Will 2012 be the year of the twesume?
By Sue Walder
Hmm. The twesume. A blend of tweet and resume, right? Right.
While it’s a concept that has yet to gain traction in the UK, the twesume is clearly on the rise in the USA, where 89% of companies used social networks for recruiting in 2011.
I first came across the twesume (a resume condensed into 140 characters) in an article on Mashable in December last year by Sean Weinberg, COO and co-founder of RezScore, a free web application that reads, analyses and grades resumes.
A more effective way of connecting
Sean suggested that as social media recruiting grows, twesumes can help job seekers connect and engage with potential employers much faster and more effectively than traditional CVs and cover letters.
The idea originated with communications consultant Richard Skaare, who wrote a blog post in December 2008 called ‘The 140-Character Resume’. His theory is that “forced brevity sharpens the mind and quickens the soul”.
In early 2009, writer Matthew Wayne Selznick took up the challenge to write his resume in 140 characters (see here) and introduced the hashtag #twesume to make it easier for people to search on Twitter.
When more is less ...
According to CEO Gerrit Hall, Rezscore had noticed that many professional people end up with with overly long and verbose resumes. In response, they asked clients to condense their work experience into a short ‘elevator pitch’ – essentially a ‘twesume’.
“We started doing research on the concept and came across the work of Skaare and Selznick, who were very much ahead of the curve on the subject,” he says.
“The twesume concept has only recently started to take off. Previously, there simply wasn't critical mass. Twitter wasn't mainstreamed, few employers would accept a twesume, and little infrastructure had been built up to support the concept.
“Nowadays, we know of at least a dozen employers who will accept twesumes. We've talked with other startups launching services dedicated to twesumes. And, of course, RezScore maintains a searchable public index of every publicly posted twesume at http://rezscore.com/twesume, and we retweet them through our @twezscore account.”
The twesume in action
Rezscore says job seekers like the way twesumes provide a useful back door through which to make an introduction. And employers like twesumes as they cut through the ‘fluff’, create a good buzz, and allow people who are savvy in social media to shine.
Rezscore has already put their money where their mouth is by engaging two freelancers on contract projects after reading their twesumes.
Another company that has just hired two people as a direct result of reading their #twesumes is nylmedia.com – a New York-based digital agency specialising in luxury brands.
“After searching through #twesume posts on twitter during November and early December last year we contacted about 30 people and then invited 10 people to attend an interview,” says nylmedia owner Ross Anderson.
“We actually ended up hiring two people – a local New Yorker and a guy from Denver, who actually posted the best #twesume. (I am an enthusiastic person who is passionate about crafting catchy phrases through lyrical expression. I thoroughly enjoy playing with the English Language.)
“They are both entry level, with some experience in online and social media and it showed in their tweets.”
Less is more
Ross believes the twesume is definitely here to stay.
“Cover letters are so boring. And even if people do use one, they are so bland and generic that we can’t really get a feel for the person. Limiting their words and characters lets us see the applicant’s thinking and personality much better!
“My advice to job seekers thinking about using a twesume is: Be Creative! The whole point of this is to show a level of thoughtfulness.”
If you’re thinking of posting your #twesume , here’s some more useful advice from Gerrit Hall of Rezscore:
“Don’t forget to a link to your full resume, portfolio, or LinkedIn profile. And remember to tweet your #twesume at the company or recruiter you want to reach reach. Broadcasting yourself without direction or context will instantly lose the desired effect.”
Here at PFJ, there’s a mixed reaction to the twesume concept. A quick straw poll in the office suggests that while no one has yet heard of it, it could be especially useful way of finding potential candidates in the media/digital industries.
So, what do you think? Will the twesume will catch on over here? Are you planning to post your #twesume soon?
You can read Sue’s blog at www.havingaword.com and follow her on twitter: @suewalder