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March 12, 2012


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Jon DiPietro

The timing on this post is funny. I just Tweeted this yesterday: "Was just asked by a client to provide a resume. Found it bizarre they would ask, which is kind of bizarre." For three years now, I've pointed prospective clients to my online profiles and properties not my resume. I had to create one.

While I agree that it is doubly - no, triply - more important for marketers to pass the Google Test as you call it, I would argue that this goes for anyone in the job market today. Ignore at your own peril.

I just published a free ebook that teaches people how to use blogs and social media for their own personal career development (http://www.careergravity.com).

JennyKay Pollock

Great post! It is increasingly important to have a presence on the internet. Time and time again I am appalled when college juniors, seniors, and recent graduates don't have a LinkedIn or know what it is.

As your article pointed out its more than just having a LinkedIn account. However that’s a simple step that people seem to be missing.

David Meerman Scott

Jon DiPietro - Exactly. The last resume I did was a decade ago. I agree that this technique is more suited to PR and marketing roles, but absolutely can be applied to all.

JennyKay - yes, you will need more than just a LinkedIn.

Cathy H.

Amazing how times have changed. I've spent the last few months increasing my online presence because I understand the importance of it in a PR job search. Didn't think it was this extreme yet, but I like it. Saves us all a lot of trees - no more resume copies to lug around!



Great advice on why it's more important than ever to build your personal brand. I don't accept the excuse I've heard before that marketing people are too busy building their clients or companies brand. It shouldn't be a persons primary goal but if your doing your marketing job right today then your personal brand should authentically grow also. Mike Volpe of HubSpot is a perfect example.

I especially love the bonus paragraph about creating a post about the company your seeking to join. That alone could demonstrate proficiency!

I always dig reading your words but I adore hearing them in person. Thx for the amazing moments at #SXSW. Your great peeps and I love hanging with you.



Jon Ferrara
CEO | Nimble - Turn Social Contacts into Customers
@jon_Ferrara | www.nimble.com

David Meerman Scott

Cathy - exactly. But be prepared that some potential employers will still insist on a resume. But if so, you should ask yourself - is this a place you want to work?

Jon - I'm so glad that we had that conversation on Saturday because it gave me a lot to think about to create this post. And yes, it is always a pleasure. Thanks for adding the comment about no excuses. I hear that a lot too. People are too busy to build a personal brand? That's probably okay if you're, say, an accountant. But not as a marketer or PR pro.

Jennifer Brown

The resume is not dead yet - large companies (and a growing number of small organizations) require that you enter data into their system. All the information found in a resume.

Should you have an online presence? I'm in the camp that says yes, if for no other reason than it's expected of us as marketing and pr professionals. However, this constant barrage of how everything is going the way of Google or social is overplaying their role in society.

Yes, Google and social media have been transformative. But we still have 25% of the U.S. without Internet in their home - and the poorer you are the more likely that you will NOT have internet in your home. Smart companies will focus on applications that can be filled out via mobile phones for this reason. The socio-economic divide of access is not only among the 1% and 99%, but within the technology-enabled and those without.

I use my large, extended family as a litmus for the pervasiveness of technology: There are about 65 of us among first aunts, uncles and cousins. Of those, maybe 60% are on Facebook, less than half have smart phones, maybe 15% are on LinkedIn in and I'm the only one on Twitter. We are split 50/50 on white collar work versus blue collar or hourly.

Again, I appreciate the importance of an online presence but the reality is HR professionals and most corporate executives aren't getting rid of resume requests in favor of a website and blog posts. We're at least a decade away from that, in my opinion.

Gerard Corbett


Great piece. It is a content world and as a coach, I have been preaching the mantra for several years. Show your stuff!!!


Best regards,


Connor Meaks

Very true David. Case in point: I started interning at HootSuite 3 and a half weeks ago. I won't go into details, but I got pretty creative with my approach to getting noticed. Interesting to see that Google syndrome is extending to employers searching candidates as well.

For me, there was no resume, no cover letter. They read my blog and tweets.

