This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business.
Even small business owners need a resume. It serves to provide a summary of professional experience and isn’t just used for job searching. Many times, a resume can serve as a way to land a piece of business, speaking gig or board position. So it’s important to always have a resume that’s ready to go on a moment’s notice.
Penelope Trunk, chief evangelist and co-founder of Brazen Careerist, a career management tool for young professionals, points out that “a traditional resume is necessarily linear. But careers today are nonlinear.
“People often do more than one job at once, people often learn more in between jobs than during a job,” Trunk said. “Therefore, a resume based on ideas and conversations is a more accurate representation of today’s worker than a resume based on linear histories.”
Today’s business owners are involved in much more than running the business. So in addition to the traditional paper resume, there are some other ways to convey a summary of your experience and knowledge. Depending on your situation, you might want to explore one or all of the following options, including video resumes, VisualCVs, social resumes and LinkedIn profiles.
1. Video Resumes
Video resumes have recently emerged as a new option. Making a value-added video can be tricky business — it’s important to ensure the finished product conveys the right message about you as a professional. A video resume could be a part of an overall portfolio management strategy; however, having a video resume does not cancel out other options. In fact, a video resume can act to enhance your online presence in the likely case that a potential customer is searching for your information across the web.
Laurie Ruettimann, founder of Voice of HR, whose mission is to facilitate active and meaningful dialogue in the HR industry via new media services, compares resume strategy to investments. “Just as investors diversify their investments, individuals must diversify their approach to finding and communicating with potential opportunities.”
Consider adding a video resume to your current professional profiles, but make sure the production quality is up to par and that it accurately portrays your professional experiences and goals.
2. The VisualCV
If you have a lot of work in the digital space, a VisualCV might be an option. This format allows you to pull all types of interactive content into a traditional resume format with additional links to blog posts, Twitter accounts, videos, presentations and so on. You can also add charts and graphs to enhance the look. It serves as a great digital portfolio and can really dress up the traditional resume.
Kris Dunn, a human resources blogger, has used VisualCVs in the past. He recommends them “when two conditions are present: 1) The target company is progressive enough to handle it, and 2) The individual has a great deal of online content that can be referenced within the VisualCV format. Check out Dunn’s VisualCV for a look at what’s possible.
3. The Social Resume
When an explanation of your capabilities is more useful information than your previous experience, a social resume is a dynamic way to convey how you think and communicate by capturing your online conversations. While they might share some of the qualities of a VisualCV, the content in social resumes focuses more on the here and now compared to traditional resumes, which tell people where you have been in the past.
Social resumes can reveal your potential, Trunk says. “Today, 90% of people’s communication is via social media and only 10% is via e-mail. A social resume is a way to show people what you’re doing that is independent of what you are paid to do,” she says. “We should not limit our potential by what someone has chosen to pay us to do. We should limit our potential by what we can think to do.”
4. Your LinkedIn Profile
If you want to give others a three-dimensional view, providing a LinkedIn URL offers quick, direct access to an individual’s ever-expanding professional network of connections and involvement.
Lori Hedrick, vice president of human resources at Marcus Thomas, a full-service, integrated advertising and public relations agency with a focus on audience insights and idea generation, suggests just using your LinkedIn profile instead of a paper resume.
“Overall, it provides the same format as a resume, yet it’s much more powerful and much more efficient. It shows contacts, recommendations and groups — even books you’re currently enjoying — and all in real time. And [it] provides a thoughtful, truthful and smart summary of our credentials, as opposed to time spent finding the perfect font, format and layout. Not to mention, it’s easy to both update and share with others.”
Technology and new opportunities provide a number of ways to present your resume. At one time, the only method was via a paper resume, though they’re obviously still out there and used quite often. While it might be good to maintain the traditional format, some of these other options can also make sense. If you do need to provide a traditional resume, be sure to keep it up to date and make sure you can access it quickly by keeping a copy on your favorite file storage app (like GoDocs, Dropbox or Box.net).
Whether you’re looking to enhance your presence in the business community or hiring new staff, there are more options than just the traditional paper resume. And when it comes to evaluating resumes, Ruettimann offers some great advice for everyone: “Resumes of any kind – video, paper, written in the sky by a plane – are a snapshot into a person’s abilities. Be sold on a person’s skills. Don’t be swayed by the style in which those skills are communicated.