It’s can feel unfair: times change, and at times changes wrenchingly. The process leaves some people a bit adrift – and, you, my friend, were one of them.

Who are you? Why, the person who listed – proudly, among their core strengths – the phrase “Extensive Rolodex“.

(Music from the Age of the Rolodex)

I know why you did it – and, I’m sympathetic. Not too long ago, the phrase “exetensive rolodex” was connotative in a positive sense. It implied connections. It meant, as a sales person, you were a door opener. You’d played golf with “Big Deals”, and had steak dinners at Morton’s with “Very Important Decision Makers.”

The problem is… time changed. Subtleties shifted. Connotations – tricky at the best of time, really – flipped in some cases. Black became white, up is down, cats and dogs, people living together –  wait, sorry. Still.

(Just staying in theme – plus, I finally have a thin excuse to use this clip in a posting)

Here’s what happened: SalesForce.com. LinkedIn. Twitter. The three horsemen of the salesperson’s apocolypse. Unconferences. Foursquare (those horsemen have friends – lots and lots of ’em). Rolodex, my earnest applicant, came to mean something else: stodgy. Out of touch. Lacking in essential tools and understandings. Unwillkng to keep up. No longer a deal-closer. Gasp: analog. You are not – it screams – with these times.

Here’s my general advice: find someone who you think stands on the other side of that time-chasm, and ask them to read your resume brutally. Find out what kind of signals you’re sending out, and make sure they’re still good ones. Chances are, you’re very good at what you do. But, like the super-talented sales rep who shows up to a sales call wearing a leisure suit, you’re coming across all wrong.

And, for those of engineers sniggering, you’d better not have Cobol or Fortran on your resume….

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