For this industry, you have to prove to people that you can develop your own online brand. If you can't, then how can you help the company continue to develop theirs?

David Meerman Scott

Jennifer - Thanks for the reality check. My blog post was a focus on marketing & PR jobs. While I do think the technique also works for other jobs, it's not going to help with all.

Gerry - Exactly. Show your stuff.

Connor - AWESOME. Thanks for jumping in with an example of exactly what I am talking about. No resume and no cover letter but an active Twitter and blog worked for you and it can work for others. Many thanks.

Bradley H. Smith

The resume' may not be dead, but what is deadly are the "job / resume submission" services companies hire like Brassring. They discourage creativity and personality.

I am a tad biased > www.iBradley.com

Michael Martinez

This a very naive article. Many people have common names and their name spaces may be highly competitive. As someone who once held six positions on the front page of Google for my own name I eventually found it compelling to "share the space" with some of the other people, many of whom are just as notable as me or more.

To demand that a high-quality marketer dominate his or her name space for due diligence creates a new form of search spam that we do not need. And in the age of online reputation management, you can believe what you find in Google's search results about as much as you can believe what you find on a resume.

Alan Fluhrer


Great post, while I agree in part I must also take to task and play devil's advocate here.

The resume may be dying, but it will die very slowly. A comment or two from above make good points. First, many are not on LinkedIn yet, you recently just created a profile yourself, congrats.

Being an executive recruiter for 20 years I believe many, many people are not on LinkedIn, and are a bit, content, shy. To tell you the truth, and depending on the executive role I am recruiting for, I find this an advantage. Many quality candidates can be found, but it takes more than a simple Google search and many times, it takes deep digging to find any mention of them. This happened today, and boy is it a great candidate.

Playing devil's advocate here: I would Google the executives asking for candidates to have a robust online presence and see if they, themselves have one. If not, why are they asking for something that they themselves do not do.

All the best

Gail Gromaski

Hi David,

Great post. I am currently seeking a position in marketing and have found that even if employers require a resume, many still want to see evidence that you're as social media savvy as you say you are. I have even seen "Must have a strong personal online presence" in the requirements of multiple job listings. In my opinion, any marketing professional should be promoting their own personal brand online regardless if they're employed or unemployed. If nothing else, it provides us with continuous professional development as the technology changes and grows.

Coleman Foley

I am very glad that there is a way to get my dream job without a traditional resume. I want to do community management and social media marketing for a consumer web startup, but I have no relevant experience. I wasn’t even a marketing major. I have little work experience of any kind. I wasn’t an exceptional student, and didn’t join many clubs. Unless I am ridiculously overqualified for a job (ie retail) my resume will not stand out from the hundreds of competitors.

Enter the Internet. I am able to jump right to the front of the line for marketing positions with consumer web companies because I live on the web and I have a do-first, plan-later approach. I very nearly got my dream marketing internship without ever being asked for a resume.

I just evangelized their product for free without asking permission, logged my activity, then presented that activity in a cold email, along with my pitch. They weren’t even hiring for that position, but they agreed to create it and have me fill it. That particular gig fell through, but I am confident that I can get a similar one.

I outlined my strategy in detail here: http://colemanfoley.com/post/19208975687/how-a-non-technical-person-can-get-noticed-by-a-startup

Social Media

Rotorua Museum of Art and History is looking to appoint several key positions to join the team at one of New Zealand's most dynamic museums and art galleries.

David Meerman Scott

Michael - you didn't read my post. I said: "What happens if I Google the name on your resume and the most recent company you worked for?" And I specifically am talking about marketing & PR jobs here, so even if you have a common name, it is highly unlikely that there will be any issues finding you.

Alan - thanks for being devil's advocate. I partly understand with other roles. But anyone who is hiring a marketer or PR pro today and is not focused on how candidates brand themselves online is simply not serving their company well. As a recruiter, you should be encouraging people (especially marketers and PR folks) to get with it. And my LinkedIn status is different. I work for myself.

Gail - thanks so much for sharing your experience. Many people tell me the same thing.

