Friday, May 17, 2013

How to Get a Job Without a Resume

Below is the kick-off article to the summer series that will be featured on Each summer I write to help those of you who've graduated college find a job and learn how to turn it into a dream career. When relevant I'll also post the articles here. will still have tons of content this summer, as well as answers to the many Ask Isa questions I've been recieving. Loving them!

There is almost nothing as demoralizing as the online job hunt.

When I graduated college at the top of my class I thought companies would be fighting each other to have my brilliance and potential in their office.

I know, I know; feel free to laugh at and judge my millennial-style ego.

Instead, I found myself applying to and interviewing for countless jobs that had never been in my senior-year-of-college plans.

I was interviewing to be a future payroll specialist, medial sales rep, dog food saleswoman, and theme park character.

Like many recent graduates, I ended up taking a low-level hourly job to help pay the rent when the salaried jobs passed me up for more qualified candidates.

But luckily, my first hourly job was in an industry I was very interested in – higher education.

And within three years I went from working for ten dollars an hour in an admissions office to working from home, speaking around the country, consulting with companies at which I’d once dreamed of being employed, hosting a television show, and getting half a dozen job offers (including one to be a CEO of a well-known non-profit).

And trust me, I’m no genius. I also come from a low-income family and was the first to graduate with a bachelor’s degree, so I had zero connections when I started and no idea what I was doing in the professional world.

They say, “It’s not who you know, but who knows you.” I never knew what that really meant until I started engaging deeply in something I cared about and sharing that online.

Whether you dream of being your own boss, saving the world as a non-profit leader, being a life-changing teacher, or finding a job at that perfect-fit company, building an online brand can help you get known, be recognized, and get job offers. Oh and your resume? It will just be a formality; they will barely glance at it because they’ll already know they want you.   

All you need to build your online presence is to add value in your desired industry. When you do that, the key players will find and want to work with you. And when you reach out to them yourself (which you should), they’ll see you as instantly credible when they see the work you’ve been doing online. I’ll be honest with you, this is much harder than formatting a resume, but the rewards are sweet and yield results that you can’t even fathom when you begin.  

As college students graduate this month I’ve had many of my readers e-mail me asking for career advice. I’m so inspired by their desire to make a difference in the world that

I wanted to share everything I’ve learned about building a career in the 21st
century in a free ebook called How to Get a Job Without a Resume: The secrets to building an online presence that draws opportunities to you (release date late summer 2013).

I wanted to do this because when I graduated college, I read dozens of books to try to figure out what to do with my life. I was comforted by the many things I read that confirmed the “20-something” crisis was real. However, I was always left wondering, “Okay, now I know why I feel this way, but what the heck am I supposed to do?”

How to Get a Job Without a Resume will share exactly how to build an online presence, step by step, even if you have absolutely zero technical skills. It will also teach you the strategies I developed to build a network of incredible mentors and friends who can teach you everything you need to know about your industry and help you get where you want to go.   

I started my online presence because a book about how to get your non-fiction book published told me I had to (I was reading it years ago in preparation to write my first book). So I started a blog. I got up early and wrote once a week before work. I tweeted my blog posts.  And I did that for almost a year without anything happening.

And then, someone from the largest global learning company, Pearson,
saw my blog on Twitter. She started following me. We started interacting. We
set up a phone call. And eventually Pearson became my first consulting client; I
was able to leave my traditional job, work from home, speak around the country, and start a consulting business.  

A few months later a local cable station e-mailed me asking if I’d travel to their location a few times a year to host their new college success TV show; they had found me on YouTube.

While I love a good funny cat picture, it turns out, social media and other online tools can add so much more to your life and career.

And as Thomas Friedman recently shared in The New York Times (bold mine):
"What’s exciting is that this platform [the Internet & social media] empowers individuals to access learning, retrain, engage in commerce, seek or advertise a job, invent, invest and crowd source — all online. 
"But this huge expansion in an individual’s ability to do all these things comes with one big difference: more now rests on you.

If you are self-motivated, wow, this world is tailored for you. The boundaries are all gone. But if you’re not self-motivated, this world will be a challenge because the walls, ceilings and floors that protected people are also disappearing."
The only people who will really have job security in the 21st century are those who use their online presence to consistently contribute to an industry, even when they’re not getting paid for it. The process is continuous, and while it requires a lot of hard work and dedication, once you get going it can actually be quite fun.

Are you ready to start?

You can sign up  on my website to be one of the first 500 people to get a free ecopy of the book a week before it’s released to the public, and below are two quick tips to get you going right now:

1) Write down what you want: What do you think about when you go to bed? What gets you up in the morning? What moves you? What makes you feel the most alive?

Building a personal brand will be the hardest thing in the world if you do not first define what it is you really want and align that with who you are, what you’re good at, and what the world needs.

There are hundreds of books dedicated to helping you discover your strengths and think about what you want to do with your life. But don’t stop there – today’s careers often aren’t in books. Be creative.

Even if you don’t know what kind of job you want yet, write down what you want out of life and read those goals every morning.

2) Choose one online tool: When I started to build my online presence I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know what HootSuite was or how to pronounce it (I called it Hut Sweet) and didn’t know why people used hash tags.

In the free ebook each social media channel gets its own chapter. You won’t need each one, but knowing how to make the most of them all will help you decide. In the meantime, choose one online platform and start adding value in your industry.

Start a free blog and write once a week. Start a Twitter if you haven’t already; follow key people in your industry, retweet and share industry news, and interact with people who work at the organizations to which you aspire.

Update your LinkedIn profile and start joining the conversation in your industry groups; search the companies and jobs you find interesting and study the “resumes” on LinkedIn – where did they get their start? Connect with some of them and ask for their advice.

Start a YouTube channel and film a short video of yourself teaching someone how to do something, or start a Facebook page where you share industry news, quotes, and conversation starters. 

Choose one and go.

If this feels like a lot and you feel overwhelmed, remember this: the most important thing about personal branding, to which its name proves ironic, is that the person that matters most isn’t you – it’s your audience.

Ask yourself, who can you help with your knowledge and talents? Where can you make a difference? Speak to them. Make their life better, easier, more joyful.

You have more to offer than you realize. And while the Internet seems crowded, you’d be surprised at
how much room there is for you. There are problems only you can solve, niches
only you can fill, and people out there who need you to be their online

Resumes not required. Capes are optional, but highly recommended.

Visit to sign up to be one of the first to receive the free ebook How to Get a Job Without a

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