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Can you land a job with 140 characters?

From Doug Meigs, for CNN
updated 2:47 AM EDT, Mon April 22, 2013
Hype or helpful: Posting your career in 140 characters on Twitter appeals to some.
Hype or helpful: Posting your career in 140 characters on Twitter appeals to some.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Twitter resumes have been touted as new method to land a job
  • Format has been hyped up and value questioned by headhunters
  • Some companies say they only consult job seekers' 'web presence'
  • Recruitment expert believes 'twesumes' can play a part in a person's digital profile

(CNN) -- The hottest way to present your resume currently involves just 140 characters and a lot of hype. Twitter resumes -- or "twesumes" -- have been touted as the best way for social media-savvy types to snag a dream job.

But before you post your own abbreviated CV, it is worth considering its limitations and what tweeting your employment history really says about you.

"I cannot imagine someone explaining their breadth of experience in 140 characters," says Sai Pradhan, a headhunter and managing director for Trufflepig Search, based in Hong Kong. "I know people are calling it an elevator pitch these days, but my goodness, even that's a bit longer. At most it could be an introduction with a link to your CV."

The term twesume (a contraction of "Twitter" and "resume") began gaining traction in 2011 after it appeared in an article by Sean Weinberg on social media news site, Mashable. Weinberg co-founded the website RezScore, which allows users to upload their resumes and receive an algorithmic-based grading on it.

The recruitment process was purely digital research and conversation-oriented.
Vala Afshar, CMO, Enterasys

In subsequent years, the 140-character CV has been hailed by some as ushering in a brave new world of truncated, social media-reliant resumes.

It was reported last year that U.S. venture capital firm Union Square Ventures and a handful of American tech companies were to only accept links to jobseekers' "web presence" -- from blogs to Twitter accounts -- instead of traditional resumes.

Read more: Fake Amazon resume a huge hit

Earlier this year, the chief marketing officer of U.S. technology company Enterasys, Vala Afshar, announced that he would only consider Twitter applications for a senior social media strategist position with a six-figure salary. All candidates were supposed to use the hashtag #socialCV and possess more than 1,000 Twitter followers.

Afshar says he heard from hundreds of applicants and selected 15 for in-person interviews.

"The main point of this process is that the selection committee, including me, never references their CV," he wrote to CNN in an email. "The process was purely a digital research and conversation-oriented recruitment process."

Although Pradhan is enthusiastic about the business potential for companies using social media, she isn't convinced that Twitter will replace the resume for job-seekers. For her an updated profile on LinkedIn is more useful.

However a tidy web presence is increasingly important. International advertising firm Ogilvy & Mather is currently hiring a director-level candidate for its social media team in Hong Kong.

Application instructions for a similar posting last year warned: "Take a look at your Twitter / Weibo profile and if you find the words: maven / guru / expert? No need to apply. We want people whose focus it is to build our clients' profiles, not their own."

Nothing beats meeting someone in person, shaking their hand and saying, 'I really want to work with you.'
Sai Pradhan, Trufflepig Search

The implication is that while social media has made it easier for direct access to companies advertising on Twitter or LinkedIn, it has also made it much easier for unqualified wannabes to jam up the job search.

Read more: What's your office personality type?

For Pradhan, who recruits middle to senior level marketing and communications professionals, checking job candidates' social media is the final stage in the process. She mentions a recent Asia-wide search for a director of digital marketing as an example:

"We basically honed it down to five candidates. And at that point, we actually looked at their online presence. We knew them on paper. We had talked to them in person and interviewed them a few times. And then it was time to see that they've actually been doing what they say."

For businesses, Twitter is just part of the evolving cornucopia of platforms to share and engage with potential partners and customers. The same principles that apply to selling goods are also valid for job-seekers marketing their skills.

"Back in the day, the only way to generate authority in your field was to speak at conferences and write papers and things like that," says Pradhan. "Now you can write a blog. Now you can post relevant content to connect with an audience. You can create followers for yourself. It's a way to build credibility."

Whatever the next platform for self-promotion, she urged jobseekers not to abandon commonsense and real-world skills: "Nothing beats meeting someone in person, shaking their hand and saying, 'I really want to work with you.' That's what it comes down to. Among all these online experiences, the success comes in moving them offline.

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