It was bound to happen. I opened up the attachment from e-mail and there it was, impossible to miss: at the top of every page of the individual's resume was their Klout score. I have to admit, my first reaction was to be slightly turned off, however the more I thought about it, the more I looked at it objectively. After all, I had identified "the cult of influence" as a significant social media trend for 2012 so it only made sense that Klout scores or other indicators of one's social graph prowess be documented in their professional credentials. If you're wondering, the individual's score was in the low fifties which is fairly respectable, though that's besides the point. The real point is there's a time and place to reference your "digital influence". Here's what I recommend:
When To Invoke Your Social Graph
Organizations do occasionally hire individuals who have cultivated significant social graphs and the expectation is that they will use their skills and the "influence" associated by their online (and offline) reputations for the job. There are probably few better examples of this than Robert Scoble (Klout Score 84) who in the past was hired by Fast Company and is presently employed by Rackspace as an evangelist and content machine. iJustine is another example though she's more of a gun for hire and has worked with a number of brands who desire to associate themselves with her online audience. But it's not always the social superstars who have equity attached to their impressive social networking prowess but also community managers or individuals hired to connect with a specific group and have the chops to connect meaningfully with them. In both scenarios I might be interested in checking out Klout scores, follower ratios and all other indicators of an individual's ability to cultivate a following because I'd be hiring them to do just that.
When To Leave Your Social Graph at The Door
It's probably more common that for most jobs, even in the social business industry that a social graph on steroids won't matter that much. If I'm looking to hire a strategist then the most crucial skills are critical thinking and the ability to analyze intelligently. For project managers it's a proven track record of launching things on time and on budget. For the people who "create" things, it's the things itself that matter whether it was developed, written, shot etc. For those who manage accounts it's their book of business and their role in growing it (or not). In short, unless your job is to be an online personality (or part of your job) the net worth of your social graph becomes less relevant.
Influence Scores: A Gateway Drug
Recently I participated in a Google Hangout with Gini Dietrich (Arment-Dietrich PR, SpinSucks and Inside PR podcast), Andrew Grill (CEO of Kred) and Zena Weist (Expion) moderated Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson. In it we had a spirited debate on the state of digital influence, what it means and how it gets measured. I stressed the value of outcomes when we evaluate the meaning of digital influence because in order to claim to be influential, there has to be an outcome associated with it. Maybe that's when you should put your Klout score and other digital metrics on your resume--if you're expected to leverage your digital influence as part of your job and have the outcomes to back it up, then the value of your social graph is in play.
Enjoy the discussion below: we had fun recording it.