You’ve probably read articles and blogs proclaiming the demise of the CV, but as Mark Twain said in response to a similar announcements in relation to himself, “reports of my death are greatly exaggerated!” As a Career Consultant I do what I can to dismiss this persistent rumour, but what’s the story behind this claim?

We know that technology creates disruptive change and it’s now the turn of the human resources and recruitment sector to experience this. The CV is in a state of flux. It is being reinvented and repositioned in response to the opportunities (and challenges) of social and professional media, and software-enabled selection processes and recruitment analytics.

Let’s begin with the employer’s perspective as key consumers of the CV product. People are still an organisation’s primary asset (and primary cost) but the availability of powerful recruitment software is changing recruitment practice, permitting a systematic, 360 degree profiling of candidates, and the ranking of candidates with each other and against job criteria.  Video or audio interviewing software can schedule, record and analyse candidate interviews.   Software can also provide comprehensive and well-organised data (and insights) from candidates’ initial applications and other selection activities such as online assessment tests and assessment centres. Key organizational staff (HR, departmental managers, senior specialists) can view and assess candidate information conveniently in relation to time and location. Recruitment activity can be automatically logged to provide a detailed analysis of recruitment and selection inputs and outcomes and provide a cost per hire figure.

With this new frontier of more time-cost efficient processes and deeper candidate insights, employers have become more specific about what they want to see in the CV product. They can decide what weighting it will be given within their selection process. The CV may be the main shortlisting tool or a supplement to other tools developed to collect candidate data, such as online application forms, assessment tests, video- and audio-based candidate data.  Some employers provide guidelines to prospective applicants on CV content, others employ application forms with sections in which the candidate supplies CV-type information, making the provision of a CV in some instances, optional or unnecessary.

The proliferation of candidate information-gathering tools may mean that the substantive face to face interviews occur later in the selection process and that by this stage of proceedings, interviewers will have had access to comprehensive personal and evaluative data on each candidate prior to the interview.  If/when this is the case, there may be implications for how candidates prepare for such interviews, and interestingly, also raises the issue of what weighting the actual interview has as part of the selection process.

From the candidates perspective, it is useful to focus on providing employers with a CV product that adds value to their end goal of ‘best’ candidate selection in a process that must be thorough as well as cost and time-efficient. Employers can no longer be treated as a mass market, buying a ‘one-size-fits-all’ CV. They have their own demographic characteristics and expect a customized product that connects with the knowledge, competencies, experience, and talents that they are seeking.

For today’s applicant, the CV is a more complex product than any previous generations required. A CV will always have a place in any candidate’s jobsearch but CV content and what it actually looks like visually, will vary a great deal. A successful CV sends a positive message about a candidate in relation to concise written communication, the capacity for self-reflection and analysis and the ability to connect with an audience in an engaging and purposeful way. For some employers the visual impact of the CV is also critical. Go to Google Images and search on ‘Cool CVs’ for a little inspiration.

Well-considered and articulated CV content can be copied or adjusted for use in other media to create different types of connections (i.e. other than employer-candidate) with employers, such as ‘follower’, ‘endorser’ or member of a community of interest.  There is also the option of a Video CV but content is often generic rather than targeted and is best supported with an actual CV document that can be easily customised.

Remember that a CV is a regularly updated repository of key facts and information – work and academic history, credentials and accomplishments, awards and publications, and as such, still plays a key role on any jobsearch and will also serve as a resource for interviews. The times they are indeed a-changin but don’t abandon your efforts to create a beautiful CV quite yet.


Blog title is the title of a Bob Dylan song The Times They Are a-Changin’

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Advice, CVs, Graduate jobs, Job application