Coleman - you are the poster child for why this technique works!! Thanks again for sharing.

Remco Janssen

Thanks David for your great (and very true!) post. I concur, but there is only one 'but'. As I have found out for myself, if you have a very strong personal brand and are social enough to build a big network, there is no need for you as a PR- or marketingperson to work at a company. Hence there is no need to hand in your resume or apply for the job. Heck, work as a freelancer or start you own company! It is a daunting thing to do in this unstabile economy - but now is the time to invest in yourself!

Although I still don't agree on your LinkedIn-status. LinkedIn is a search engine, like Google or YouTube. If anyone is looking for a marketing speaker, with your immense network it might be easy to always find you first in the results. It might seem odd that a lot of unknown people invite you, but it actually increases the likelihood of being found first in the results, because LinkedIn takes in account the 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree of contacts...

Bob Zagami

Excellent commentry David, plus this works in reverse. Any sales rep that goes into a client meeting without first conducting the Google test should be charged with malpractice of his/her profession. If nothing else it provides additional talking points around their experience and their challenges and prevents you from telling them how wonderful you and your company are!

David Meerman Scott

Thanks Remco. I certainly agree with you. After 15 years of being an employee, I struck out on my own ten years ago. It was the best professional decision I have made. As soon as I book a gig via LinkedIn I'll be a fan!

Bob - Great point. Thanks!

Ebony Hillsman

Great article. Creating content is definitely the best way to stay relevant as a job seeker. It also lets the potential employer know that staying engaged in various media platforms helps me to keep my skill set fresh and adaptable.

Thank you!

Jon Marris

Find someone with that strong an online presence and I'll show you someone who spends more of their working day managing their own blogs and posts than on the company that are paying them.
I want someone to be savvy with social media and online presence, but show me someone whose CV demonstrates strong delivery, idea generation and ROI delivery and that's a candidate more attuned to commercial success.

David Meerman Scott

Jon Marris - I guess we disagree. Thanks for the comment.


Great post if you are looking for a job in marketing David.

If the proof is in the pudding, then Google-searching gives you the filling, while a CV could just be the glossy looking pastry that might be hiding a bland taste, awful texture and lack of tangible experience?

Here's an idea, why not add a few hyperlinks/QR codes to your CV, illustrating some of your work?

As you have stressed above, I think this is key for those working in marketing, and will only be more important as companies expect their marketeers to be experts in social media and customer engagement.

In other fields, we can expect this to become more important, but with a significant lag time.

At the moment, most of the less career-savvy people I know are still using Twitter to tell me what TV programme they just watched. Others are using it to voice expletives about their team having just lost a soccer game. Neither makes me particularly want to hire them, for any function.


Yes! Excellent post David! You just outlined the exact job searching strategy that I've employed. Reading this was very encouraging. I've used content creation and activity across a variety of social networks to enhance my personal brand. If you're curious, you can see my story at http://HireDaveCutler.com (you'll find that as Paul suggest above, my resume also features QR codes). Thank you for writing this.

Joel Capperella

Excellent as always David. I've heard people refer to this as 'giving good google' I don't know if that is appropriate in mixed company though. Also want to thank you for the inspiration. We think that the google test can ad value to social media recruiting strategy - http://blog.yoh.com/2012/03/your-social-media-recruiting-strategy-and-the-google-test.html

David Meerman Scott

Paul - great idea on adding links and QR codes to a resume. That applies to university applications too!

Dave - Excellent. Good luck with your search!

Joel - many thanks for adding to this discussion by blogging about it too. Interesting that you did a Google test of my name and HubSpot. I had never done that before. Glad to see there are a lot of great links!

Keith Spiro

Even with the other comments to the contrary, it is definitely growing well beyond just Marketing and PR jobs getting tough love. This great Economist article (based on LinkedIn research) http://www.economist.com/node/21549948 shows sales as the fastest shrinking job category. This is a huge change for business and will impact many jobs within any given company.

