There’s only a small percentage of people that I’ve come across – throughout my time in the HR and recruitment industry – that have not relied on a CV or even an interview to get a job.

Are CVs relevant today?

As a HR and recruitment service provider, this is a question that I get asked often and my answer is YES.  The reason being is that the humble CV is still the method that the vast majority of people use when applying for roles.

So, why do we still have CVs in the format that they are in? Is it because we have become accustomed to using CVs or are we holding back on other mediums such as video or our LinkedIn profile?  CVs are a chronological way of outlaying our skills, experience and background. They show who we are, what we’re capable of and what we’ve achieved.  When someone refers a person to me, one of the first things that is said is “I’ll get them to send you their CV”.  I’ll then go onto LinkedIn, which is virtually an online CV.  On LinkedIn, I’m able to confirm what’s on their CV and ensure that the information is accurate.  However, there are often some discrepancies between the two as not everyone will want to make their movements public.

What does the future hold for CVs?

I personally think that they will still be around for a while and are a vital part of the recruitment process.  The method in which they are delivered will change (as LinkedIn is proving).  I now go straight to someone’s LinkedIn profile if I want to find out more about them. CVs are also becoming much more creative and visual as people try to find ways to make themselves stand out from the crowd.  However, I am still looking for the following components:

  • Structure – is it easy to follow?
  • How is the grammar? Can they spell?
  • Do they have the relevant skills and experience for the role and achievements?
  • What are their interests and hobbies?

I believe how we utilise the different tools or mediums to create short-lists to find the right candidates will change. At Hello Monday, we are trialling video CVs as way of shortlisting candidates for some of the roles that we are recruiting for.  I recently came across a YouTube video, where medical students in Japan – who were wanting to be surgeons – were put through an assessment where they had to make miniature origami and sushi within a time frame.  This quickly separated the highly skilled students from the rest.

My short (but sweet) tips for building your CV:

  • Carefully read the advert and understand what is being asked. Have you included the parts of your background and experience relevant to the role?
  • Tailor your Cover Letter (if requested) and CV for the role. Recruiters know that you’re applying for other jobs, so try and personalise your application so we know that you’ve taken the time to apply for the role.
  • Make it easy for the reader. CVs that start in reverse chronological order make it difficult to establish what your current situation is e.g. I like to know what you’re doing now, not what you were doing ten years ago.  If you’ve left a company then make that clear, rather than leaving it as 2013 to present.
  • Include your achievements: how did you increase revenue? How did you reduce employee turnover? How did you successfully win new accounts? The reader wants to know the method you go about achieving your success.
  • Get someone to proofread your CV before you send it out. I still receive a great deal of CVs and Cover Letters with poor spelling and grammar.  Recruiters look at thousands of CVs and will often put these straight to the side.

Good luck with your search if you are on the hunt for a new role.  Please feel free to email me if you would some feedback on your CV.

By Will Allan