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Should we get rid of the CV?

10th June 2019

The CV is often the first contact you’ll have with a recruiter or hiring manager. It is the document with which you make a first impression, attempt to prove you’re right for a role and it is on the basis of the CV that you’ll be progressed to the next round in the screening process. Or not. Much hangs on the quality of your CV.

But for years, industry commentators have questioned whether the CV is still a pre-requisite or redundant, what with the uptake in newer, faster recruitment tools. So is it still relevant, or is it time we got rid of the CV? We examine a few arguments for and against.

For: Most employers still want a CV

It’s a job-hunting given: you want to apply for a job? Then you submit a CV. This (roughly) two –page document which states exam grades you earned years ago, interests that have no bearing on the job and reels off your most recent professional achievements. It’s a pain to create and keep updated but it is what most employers – however progressive they may be – still ask for. If you don’t have a CV, you’re at a serious disadvantage.

Against: CVs encourage inflexibility

We all know recruiters and hiring managers only scan a CV for seconds. If they don’t see the essential skills and experience, then it goes in the ‘we’ll keep your details on file’ pile. There’s no scope for identifying potential that could be trained and developed into gaining those skills, nor any thought for team fit. CVs, used this way, can be extremely limiting and see employers missing out on incredible talent.

For: Allows passive candidates to be discovered

Many job hunters submit their CVs to job boards, leaving them there to be discovered by eagle-eyed recruiters when the right role arises. These candidates aren’t actively searching, and known as ‘passive’, but are open to new opportunities. Recruiters often like to search for passive candidates, which makes this a positive use of the CV. That said, LinkedIn offers the same chances of discovery.

Against: Job searching has moved on

Recruitment technology and talent attraction attitudes have moved on significantly in recent years. Attend an industry show such as Unleash and you’ll hear all sorts of discussions about recruitment AI and gamification of the hiring process, where CVs don’t play a part.

For: CVs offer a level playing field

Okay, appreciating what we’ve said above, there is an argument for the CV as a tool which provides a level playing field in terms of the application process. Not everyone has access to the internet or the capability to produce attention-grabbing video resumes. The requirement for a CV is something that most people can fulfil.

Against: They can lack focus

Your LinkedIn profile is separated into sections, which guides the author as to roughly what to write. Not so the CV. Though many people follow a standard format, plenty of recruiters will attest to receiving rambling, four-page tomes, detailing the candidate’s life story. It can be difficult to pick out the relevant elements, when a CV lacks such focus, and they’re barely worth the paper they’re typed on.

For: It can be tailored and customised as appropriate

Perhaps the failing of a LinkedIn profile is that you only have one, and while it can be changed, tweaked and customised as much as you can be bothered to do, it’s a public document and the changes may come over as a bit suspicious. Whereas you can keep multiple copies of your CV, which are tailored discreetly for the job in hand – i.e. highlighting particular skills and therefore can be considered a more effective tool.

Though the world of work moves on at an incredible pace, there’s clearly still a big place for the traditional CV, provided it’s used alongside other tools, with an open mind and together with guidance from the recruiter – particularly with regard to developing potential, rather than looking for ‘the one’. The CV remains the universally-accepted application tool, but what do you think? Let us know…

And if you’d like to submit your CV for any of our current vacancies, then please do so, and one of our consultants will be in touch.