(here comes an unpaid and unsolicited compliment to you David> Paying attention to your writings and rants, we have eliminated the position of marketing and sales at our "old fashioned" print shop and I am now officially the Entrepreneur In Residence. No outside sales, no marketing director role, we have changed the way our entire organization looks at jobs/resumes/work requirements.

Branding here best works when we've met the requirements set by the client. So for now, as a company as well as an individual, it might well be better to have an authentic brand that attracts interested collaborators, customers, and prospects to your proven and active strengths rather than trying to be all things to all people.

You can read the first steps of my transition here on my blog: http://blog.kendall-press.com/2012/03/entrepreneur-in-residence-at-kendall.html

A traditional resume or job search is unlikely to do well in many evolving roles at companies big and small.

David Meerman Scott

Keith - What a great comment. It means a lot to me that you've achieved success by implementing some of my ideas and some of HubSpot's as well. I do appreciate you letting me know. Keep up the good work.

Marissa Pura

I am about to graduate from university with a business degree in marketing, so I found this article particularly relevant. Although I have already accepted a full-time job, I am still interested in improving my online brand.

My peers and I were required to create a blog for our social media class, which I took last spring. I believe that writing is one of my strengths and I would like to display this using my blog, but my blog does not show up in a Google search of my name. I have it linked to my Twitter account, but is that enough? Is there a way that I can make sure it is displayed on searches of my name?


David Meerman Scott

Marissa - good for you to find a job already but you will have a long career and you need to build your personal brand over the long haul. It sounds like you need to work on the SEO aspects of your blog. You should consider making a unique URL -- I note that MarissaPura.com is available and would buy that immediately and use that for your blog. Good luck.

Colin Warwick

Thanks! One minor point/tip. These days search results are personalized by login and cookies. So before you do the "Google test", be sure to log out of your Google profile (or better yet use someone else's computer) otherwise you'll get a distorted view of the search results. By logging out and deleting cookies you'll see how the results look to the hiring manager.

David Meerman Scott

Colin - an excellent point. I have a "clean" Firefox browser I use for that. Thanks!


I think you just pushed my rant button cuz I couldn't disagree with you more on this one.

"If you don’t care enough to build your personal brand then why should a company employ you to create a brand for them?"

the BEST marketers i know, you may not know. You know why? Because THEY ARE BUSY DOING THE WORK. And let's be clear, they are always busy.

Some of the most useless marketers i know? Yeah. I bet you know them. They are really really senior. They are really really important. They have great bubble diagrams on their flikr account and they couldn't execute a go to market strategy if you paid them a million bucks and put the word innovation in their title 50 times.

So while the resume is only one way to view someone -- just bc you are a great writer on a blog or are engaged actively on twitter doesn't mean squat when it comes to driving the networked marketing future.

ok, rant over.

David Meerman Scott

Thank you for the rant, Leighh!

Wade Souza

I think this article has some relevant points but the need/requirement is WAY overstated. As a career marketer who has worked on the client side across the branding spectrum up to the COO level and as a consultant, I have focused my time and energies on building the businesses I worked on NOT on building my own reputation, brand, or online presence. I am on LinkedIn in a primarily passive status as well as a few other career networking sites. It has not inhibited my opportunities that I can see nor has it stopped recruiters from finding me, clients from soliciting me or former subordinates and peers from contacting me. (There is some of that due to the small, remote market I live in and the fact most recruiters assume I am not interested in moving, which is actually not true.) Most of my work has been on tangible products, CPG but also increasingly services. The metrics there are pretty clear in terms of increases in volume, distribution, contribution, attendance, revenue, membership, etc. Smart companies looking to hire for the kind of marketing I do will focus on that. I can see, however, where it would be different for someone in PR or doing what I call "soft" marketing...trying to change perceptions, not clearly focused on a revenue or product sales goal, etc. Those jobs are often more difficult to measure anyway as can be seen byt the average tenure of a CMO of top SVP/VP of Marketing. My sense is that while a certain amount of online presence is requisite, as is solid understanding of its role in campaigns, the extent to which it is material for me as a product marketer is less than for those in other pursuits or slivers of the profession. You may not agree with this as a distinction but it would seem from some of the above that you glossed over this. Each to his own. Certainly your POV supports your overall shtick online.

