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The CV is not dead!


It’s hard to remember a time when the traditional CV wasn’t ‘outdated’, when someone somewhere wasn’t trying to disrupt the recruitment market with the latest alternative.

I’ve always been drawn to this idea. While all else around us is driven and updated by the latest technological trends, the great old ‘paper’ CV has stubbornly remained. However, whilst I generally embrace the new and the digital, I am yet to be convinced that a better option exists.

Personalised videos or online pages are the prominent ideas but regardless of whether you find a candidate’s video appealing, wouldn’t you ultimately want to see a CV anyway?

Yes the CV is quite rightly often considered too cold and impersonal – but I wonder if the re-think needs to be around the construction of the CV itself, not the concept as a whole.

Videos are honest…

Many technologies and companies have come and gone which have aimed at revolutionising the talent sector in this way. One example was Vonkel – a start-up based in Manchester founded by Dan Kelsall which closed its doors in October 2017.

Kelsall’s big idea was nothing new; ‘for young people the CV is dead’, and they created an app allowing young candidates to create personal videos or ‘Vonks’ as a way to stand out from the crowd, to search for organisations looking to recruit or support young people in their professional development, to connect with mentors and to start a Q&A session using the inbuilt chat portal.

Vonkel itself didn’t last, but the idea of connecting people with potential employers in more ways and on more platforms than previously possible is a good one. Kelsall was right when he noted that CVs favour both the highly qualified and those with enough experience to be rich in keywords which rules out many – especially the young.

“Videos are honest – young people immediately know whether they could work with that employer, and employers know whether that young person would fit within their culture. It often takes much less than 60 seconds to make that decision, saving time for both parties.”

There’s a lot of truth and a lot of common sense in this – but I stand by the idea that the CV is king. A great video profile can achieve the above, but serves only as a time saver on the lengthy process of setting up a first stage meeting. It can only be an addendum to the CV, not a replacement.

Every CV starts with a blank page…

There is a reason why the traditional CV has endured; it is the most comprehensive yet the most straight-forward, easy-to-digest overview of someone’s experiences, skills and achievements.

Where does it lack? Well, by nature it can be an impersonal document. Maybe it doesn’t represent people in the way they want – but my advice is simply to make it so!

Everyone starts with a blank piece of paper. It can be as personal as you wish it to be.

It should paint your picture, tell your story; not just your grades at school or university, not just your roles and achievements with employers, but also your interests, your motivations, your ambitions and your passions. As long as all the information is there for a reason, is concise and reads well then it should be included.

I wonder if too many people feel restricted by recognised CV conventions? Maybe the disruption needs to be in how people perceive and write a CV, not the use of it completely.

- by Tariq Siraj

Posted by: Beament Leslie Thomas