Is the CV dead?

Among the many hats I wear when helping candidates is that of a CV writer, and having had a chance to think about this question I’ve come down firmly in the ‘no’ camp, which is not just in the spirit of self-preservation, honest! Here are my five reasons why I think the CV will be around for a while yet.

1. Candidate clues

Like every recruiter, I’ve seen good CVs, bad CVs and some very random CVs, but that’s the attraction.

It tells me as a recruiter how the jobseeker uses information and how they put it together in a logical process to sell themselves (or not, as the case may be). It also gives a clue to the personality of the candidate, which can be helpful when reaching a hiring decision.

Somehow a LinkedIn profile does not do this yet in the same way. About half the clients I deal with consider LinkedIn a nice-to-have rather than a must-have and don’t put the same amount of effort in to reviewing this as they would a CV.

Yet, despite all of the advice available, there are still candidates who get some of the details in their CV spectacularly wrong. As a result, despite potentially having the skills for the role, their application is not going to go any further.

2. Not everyone tweets

There are still a lot of potential candidates on the market who do not use LinkedIn or Twitter.

I recently supported a council recruitment event in the Midlands where a number of the candidates were in the process of being made redundant. In an unscientific poll of 20 candidates I met only one who had a LinkedIn account, while over half had never even heard of it. For them and for many of the Welfare to Work candidates that I work with, the CV will be the starting point of the job search for some time to come.

3. Social media isn’t a complete threat

One business that I know of has already run a campaign stating that it only wanted YouTube videos from candidates by way of application and that it wasn’t interested in receiving CVs.

While I always applaud innovation in recruitment, and this campaign certainly grabbed a few headlines at the time, I know the number of applications received was down on previous campaigns, and that the company now accepts CVs alongside YouTube downloads.

For me, social media and the CV can work well alongside each other and can complement the candidate as a package, but I think it will be a while before social media makes the CV obsolete.

4. Spontaneous candidates 

A lot of candidates still like to speculatively approach companies and are encouraged to do so by job boards. This is a proactive approach to take as many businesses have a talent bank even if they have no immediate roles available, so it can pay off in the long run.

I just can’t see candidates speculatively sending links to companies’ Twitter accounts and LinkedIn profiles, rather than a full CV, but I’d be interested to see if this changes over time.

5. Image would be everything

The CV will evolve and we are already seeing some fantastic innovation in this area. I’ve been really impressed by some of the video technology being used, although from a personal view point I’m not sure how my Black Country accent would come across if I ever had to do one.

And here is the primary concern: that non-HR professionals will focus on how the candidate is in front of the camera rather than on the content they are putting across.

So for what it’s worth the CV is vital to the application process for now and looking at some of the research from recent polls of HR directors I’m certainly not alone in thinking this. So for me, I guess I’ll be wearing my CV writing hat for a little while yet and I have to say I’m pleased about that for now. Long live the CV!


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