David Meerman Scott

Wade - thanks for jumping in.

In my post, I talked about my feelings as well as those of the CEOs I know and advise such as Jon from Nimble. I also talk about this idea on the speaking circuit at my corporate gigs at companies I've delivered talks for like Cisco, HP, PwC, GenRe, Microsoft, McCormick, Nestle Purina, Ford Motor Company, Century 21, Dow Jones, & many many more.

The approach is to go to Google and search for a candidate's name and their most recent company to see what that brings up. Clearly in your case, you wouldn't pass that test in the companies I'm affiliated with or the companies I speak to. But that doesn't mean you aren't valuable to different organizations.



I'm interested in the senior marketing job at Nimble. Google me for my profile.
Barry Gilbert

David Meerman Scott

Barry - Hopefully Jon at Nimble will read these comments. If not, you need to think of a clever way to get his attention. Good luck.


While I know that you are talking specifically about marketing and PR folks in this post, I think this information is applicable to all industries. In fact, in our space it's expected but in other industries showing thought leadership in the industry could be even more profound.

I forwarded to a couple of my friends who are looking at a career move so thank you!

David Meerman Scott

Gibsondm - I agree with you. For example, my daughter is now in university and studying neuroscience. I've told her about these ideas and she is beginning to build an online identity. Thanks for passing this on to others.

Davina K. Brewer

Want to say someone did a video for a job w/ Google or Apple? IIRC it got a little buzz - but no job. That kind of creativity may work David, but only for the 'right fit' kind of place. See also, Wade's comment about the type of job.

I must give a shout out to Jennifer's good reality check. Many organizations and their HR departments want, insist upon that resume - electronic so it can be scanned for keywords as they check off qualities like they're ordering staff from a catalog. Forward-thinking companies looking for top talent that is creative, independent, self-starters, they may be doing the Google search - but that's just not always the case.

Which brings my question: what CEO/COO/VP/Director is doing a Google search anyway? It's semi-rhetorical b/c IME someone in PR or Corporate Communications may have a job opening (or looking for outside support), they tell HR - and that's where it ends. These days it's all hidden job market and getting past the gatekeepers - otherwise no one sees your name, has a chance to Google.

"You need to show, don't tell." Word! ITA with your point - we all probably should better job to pass the Google test, making sure our online talk walks the walk - I just don't think it's enough. "If a great blogger blogs in the woods but no one reads it..." I write that all the time b/c you can create a good online presence - but if you don't get that Google search in front of the right people, it won't matter. FWIW.

David Meerman Scott

Davina - I would ask this question: Do you really want to work for a company that treats you (via your resume) as a set of keywords in a checkbox? I certainly don't. I would want to work for the sort of company that is eager to hire truly talented people for marketing roles.

Also, like getting into Harvard, it seems people frequently reach for Apple & Google. Why go where everybody goes? Why not target a company you identify with on a deeper level than just the fact that they are big and famous.


Davina K. Brewer

It's funny David - I've made those decisions my whole life.. deciding who I didn't want to work for, what kind of jobs I just wasn't the right person for and it's better for the company or client to look elsewhere. But it's a luxury and I've paid for it in other ways. You're talking about culture and wouldn't we all LOVE to find companies that don't keyword search resumes, firms who take that approach to hiring talent; alas I haven't run across that many - yet. FWIW.

David Meerman Scott

Davina - we only have one opportunity to live a career. It is what you make of it. I worked for companies for 15 years and found it frustrating. For the last ten years I have been out on my own and it has been exhilarating.

Nick - YourRecruit Leatherhead

It really is all about developing a creative mind these days - even in the most remedial jobs. Employers are now looking more towards creativity and personality rather than skillset as their primary decision elements. I guess this is because a lot of companies these days are able to reserve some of their resources for training.

Jobs In Marketing


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