RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. Job seekers face a new paradigm – leveraging social media – as a tough economy looks to go frigid this winter. How can you make yourself stand out from the crowd when openings are fewer and competition is tougher in this era of social media?

Aaron Houghton, one of the brightest young entrepreneurs The Skinny has the pleasure of knowing, put the emerging hiring paradigm succinctly when asked what advice he would give job seekers:

“Don’t even think about applying for a job unless you have a public profile on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and have a well-developed personal blog with several intelligent and passionate posts on your area of expertise. Companies are looking for connected high-tech innovators so don’t expect to get picked up with only a traditional list of experience, titles and accolades on a resume.”

The essentials of a resume remain important, and a blog-on-paper of past achievements rather than just a list of previous jobs always has been crucial. So, too, were the ol’ boy/girl networks of contacts that could help you find jobs or put in a good word.

But Houghton, who is co-founder and chairman of e-mail marketing firm iContact in Durham, points out in his advice just how social networking is changing the job process.

For example, consider his note about “connected high-tech innovators.” These are not just friends or past bosses giving you a reference. They are business leads.

While you could boast in traditional resumes about awards and such, did you tout your inside connections in a particular industry? Even if you did, did you cite them by name as a LinkedIn profile would show?

How do you interact in a multimedia environment, something that will show how you might handle a sales call or an important videoconference? A YouTube video can show your strengths – or weaknesses. Just think how much more knowledge someone can gain about you from a video as compared with a “still” photo and a list of words?

Facebook provides an opportunity for job-seekers to spell out in much greater detail what they are all about as individuals, as workers, as family members, as community participants. More and more companies are putting an increasing amount of importance on community participating. Are you giving as well as receiving?

The idea of personal blogs and what Houghton called “intelligent and passionate posts” is a striking one. Never before the Web have so many people had an opportunity to express themselves. A potential employer can learn a great deal about an individual from those personal writings. Reporters and writers are used to the process of providing “clips” (samples) to editors. Now everyone has the challenge of explaining who and what they are through the written word.

Social media certainly are changing the resume you submit. Are you up to the challenge? If so, a new or better job just might come your way.