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Should you Tweet a resume?

There's a trend toward micro-resumes, but can you really get across your chops in 140 characters?

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A few years ago video resumes, where people sat in front of webcams spelling out their qualifications and showing a bit of personality, were all the rage. The latest option in the rat race to stand out is micro-resumes: A 140-character chance to charm an employer over Twitter.

The Globe and Mail ran an article yesterday talking about the trend being huge in China and gave this example: “Board-certified chimney sweeper looking for exciting challenges. 32 years experience. Fits into narrow spaces. Once swept Lincoln’s chimney.” The article points out that though North American recruiters have used Twitter since its launch to post job openings, formal applications are still the norm. That said, earlier this year Robert Duffy, CEO of Marc Jacobs, used Twitter to find a new social media manager. Will more execs start following his lead?

Kevin Dee, CEO of Ottawa-based staffing agency Eagle Professional Resources, doesn’t think micro-resumes will ever replace the real deal in his business, where clients rely on him to thoroughly check applicants. He does, however, see how they could make the process easier. For example, since staff are constantly wading through thousands of applications, twitter resumes would give them a good way to initially screen people and narrow down the list. Dee says the form would work best for creative-type jobs like advertising and PR where being succinct and witty are valuable. “It could also lead to a ‘try before you buy’ situation,” says Dee. “[A micro-resume] may be a way in for a short-term gig and could lead to a long-term one.”

Stuart Payne, Toronto-based CEO of advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi Canada calls micro-resumes “a modern-day elevator pitch” that have limited value. “Being able to create a sense of intrigue is an exercise in creativity but lacks depth,” he wrote in an email. “Beyond that we want to know that you can back up your virtual headline with actual work and experience either by linking to a website or via an interview.”

If you have Luddite tendencies, don’t think this means you can watch the Twitter bandwagon pass by. Showing your familiarity with the platform is essential to being employable in today’s culture. “We live in a social media obsessed world,” says Payne. “If we can communicate with our peers in the same way our customers communicate we’re already ahead of the curve. Hiring people who appreciate and understand social media is key to staying relevant and connected.”