Burn Your Resume: Alternative Strategies to Get Your Dream Job

A dream job usually isn’t something conventional. Nor should your approach to getting hired. Have you ever thought of the whole resume process?  You spend many hours, and in some cases many dollars, creating – fabricating – a document for that your potential employer is going to probably dedicate less than 30 seconds to reading it.  Sure, there are going to be some occasions where they will read the whole resume because they are hoping to find that you have listed your hobbies, and you share a love of butterfly collecting.  But a happy coincident like that is a tad rare.

Does a resume truly reflect what you have accomplished in your previous jobs?  Are the skills listed on your resume a reflection of what you actually know, or are they just what you have heard of?

“Resume: a written exaggeration of only the good things a person has done in the past, as well as a wish list of the qualities a person would like to have.” – Bo Bennett

Maybe today is the day to burn your resume.

Okay…before you break out your matches, let’s just make sure you have a few things in place to achieve this goal.  You have many tools available to you that can help you present a better example of who you are, what you know how to do, and most importantly, why you are worth what you want to be paid.


If you are a professional of any kind you should must have a LinkedIn profile (as we’ve mentioned here recently).  This profile is not the same as your Facebook or Twitter profile.  This is the place to show the professionalism, experience, and accomplishments that you have had in your past.  This is where you can keep in contact with others in your current industry, or the industry that you want to be in, to engage in relevant conversations, building networks, and making a name for yourself.

At a bare minimum, your LinkedIn profile needs to be completed fully.  Your profile should have accurate descriptions of your responsibilities, a few solid examples of projects that you were a part of, and a minimum of three professional references.

Online Portfolio

You don’t need to be an artist or a writer to have a portfolio.  If you work in an office, do a white paper on a few projects that you are proud to have worked on.  If you are self employed, get a few testimonials from your clients.  If you are in administration, provide some examples of how you have saved your company money through your own initiatives.  I bet you do at least one project a week that you are proud of.  Take a moment to find a way to share that with your future employers.

There are many ways to share your portfolio online.  If you already have a blog or website, add a page to host your portfolio.  You can create a WordPress.com account, and post them there.  Tumblr and Posterous are even easier ways.  Then go get a domain to point to your portfolio.  Which is more professional –”www.mybestportfolio.com” or “mybestportfolio.wordpress.com”?  For $12, it shouldn’t be a tough decision.

Online Community Sites

If you are serious about your profession, whether it’s the one that you are currently in, or the one that you want to be in, be an active member in the forums that are discussing it.  Make sure your profile has all of your current information, including how to contact you.  I’m amazed at how many people leave comments on WorkAwesome, but haven’t bothered to complete their profile.  This is a lost opportunity to attract visits to their website or portfolio.  If you are contributing positive information, in the form of posts or comments, chances are the other readers are going to have a look at your profile to see if you have other shared interests.  If an employer noticed that you are in the same city, and then clicked on your link to find examples from your portfolio, what do you think your chances of working with them might be?  And all because you were a contributing member in an online community.

Social Networking

If you don’t know anyone at the company you want to work for, you aren’t trying hard enough.  With a minimum of effort you can find out who the key players are in any industry, and you will probably find you are at most two degrees of separation from them.  Find some of the folks in the company and chat with them about what’s great, and not-so-great, about working there.  Find out what the expectations are from the team that you would actually be working with.  Are they the people that you want to spend more than 40 hours per week with?  Are you the type of person that they want to work with?


This list isn’t just for job hunters – it’s for employee hunters, too.  If you are looking to find good people, go where the good people are.   Stop asking for people to submit resumes.  Ask them for their portfolio.  Hold events like this summer schmooze to find the right person for the job – not just the best of the ones that applied.  Jason Fried, cofounder of 37signals, has some excellent thoughts on hiring procedures.

“I don’t expect to go hungry if I decide to leave the University.   Resume: Linux looks pretty good in many places.”                                                                                                                                                 – Linus Torvalds

Given the ability to research and dig into the background of potential employees, a bit of time should be spent making sure the positive information is what comes up first.  Followed by your spring break at Daytona Beach photos on Facebook. You wouldn’t want to blow your crack at the dream job for lack of due diligence.

