Card from Mean Girls

As a freelancer [and perpetual job-hunter], I’m never too far from a fresh copy of my résumé and a stack of personal business cards. I manufacture both myself, and being a designer and self-labelled expert in branding, they match in every regard from paper stock to ink to typefaces. Along with my portfolio booklet and this website, they are the icons of my personal brand and tools of self-marketing.

But am I taking the wrong approach altogether?

I awoke this morning to two interesting blog posts. The first challenged the notion of the business card as we know it — cram-packed with contact info, titles, addresses, alternate phone numbers, company names, etc. The post from Brand Flakes For Breakfast highlights the daring card design from Brian Shaler.

Brian Shaler

The concept here is simple: Google me, look me up. In the information age, having a name should point any resourceful and web-savvy person towards loads more information than can be crammed onto the back of a card. While the execution of the card may not strike any chords for designers (Helvetica Neue Light? cmon.), the boldness of it leaves an impression.

Seth Godin, who has made his name by challenging old stand-bys, is challenging the concept of the résumé, specifically as it applies to being blindly emailed in the hope of earning employment. His post illustrates a number of ways to build a reputation aside from the “fact sheet”, which only attracts scrutiny in the negative sense.

A resume is an excuse to reject you. Once you send me your resume, I can say, “oh, they’re missing this or they’re missing that,” and boom, you’re out.

This is a little more daring than the minimalist card. I think most, if not all, prospective employers would react negatively if I turned up to an interview without a résumé. And if a job application specifically asks for one, I’m afraid I’m going to oblige. But it raises a new debate about the professional paper trail.

A blog is the new résumé. Google is the new business card. Portfolios have replaced bullet points and job descriptions. Power ties are gone, and those smokey back rooms have been replaced by Facebook. But is this progress? I’ll let you know in ten years when I’m finally on the other side of the interview table. What do you think?

[side note: This morning I had an interview. I left the gentleman with a paper resume and business card. I did not, however, get the chance to talk about my blog.]