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Meet Brandon Kleinman, Who Got Noticed With Facebook Photos

February 15, 2014

Would you use photos on Facebook to get noticed for your dream job?

Brandon Kleinman did just that when he used his social media know-how to put together an attention-grabbing, storytelling set of photos on Facebook to hook potential employers. He hoped they would be scope him out on the popular site and they did. As did many others, as his innovative idea got him featured on prominent sites like Mashable and Business Insider, and even won a job offer from Good Morning America. Here is Brandon’s inspiring story…

Story Resumes: Brandon, how did you use your Facebook album resume as part of your job search strategy and what influence did it have on the outcome?

Brandon: First, thanks for reaching out. It has been about three years since I created my Facebook resume and it has taught me a lot about how hiring works and what people can do to improve their odds. First, the question everyone always asks is, “did it work?”

The short answer is, yes. Six weeks to the day after I clicked the “submit” button on Facebook I started my first day as Director of Social Media for TBWA\Chiat\Day, a brilliant agency that I was very proud to be a part of.

The longer answer, though, was that the resume was the first break in a series of events that could have easily landed me nothing, but ultimately paved the way to a wonderful opportunity to work with some of the most creative minds in the world.

Story Resumes: Why was it important for you to tell your story in the way you did?

Brandon: Context is king. Having hired many people in my time, people are always finding new, brilliant ways to communicate their worth. In most cases, the problem is that people believe that the most important criteria to being noticed is being creative and it’s not. Being creative is just the first step.

First, my creativity was within the context of the roles I was pursuing (social media expert manipulates social media to look creative).

Two, with a combination of luck and some gritty research I was able to get my resume to the top of two of the largest news outlets in the digital space, Mashable and Reddit. I knew that if I sent it to a company directly, I would get a smile and maybe a call, but I would still be part of the regular pack of 1,000 applicants. The big trick was to create enough attention that they would reach out to me (which they did). Incoming attention is obviously much stronger than asking for attention.

Story Resumes: How important do you believe it is for other jobseekers to share their stories while job hunting?

Brandon: I have hundreds of suggestions on how to increase your odds to get a job, which I’m always happy to share, but I tell everyone who asks the two things I think you should always be doing.

The first thing is to read up on human psychology (Robert Cialdini, Dan Airely, Richard Thaler, Ryan Holiday). The people running hiring departments, reading resumes and making decisions are people with stresses and desires like you. Think about what their day must look like and what their goals are. How can you help make talking to you about a job a no brainer for them? What are they going to tell their boss about why they have to meet you? Stuff like that.

The second thing is network, but not in the sense that everyone else tells you. Meet as many people as you possibly can under a context that shows your value. Shaking hands and going to mixers doesn’t really work. You should be more focused on building things with or for people, sharing complex ideas and soliciting opinions. Your goal in networking should be that when someone thinks, “who do I know that is a capable in this particular subject matter?”, your face comes to mind. If you are going to actively go out and build a network, make sure you always provide knowledge or value to each person you meet.

Story Resumes: How confident were you that your potential employers would check your Facebook account?

Brandon: I knew from experience that everyone Googles and Facebooks any candidate they are considering hiring. My goal was for them to know who I was before they met me, at best, or to at least get a smirk for being clever before we talked the first time.

I had been running my own small consulting company for four years and was doing a lot of hard work for a big ad agency (as a white label partner) and Turner Broadcasting. My plan was probably to hit my breaking point and have a run-of-the-mill nervous breakdown. I loved my clients, but I wanted to move into a new role without feeling like a quitter.

Story Resumes: What type of response did your Facebook resume stir up?

Brandon: Without being an egomaniac, it was awesome. A writer at Mashable called me an hour after the resume hit the top of Reddit and the insanity built from there. Good Morning America asked me to come on and be a digital correspondent and some large ad agencies and cool startups reached out to me about employment.

The best part, though, is now three years later I still get an email or two each week from brilliant people either telling me their story of finding a job or asking me for some tips on how to improve their chances. My favorite thing to do is to share ideas with smart people and I always try to help. Oh, yeah, and my face is now on a German middle school text book. Getting that in the mail was kind of a trip.

Story Resumes: How has your Facebook resume impacted your overall career and personal brand since then?

Brandon: I still blush a little when people say, “OMG I saw you on the Facebook Resume,” so many years later. It was a little experiment that people seemed to really like, and sometimes I want to ask more about them rather than talk about myself. In addition to landing me a dream job, it continued to reinforce the idea of storytelling being the primary drive for all good things. The story wasn’t, “guy creates a clever resume”, it was:

“Guy uses clever social media resume to get a social media job. Guy submits resume to the top social media news outlet. Guy shares news post with friends who he knows might have some influence or friends in the space he is looking for a job. Guy gets dream job.”

Story Resumes: What are some ways jobseekers can tell their story in a way that positively grabs the attention of a recruiter or employer?

Brandon: Always put yourself in the shoes of the people that you are trying to impress, reach out to, or impact. Walk like you are in their head before you decide what you think you should do. Also create things. Create as many things as you possibly can. You never know when you might get lucky. ;)

Story Resumes: You are truly an inspiration, Brandon. We wish you, and your new company, all the best!

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