The first job that I ever applied to in my life was at a newspaper startup.
I remember obsessing over my resume. I had zero work experience.
I was fifteen years old. What do you expect?
It was the classic chicken and egg problem. They wanted to see some level of work experience, and I needed a job before I could show them any work experience. I was in the middle of a real dilemma.
I had been helping a friend with his computer sales and repair business for a couple years, and he agreed to give me what they called a “work experience letter”.
It was official. I had two years of work experience!
In hindsight, he was just being a very nice friend. He really helped me. I’m not sure how much work I did for him though. I hope I added some value to his business. I just remember surfing the Internet all day at his computer repair shop.
Anyways, I got the job at the newspaper startup, and that was a pivotal step in my life.
Why is that story important?
It’s important because the world has changed since then, and it’s important to understand how it has changed.
Today, some kid looking for a job doesn’t need to take the path I took.
The traditional paper resume is dead.
If it isn’t completely dead, it will die — eventually.
Your resume is your blog, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. You name it. Everything you do online is your resume.
Let’s imagine you’ve been working at XYZ company for a few years. Something happens and you’re let go from your job.
If all you have to fall back on is a paper resume, you are in for a nasty surprise.
But, let’s say you have built a following on YouTube or Medium or any social media platform of your choice. Now, you have people following you. People listening to what you have to say. People who care about your thoughts.
You come back home after being let go from your job, and you write a blog post about it. Even better, you film a YouTube video and share your experience with your followers.
Within a matter of seconds, you have people all around the country if not all around the world watching your story. I’m pretty sure you won’t be without a job for more than a day, because some smart recruiter will find you and be more than happy to scoop you up.
I know some people reading this will say, Craig — I don’t have anything to say on social media. I don’t think people want to listen to me.
I’m sorry, but you’re wrong.
Let me ask you this — do you have friends whom you spend time with? Have they ever told you what you’re good at?
Everyone is good at something.
Are you a great cook? a designer? a teacher? a writer? a funny person? a musician? a singer? a songwriter? a therapist? You get the point.
Everyone has a story. Everyone has something they’re good at.
For me, I love building things. I love working with really smart people in the early stages of something. I also love people in general. I enjoy having deep conversations. Those are some things I like.
What is it that you absolutely love?
Figure out what you love and start pursuing it.
My Dad loves history. He’s a great storyteller. If my Dad started a blog where he wrote about history in his own words, I’m sure he could get a huge following.
My Dad is also a great businessman. He could start a blog where he talked about business and found a way to connect history and business wisdom. The possibilities are endless.
Now, convincing my dad to start a blog is another story. But, you see where I’m going with this?
Find what you’re good at and tell your story. Start sharing your thoughts. There will come a time when companies will not care about a paper resume. I know some companies still do, but that will change. It has to change. Your resume will only be as good as your last idea, your last project, and the last piece of content you published.
Think about it, do you want to be the person stuck with a paper resume or do you want to be someone who can chart their own course?