Tom Wolfe on “The Digital You and Your Virtual Resume”

Tom Wolfe is a nationally recognized expert in the field of military-to-civilian career transition. Throughout his career he counseled and coached more than 5000 military service members as they navigated those at times turbulent waters. Wolfe is a U. S. Navy veteran, veterans advocate, columnist, and author. His columns and articles have appeared regularly in digital and print media, including Military.com, Stars and Stripes, Military Transition News, and G. I. Jobs. His latest book is Out of Uniform: Your Guide to a Successful Military-to Civilian Career Transition, Second Edition (Potomac Books, 2018).

“The Digital You and Your Virtual Resume” is not only the title of chapter 19 in the second edition of Out of Uniform, but also a fitting metaphor for how job hunting has changed in the last decade. Ten years ago a poorly written resume would poison a job search from the onset. Today a poor social media presence is even more deadly.

I wrote the first edition of Out of Uniform in 2011. Review the keyword index in that edition and you will not find the phrase “social media.” That was not an error on my part. The phrase barely existed. In reading that edition you will spot a few references to LinkedIn and Facebook, but those references would not portend the face of things to come.

A few years after Potomac Books published the first edition, the merging of two independent events occurred and provided the catalyst for a new edition of Out of Uniform. First, my daughters pointed out that my book was becoming a bit stale, emphasizing that although my overall message and guidance has an unlimited shelf-life, advances in technology and cultural changes have modified the way that information is delivered. Second, the University of Nebraska Press acquired Potomac Books, reviewed their authors and titles, and reached out to me with a strong recommendation to write a new edition. The University of Nebraska Press and my daughters concurred in their opinions, hence the second edition.

The importance and power of social media cannot be underemphasized. Not only do organizations use social media to promote their brands, but they also use it as a talent acquisition tool. This relatively inexpensive and user-friendly tool allows them to source, attract, filter, and vet potential employees.

This is not a one-way street. Both parties benefit. The savvy job-seeker will use social media to source opportunities, research potential employers, identify points of contact, grow his or her network, tap into the organizational culture and mission, prepare for interviews, and display interest.

Surprisingly—or perhaps not—chapter 19 is the longest chapter in the new edition and social media references abound. Although the importance of social media in career transition and job hunting was the primary reason for the first edition, I attempted to also modify the content to reflect current market trends and bring the guidance more in line with contemporary issues and readership.

Although the guidance in the book will benefit civilian and military job seekers alike, my target audience is military service members, veterans, and their families. Thank you for serving our country. In the words of West Point graduate, Army veteran, Olympic Gold Medalist, and Duke basketball Coach K:

We owe our military service members so much, including the right to compete for a job when they leave the service. Tom Wolfe’s Out of Uniform just might give them that competitive edge. Are you a veteran? Read it! Know a veteran? Make sure they have a copy!”

—Mike Krzyzewski, U.S. Army veteran and Duke University men’s basketball coach

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