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Union Square Ventures Proving-Online Presence IS the Asset of the Future

Twitter and Foursquare investor Union Square Ventures is hiring two associates and by doing so are proving the point that an online presence is the most valuable asset we can own. I’ve been making this point a lot over the last year. Our online presence will become the most valuable asset we own, even more valuable than our home.

To find candidates USV blogged about the openings on their website and Fred Wilson a partner in the firm posted about them on his blog. No recruiter, no Monster.com postings, no 3rd party sourcing. Just two blog posts. USV and Fred have built a huge following. They already had an audience.

I have no visibility into how many applications were submitted, but if the number of comments is any indication, it’s over 100.

What really makes this interesting is that USV asked candidates for just 3 things: a link to their LinkedIn profile, a way to be contacted and a cover letter. They asked the cover letter contain nothing more than links to the candidates online presence. That’s it. No resume required.

USV is using online presence as the key criteria to identify the ideal candidates for their next associates. I love this idea. It’s a heck of a filter. Anyone who hasn’t taken the time to build their online presence is automatically filtered out. No need to reply. Harsh, but it’s where things are going.

What I like about this approach is it focuses on what what the candidates do, not what they say. It’s hard to B.S. your way around an empty Twitter and Facebook profile. You can’t “hide” the fact that you don’t have a blog or haven’t posted in 6 months. By focusing on applicants online presence, USV will have amazing insight into how candidates, think, write, interact, engage, and collaborate. An online presence is a living resume that doesn’t lie.

I think USV is going about this the right way. You can learn a lot about someone by following, reading and engaging with their online presence. An online presence isn’t a polished document with an agenda like a resume and that is exactly the problem with resumes. They hide as much as they share. Watching and engaging with someones online presence is the closest thing to be a fly on the wall. You get to see the real person.

If you don’t have an online presence, you’re not going to a job with one of the most prestigious venture capital firms in the country and that is too bad, because you could be a wonderful fit for them. If you are one of the lucky ones who is hired, your online presence catapulted you into the exciting and lucrative world of venture capital and that is worth something.

How much is an online presence worth? In this case it’s worth 2 years at Union Square Ventures; investors in Twitter, FourSquare, Disqus and more of the Internets hottest properties. That’s worth a lot.

USV will not be the last company to hire this way. More and more companies will use an online presence in their hiring decisions.

An online presence will be the most valuable asset you will own. Start investing!

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