Forget Resumes, Focus on Ideas

penelope5Penelope Trunk thinks that most of the career tools out there don’t cut it in today’s world. Every job site or social network requires a resume that follows a traditional format, but many of us can’t make our resumes fit that format. We no longer spend years with one employer or even on one project, despite what most human resources managers might hope. Trunk summed up the situation: “Everyone who telecommutes has a weird resume.” Sites like LinkedIn don’t really provide a way to show off a web worker’s expertise and abilities — and the situation gets even worse if you’ve been freelancing.

The real value that employers need to be able to see is in a prospective hire’s ideas. That’s the focus of Brazen Careerist, Trunk’s startup. The site focuses primarily on Generation Y. Trunk points to generational differences as a motivating factor: “Generation Y is surprisingly hard to find and recruit online; Facebook doesn’t work as a professional tool.” Brazen Careerist offers a community that brings people together into a professional community, offering a level playing field for individuals with good ideas but lousy resumes, as well as access for employers.

The community and networking opportunities are at least as valuable as the opportunity for Brazen Careerist’s members to showcase their ideas and abilities. “You’re unemployable without a network,” says Trunk. She points to the fact that while Brazen Careerist started primarily as a blogging community, most members didn’t see as much value in developing traffic for their own blogs as in building connections. It is particularly important in the face of recruiters’ changing strategies. “The recruiting industry is now establishing relationships, so that they know people before a job opens,” she says.

Especially for web workers, Trunk recommends making connecting a priority. Just because you’re working online doesn’t mean that you don’t need to make personal connections. In fact, you may need to work at it even more. “Build flexibility,” says Trunk. “Become a part of the pipeline now, because you don’t know what the future will bring. A job hunt isn’t ‘I need a job now’ — it’s a safety net you build now, for when you’ll need it later.”

Trunk points out that connecting just for the sake of connecting won’t build the network you need. She says, “Social networking is about being kind,” suggesting that to build connections, a person should be looking for opportunities to help other people out. “Not everyone blogs or is a thought leader, but everyone can connect and be kind.”

Brazen Careerist just relaunched, focusing on career management. The site offers a way to aggregate ideas, letting users bring together blogs, Twitter, networking and other elements of their careers, which just don’t show up on a resume. The site also provides opportunities for recruiters looking to hire Generation Y employees. You can also find more information about Penelope Trunk on her blog.

Does your resume fit that traditional format?

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