Is the C.V. obsolete?

Caroo will be exhibiting at Tech Show North this year.

Your old road is rapidly agin’. Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand, for the times they are a-changin’ — Bob Dylan, 1964

To be fair to the gravelly throated folk scamp, no-one could have predicted just how much the times were to a-change in the ensuing 50 plus years. All facets of life have changed drastically in the last 20, ten, even five years, especially the world of work.

As younger generations start entering the world of employment, the ways in which they gather and share information is dictating how they navigate the potential minefield of finding work. So why should they have to fill out a tedious CV and hand it out left right and centre just because it’s what we’ve always done? Nuts to that, it doesn’t make sense.

Let’s get rid of the CV. I mean, just look at the acronym itself – CV – curriculum vitae; Latin. A dead language. Thank you for your service, we’ve had a good run but pack your things and move on.

It’s strange that we as a society only cling on to a couple of select norms, while being ruthless in how we change with other things. Look at the Yellow Pages; it used to be as thick as a log, but now resembles a pamphlet because we all realised that Google is faster, more convenient, more accurate.

The high street used to bustling and fit to burst because it was the only place you could pick up whatever your heart desired, but then eBay, Amazon et al came along and decimated the competition by having a greater range of products, for cheaper, all able to be conveniently ordered from your armchair. Now granted, the Yellow Pages and the high street are still there, but they’re no longer the de facto way of doing things, more an alternative option.

Why can’t we treat CVs the same way?

Chances are, you’ve come across someone else’s CV, whether you’ve been hiring, passed one on to a colleague who is hiring, or helped a friend write one. Now raise your hands if you found the process of looking over other CVs a rewarding and engaging task that helped you get a feel for a person’s personality…

…no, put your hand down and stop lying.

No-one likes writing them, no-one likes reading them. They’re just a boring plodding procession where we try to curb our own personalities in order to put across a version of ourselves that we think would be ‘acceptable’ in the workplace. How many companies have been disappointed when these on-paper superstars are far different in reality and, more importantly, how many people have gone into roles trying to live up to their ‘CV self’ and ended up miserable and stifled at work? Even worse, imagine the amount of times where a company and candidate have been an absolute one-in-a-million perfect fit, but because the candidate’s CV wasn’t exemplary they were bluntly cast aside into the literal and figurative waste paper bin.

We need to rethink how we sell ourselves. You hear stories all the time about someone who hid their CV in a tray of donuts, or posted it on a billboard, or who glued their CV to the back of a goat and sent it to cause havoc in an office. These are all well and good, but if you’re needing bribery, a substantial advertising budget or pure unbridled anarchy to get someone just to read the damn thing then surely this shows how ineffective CVs really are.

We are all going increasingly mobile, we all know this, and this is the way our employment profiles should go. A 2017 report by Return Path showed that email usage alone was up to 55% against desktop, up from 29% in 2012 — an increase of 26% in just five years. If we switch focus to video content, a report from Word Stream tells us that over half of all video content is viewed on mobile, with more than 500 million hours of video content watched on YouTube per day.

Switch focus again to online marketing and you find the following (via Word Stream):

  • 51% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI.
  • Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users.
  • 64% of consumers make a purchase after watching branded social videos (via tubularinsights).
  • 59% of executives agree that if both text and video are available on the same topic, they are more likely to choose video.
  • Social video generates 12 times more shares than text and images combined.
  • Views on branded video content have increased 258% on Facebook and 99% on YouTube as of June 2017 (via tubularinsights)

So when you think of your CV as a form of advertising, why on earth are we still messing about with a single sheet of A4 paper? The evidence is clear, the future is video.

Not only would video job applications allow candidates to succinctly project their personality, but it will also save hiring managers and recruiters a boat-load of time, never mind help save the environment. Granted, they famously reckon the average recruiter only spends six seconds looking at a CV before moving on, but imagine how much you can get into six seconds of video? Hooking them straight away with visuals is far easier than with Times New Roman 11pt. on white A4.

Let’s change it up, consign the CV to the history books like all other relics.