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After spending way too long in the corporate world, Jason has switched to full-time freelancing. With any luck you enjoyed this article - and if you need one of your very own, give him a shout! @brandscaping on the twitter, or at brandscaping.ca


  1. Web Design Evan Skuthorpe on the 23rd June

    nice article. I find a lot of agents contact me via Linkedin so it definately works!

    • Matt Coffey on the 14th May

      These are all great points. Most people are saying that resumes are dead. It is about what you are doing online now.

  2. Mohammad Koubeissi on the 23rd June

    LinkedIn is KEY and I also think an active twitter account helps.

  3. Ashley Hill on the 23rd June

    I’ve been active on Linkedin in for awhile…being able to get recommendations on there from past employers or clients is a great thing. For possible future clients, they love that they can see some testimonials from what you do.

  4. Bryan Kremkau on the 23rd June

    Nice post! Linkedin is good but Twitter has a lot on there too.

  5. Brandon Cox on the 23rd June

    It’s funny, I’m about to move across the country to start my dream job and the initial contact came via Twitter. I’m moving into a position of being an online community coordinator for an organization I’ve followed for a decade now. They only asked for my resume to complete my file after the hire was pretty much a done deal.

    • Brandscaping on the 23rd June

      I’ve got to agree with you all on Twitter – I’ve had a few great new contacts pop up because I’ve got tweetdeck searching for copywriter.

      Also – for freelancing, freelanceswitch.com has been fantastic for me.

  6. Roy Morejon on the 23rd June

    Another great resource is Visual CV.

  7. Rob on the 23rd June

    I have to add Craigslist here, even though it’s a crapshoot, a lot of managers have been using it and know it well. I’ve found several jobs, yes real W2’ed jobs off craigslist, including the one I work now while I’m not moonlighting as tech support for entrepreneurs. Remember as your putting stuff out there online for possible employers, you want to represent yourself well, the web…well at least under your real alias is not the place to let loose…everything’s recorded on the internet.

    • Brandscaping on the 23rd June

      great point Rob – I’m a big advocate for multiple profiles 🙂

  8. robyn on the 26th June

    how do you ad a portfolio to blogger? new one to me. linkedin is just new for me. i am a little scared to add my resume to my profile but i can’t really say why. i am scared who is going to access it and the fact i won’t know they are accessing it.

    interesting post.

    • Evy Wilkins on the 29th June

      Hi Robyn,

      Being scared to post your resume is understandable. Full disclosure, I work for DoYouBuzz, the web-based resume. We have many professionals on our site that have similar concerns. The most important advice I can offer is: do what you’re comfortable with. Start small. See how it goes and provide more detail if/when you starting feeling comfortable about it.

      On DoYouBuzz, we have four different privacy settings that let you control how your resume information is shared. One of them includes protecting your resume with an access code. Just wrote a post about privacy on DoYouBuzz yesterday: http://blog.doyoubuzz.com/us/privacy-101-on-doyoubuzz-youre-in-the-drivers-seat/.

      Other practical advice is to use a contact form instead of sharing your contact details directly.

      @brandscaping Thanks for great article. The rules of the hiring game are changing and I totally agree – ditch a one page, static document for a rich, results driven presentation, whether it be a blog, portfolio or network.

  9. Pawel Pioch on the 13th February

    Thank You very much for Great article,

    I have realised that I have to get myself out there some time ago but having a hard time finding the way. I have even managed to set up a LinkedIn account but I do not know anyone who have the same interests as me (web design, development) while I’m aware that there are thousands of designers out there.
    I have to try to make a use of that LinkedIn account as I see it’s worth doing.

    Thanks Again

  10. Joanna on the 22nd July

    Great article, we are glad to share with our network.
    Couldn’t agree more about how job seekers have to go above and beyond the system and mostly beyond the resume.
    An additional suggestion is writing a job proposal, which have been used for years by successful executives and managers to land their desired job. Every job seeker should try anything they can to land their dream job. If you want to create a great job proposal, regardless of experience level check out the 1-page proposal.
    Once again…fabulous advice 🙂

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