How SlideShare Can ‘Accidentally’ Take Your Résumé Around The World

Thomas Fiehn
4 min readAug 17, 2016

I’m sitting in Germany, scratching my head, still wondering why the CEO and Founder of M&C Saatchi in Russia has downloaded my résumé. Or the Strategic Planner at TBWA\ISTANBUL. Or the Account Management Team at Dentsu Indonesia. An Aerodynamics & Aerospace Engineer at the Aeronautical Complex in Pakistan? The Head of Marketing at a Global Yacht Insurance Company?? A Professor at a College in Toronto???

What a weird experiment.

It all began three years ago when I was doing a little bit of research on the ‘disruptive zeitgeist’ that had taken the valley by storm at that time — before it even turned into the buzzword we see in many other industries today. While working on the research, I was reading Mitch Joel’s new business book, Ctrl Alt Delete, that came out in 2013. In one of his blog posts, The Accidental Marketer, he described how surprisingly successful his SlideShare presentation took off compared to most of the other marketing activities they had in place for the book launch. That kept me thinking…

Visual storytelling wrapped in captivating content.

If the presentation was good enough to give people a visually appealing extract of a pretty comprehensive topic, why shouldn’t I try this with a preso on creative disruption and tell my story in a different context for a change?

The idea was born and published as a visual résumé on SlideShare in 2014.

I didn’t get much response at first, so I forgot about the presentation for a while. Believe it or not, I only found out a few weeks ago that my résumé has literally made it around the world in the meantime (I have never received any email notifications on shares, comments, or downloads from SlideShare). So far the presentation has reached more than 5,000 views and 100+ downloads.

It’s not about the numbers. It’s about the quality of your audience.

5,000+ views is okay. Some presentations on that topic have more, some have less. What really counts for me is the number of senior executives who have downloaded the presentation. Why would you download a résumé by someone who is obviously just trying to present himself in a broader context? Probably because the context is somehow relevant to you?

Kenneth Zuckerberg is an Executive Director at Rabobank International and has nothing to do with my business, which is marketing and advertising. However, he has shared the résumé on Twitter and called it a “must-read”.

It’s not about landing a job. It’s about sharing some value.

What do all of those 100+ Managing & Creative Directors, Chairmen & Founders, Presidents & Vice Presidents, R&D Managers, Digital Strategists, Business Development Directors, Strategy Consultants, Senior Engagement Planning Directors, Digital Heads, Chief Risk Officers, Independent Entrepreneurs and ‘Retired Thought Leaders’ from various backgrounds around the world have in common? They haven’t downloaded my résumé because they wanted to hire me. They have downloaded the presentation because they have seen some value in it. Something they could use for their own advancement.

This slide is taken from Wieden+Kennedy’s SlideShare presentation “How to (not) Fail — Dropping the Truth Bombs on Marketing’s Bullshit” (a must-read

Conclusion: especially self-marketing is about building relationships.

Don’t assume that anyone is interested in you just because you’ve crafted another nice & shiny presentation. Don’t expect them to adore you for all the great things you have already achieved in your curriculum vitae. Deliver value in advance instead. Give rather than take or expect. And, most importantly, do it in a genuine and not in a manipulative way.

That’s the substance of any good and healthy relationship, the fine art of respectful seduction, and — hopefully soon — the new ‘creative’ in marketing.

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Update 01/19:

Views have almost doubled and downloads went up by nearly 50%. Probably because Google’s algorithm has chosen my presentation to be the world’s #1 reference on that topic — displayed in the Knowledge Graph right on top of the Wikipedia article. I wish I could hug the algorithm ;)