Why Wikipedia Should Be Your New LinkedIn

"They be lying through they teeth; hope you slip up off your path; I don't switch up - I just laugh, put my kicks up on they desk" – Lupe Fiasco, "The Show Goes On"

NEW YORK (MainStreet)—There's a slew of articles online about how to use LinkedIn and other social media to build your resume. I utilize all those social media platforms for business and professional purposes as well, but I'm not really on a level where LinkedIn, for example, is of much use to me for a real resume. LinkedIn is my backup resume...my boring social resume...

By comparison, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, et al, have become marketing avenues for me to drive traffic to my blogs around the web. All of these platforms have strengths and weaknesses and are quite useful for different functions. I wouldn't consider any of them to be a true representation of who I am and what I'm really capable of accomplishing in a professional capacity, though. Anytime I send a cover letter and resume out to a company, I don't lead with any of my social media profiles - I link to my Wikipedia page.

Wikipedia?!? Wikihow?

People tend to forget that a lot of people use the internet for information. There are so many resources available, yet it's the open-sourced and non-profit Wikipedia that rules the realm of encyclopedic knowledge. Everyone tells you not to use Wikipedia, and that it's not a valid source. Somehow, despite these limitations, Wikipedia happens to be the top search result for nearly every legitimate search term in every search engine. So if Wikipedia is such a highly trafficked site and anyone can edit it, it only makes sense to add yourself to the mix, right?

Here's the kicker: anybody can edit Wikipedia, but whereas social media relies and rates you on who you know, Wiki-editors are only focused on what you know (as well as how well you can document and prove it). It's true that anybody can edit Wikipedia, and in our heads, that equates to complete anarchy. Since the anarchy is confined to the digital realm, a process of survival of the fittest took place in which the nerdiest and strictest grammar tyrants established a regime. You're more than welcome to edit whatever you want on Wikipedia, but it's not as easy as you think.

How I Created My Wikipedia Page

Wikipedia isn't LinkedIn; a 14-year old can't just hop on and create a work profile. I started off by building a profile. From there, I started researching topics I knew a lot about. I read through Wikipedia articles, correcting factual and grammatical errors to build up some wikirep and learn the editing format. Once I had everything down, I got to work building my page. The first time I tried, I had only been mentioned by name in the news twice. My page was marked for deletion within hours. After a week, I had gone through the full dispute resolution process and learned some valuable lessons. I put my Wiki on hold for nearly a year.

While studying yoga and law at school and in my personal time, I started writing for various blogs around the web about my experiences. By getting published as a writer on websites such as The Huffington Post, Main Street, and Lifehack, I finally had a legitimate web presence outside of my blog and social media accounts, so I built another Wikipedia page for myself. This time it went through. By providing multiple media links to cite every statement I made, I was able to build my own Wikipedia profile, while adhering to the strict guidelines on doing so.

Reaping the Benefits

Having one of the largest websites on the Internet host an encyclopedic article about me brings a level of prestige in itself. Wikipedia prides itself in documenting only notable people, and by completing this important step, I accomplished something no resume could ever put into words. Within the article are listings of my accomplishments, people I've worked with, past work experience, and links to my blogs around the web. When someone runs a background check on me, they don't have to look very far to see my accomplishments documented.

I get offers for projects all the time now. My consulting prospects have improved (although being listed on a Thompson Reuters expert witness list helps that as well). I've been contacted by several clients I wouldn't have met otherwise had it not been for Wikipedia. So far, all my LinkedIn profile has done is get me stalked by former colleagues and classmates. LinkedIn is Microsoft; Wikipedia is the Apple of my i.

Bonus Tip - Resume & Cover Letter SEO

Paper resumes are dead. If you're sending a digital file to someone, treat it like a digital file. My cover letters and resumes are filled with links, showcasing the most impressive results at the top. This gives opportunity for interaction right off the bat. If you're using old-school job search and application techniques, understand you're competing with the likes of me. And you just brought a social media account to a wikimedia frenzy.

Brian Penny is a former business analyst at Bank of America turned whistleblower, freelance writer, and Businesses for Sale consultant. He's a frequent contributor to Huffington Post, Lifehack, and HardcoreDroid. He documents his experiences working with Anonymous, practicing yoga, and fighting the banks on his blog.

More from Personal Finance

How to Fill Out a Money Order: 5 Simple Steps

How to Fill Out a Money Order: 5 Simple Steps

Who Owns Netflix? CEO Reed Hastings' Career

Who Owns Netflix? CEO Reed Hastings' Career

How to Become a Financial Advisor: What to Know

How to Become a Financial Advisor: What to Know

How to Prevent Debt From Destroying Your Retirement

How to Prevent Debt From Destroying Your Retirement

What Is Serena Williams' Net Worth?

What Is Serena Williams' Net Worth?