Top tip for your CV - Get rid of it..

Catching up on Twitter yesterday, a tweet by Matt Alder caught my eye. Called 'Resumes are Old School, Use SlideShare & Twitter to Get Hired' Matt was referring to the story of Laura Gainor, PR and Media Strategist at Comet Branding who used Twitter and Slideshare to secure her current role. He blogged about it here.

Given we are currently in navel gazing mode, it made me think long and hard about the validity of CV's in this age of social media. Like job descriptions, CV's seem to have been around since we first discovered fire and not only are they feeling pretty tired as a format, they are also responsible for a significant amount of the chronic waste and inefficiency within the recruitment supply chain.

It seems that, over the years, we have taken this decades-old format and built systems and processes around it
rather than re invent the CV itself. Thinking about our business, a huge proportion of our cost base is built around the management, processing and storing of the CV's, particularly when you take into account the fact the amount of time consultants and administrators spend 'eyeballing' each CV.

It's made worse by the fact that, at the
time of processing, many of these CV's are either irrelevant or not appropriate for the role(s) at hand and many are being 'handled' at least twice. Sometimes more for serial applicants.

We do have systems that manage this for us of course - we are not doing this manually! But with the best will, and system, in the world, with 4000+ CV's to process a month, it bothers me that we ultimately get so little from so much. Even the slickest systems still result in the consultant reviewing a CV, albeit on the screen.

In these web driven times, I feel we have welcomed the shift to online with open arms without thinking seriously how we can streamline things first. In fact, its a classic business process re-engineering mistake - Automating before simplifying.

Of course, to 're invent' the CV or move to online profiles like Linkedin, would present significant problems for recruiters whose existing technology and processes are designed to handle, download or store a CV's. A candidate obviously cant 'send' you his/her LinkedIn profile in a format that you can 'save' or store like you do a word document. Well, not quite anyway. But just because there is currently a technical and process barrier to moving away from the CV, it doesn't mean that we shouldn't. Moving away from the CV might just also force a rethink and redesign in the whole recruitment system/ATS sector, which lets face it, would not be a bad thing.

Me? Well I'm not likely to be looking for a job anytime soon (hopefully!), but i have decided my CV is going to stay where it is - on my hard drive somewhere, never to be seen again. I have my linked in profile and happy with that. Its also a lot easier to keep up to date. Is it really such a big step for someone to use that instead of my CV? I think not.

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Comment by Alasdair Murray on March 19, 2010 at 6:07am
I would say slow down, we move too fast. Many people aren;t even up to speed with the web yet. Because one person used technology to get a job isn't an indication that everyone should be doing it. What next, some bright spark suggests we do away with the handshake and adopt the Venutian nose rub as a form of greeting? Old habits die hard as do methods of putting yourself in front of an employer. It's too soon to be advocating doing away with CVs. Far too soon - in my humble opinion of course :)
Comment by Gareth Jones on March 19, 2010 at 7:14am
Oh absolutely Alasdair! I'm a realist so i know that the cases mentioned are one offs right now. but as i am currently reviewing our business operations for both short term and longer term improvements, im thinking very broadly. The point i was trying to make really was that when you take a step back, you really see the issues and how they were created. Its summed up by the line 'automation before simplification'. Its the biggest crime in business operations and the recruitment market/process has really suffered from it.

I don't anticipate any changes at all frankly. Like i said, I'm a realist. The truth is that if we want this to become a reality for our organisation, we are going to have to reinvent our business in such a way that we don't actually get involved with CV's at all. That's what we are working on now.

Thanks for the comment!
Comment by Alasdair Murray on March 19, 2010 at 7:17am
My pleasure Gareth. Your blogs are always interesting and thought provoking. I think it's good that some forward thinking employers like yourself are taking a longer term view, but the trouble is that as long sighted as your view is, so there are a hundred short sighted employers who haven't even embraced social media et al yet.


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