and give yourself an edge.

For instance, creating a personal blog or website is a great way to give yourself some Internet cred and to telegraph to potential employers that you're a "Web 2.0" sort of person. But not everyone has the skills, ability or time to create something as complex as a stand-alone Web site, and personal blogs or Tumblr accounts often contain posts that may not be what you want to feature in a job application.

Creating a portfolio can help you do all three things at once: stand out from the crowd, present a traditional résumé, and create a personal Web site for yourself. When you create a Pathbrite Portfolio, for instance, you can add your traditional résumé as your first artifact and choose to make it the cover image for your entire portfolio so it's the first thing an evaluator sees. You can also add all the other "digital breadcrumbs" that show what you've done in your career or life -- things like PowerPoint presentations, or spreadsheets, or a video of a talk you gave, or photos of you volunteering in your community -- anything, really, that helps to fill out your biography and differentiate yourself from everyone else. You can also feature digital copies of credentials, certificates, transcripts, diplomas or even Khan Academy badges to highlight your unique qualifications.

Once you hit the "Publish" button in Pathbrite, you'll get a custom URL for your portfolio, which you can use as a Web site address. When applying for jobs online, you can use your URL in the "personal website" field of most systems, and you can also provide the link in an email to folks you're hoping to network with. Also, if you choose to share your portfolio across your social networks (which you can do automatically via Pathbrite), that same URL is shortened so that you can ask your friends to share it across their networks to help broaden your reach and make your networking efforts that much more effective.

While the traditional résumé isn't dead quite yet, there are ways for you to present your qualifications in more a 21st-century way and that will help to differentiate you from everyone else. Pathbrite Portfolios can get you there.