LinkedIn Replaced The Resume; or 21st Century Relevance

Posted on February 23, 2009

I’ve embraced the reality more and more that LinkedIn has replaced the resume. This post on Slashdot convinced me that its worth saying publicly.

For what its worth, I don’t like LinkedIn. It limits the data that you can present thus causing a lot of what would be on a resume out. Such things include an inventory of skills, various extra work accomplishments, publications, and the like. Its a little too focused on job history and education. But I admit that I also never finished my degree, when the “bubble” started in 1998 and I was in school just 50 miles north of Silicon Valley I wondered what happened to those who stayed in school during the rise of other past revolutions… I dropped out and road the wave of progress. A fact easily omitted from a resume but less so with sites such as LinkedIn which consider my profile eternally 90% complete.

LinkedIn did for resumes what Google did for physical reference material… sure, you could sift through your pile of notes, but face it, searching google is easier and faster. So it is with people, if you find an applicant, I think many people are more likely to look them up on LinkedIn or google their name than read their resume.

Is the resume dead? No, its still handy in interviews… but it ends there I think.

That brings us to the big point…. if you don’t have an online presence I don’t think your relevant in the 21st century. We live in the Internet age. If your in the IT Industry and your name doesn’t return valid results from Google you are simply irrelevant. You’re not participating. You’re not engaging. You’re not leveraging mailing lists and the external community. And that is a bad sign indeed.

I won’t go so far as to say you need to have a blog or website, but I think it shows that you take your profession seriously. It certainly helps.

I’ve always been amazed that several “big names” in the SA world are void. I tried to dig up information on the heads of SAGE and LOPSA… not much. What that says to me is that these people big wigs in certain select circles. They have earned names and respect for themselves, but not for anyone to see, just those that matter. And who is that? I don’t mean to pick on people involved with LOPSA and SAGE, there are lots in this camp, but they struck me as odd given their position.

Knowledge and experience are things best when shared. I’m a Christian and an Free Software advocate. I believe that you should love your neighbor and there shouldn’t be a price tag on it. Share the love… and share it as widely as you can, in whatever way you’ve been gifted to do so.

When it comes to pragmatic job hunting… if I’ve got two potential candidates, one has a blog and is actively participating in the community (whatever community or committees those are) and another who has no presence on the net, which do you think I should choose?

There are only two reasons to hide. The first is fear of failure. Well, you can’t succeed if you don’t try. The second then is privacy… well, sorry, in the age of social networking staying under the radar is essentially impossible, and so if your actively avoiding it, your just starting to look dusty. As a commenter on the Slashdot thread rightly pointed out, the phone book invades your privacy more than Twitter or LinkedIn. Sure, you may know that I’m getting coffee right now or that I worked at MCI Systemhouse, but at least you don’t have my phone number or address.