Do you really need a traditional, two-page, paper CV in this day and age to find a job? It’s an interesting question and one I’m not sure I should be asking, seeing as I spend some of my professional life writing CVs for my coaching clients.
But with the arrival of online platforms like LinkedIn and jobs being advertised “ad hoc” on Twitter, some people are starting to question the value of the old-fashioned CV. Many employers ask you to complete a lengthy application form and don’t require a CV at all. The recruiters I know who do receive a traditional CV from a candidate often straight away enter their name into Google to check out their digital footprint. It’s almost as if the CV doesn’t matter anymore.
Patrick Ambron, chief executive of brandyourself.com, a US-based business that helps people “clean up” their online presence, says that three quarters of American employers Google candidates for jobs. “There’s one billion names Googled every single day so like it or not, Google is your first impression.”
So perhaps, as unemployment reaches 2.5m and more and more qualified, experienced people are joining the dole queue, we can do away with the straightforward paper CV? Surely it’s outdated in this world of digital prowess?
The answer, however, is that you do still need a CV, at least for the time being. For most jobs in Britain, the first action is still to “send in your CV”. But it’s now becoming increasingly important that you back up your paper status with a positive online presence.
Assume that you’ve just fired off your CV for a job you really want. Assume, also, that the employer types your name into Google. What will they find?
Will hirers be pleased; are they likely to come across a series of positive digital footsteps, such as an up-to-date LinkedIn page, a personal blog written by yourself in your (jobs) area of interest or will they instead find some rather embarrassing photos of you having a little too much fun on Facebook?
There are plenty of options beyond LinkedIn, such as a professional page on Facebook and Twitter to help build your online ‘sales’ presence. Another approach might be to develop an online CV that is so innovative it goes viral.
Frenchman Philippe Dubost, who does also happen to be a web product manager, came up with the brilliant idea of creating his online CV as an Amazon page complete with product dimensions, five star ratings and the byline: “Only one left in stock order soon”. It was a clever idea and his “CV”, which he created on January 13, has had 1.3m unique visitors (and counting) and he has reportedly received (so far) over 100 job offers.
Other innovative ways jobseekers have caught recruiters’ attention include Bennett Olson, who took out a billboard in America last April saying “hire me!” By the time his local radio station picked up the story, he had already been offered a decent job.
You may not have the inclination or the expertise to create an “Amazon CV”, but making sure you have a professional online presence that helps to differentiate you from other job hunters will put you ahead in today’s very competitive job market.