In the 1980s tech visionaries Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Bill Gates imagined a world where every home and every desk would have a computer.
Apple launched the Macintosh in 1984 with the iconic ad of the same name. Inspired by the book…of the same name.
But it came a year after the internet was in its embryonic state, 6 years before Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web.
These two things – personal computers and the internet – would provoke a world altering changes from how we communicate to how we buy and sell goods.
As reliance on email grew the days of posting or dropping in a copy of your CV fell by the wayside.
As networking sites became the norm all our information moved online. Today we can learn huge amounts about a person just by a casual scan of their Facebook page.
Everything from political leaning to favourite movies are all there for scrutiny.
LinkedIn similarly made it possible for professionals to share their employment history, their skill set and professional insights with their network.
But does this mean the CV is dead?
LinkedIn has allowed people who are good at their job – or seemingly good at their job – to earn Rockstar status within the LinkedIn ecosystem.
Some have cultivated the perception of high professional status by being active on the platform. Rather than necessarily being active in their profession.
There is a colossal difference between posting a statement about work ethic and taking things to the max and actually doing those things.
LinkedIn profiles – and LinkedIn as a platform – can become far less about an individual’s work history and skill set and more about their opinions. Or other people’s that they pass off as their own.
This isn’t platform bashing. LinkedIn is a highly effective tool for networking, communication and sharing valuable insights. But – as with everything – it has its problems.
In terms of a recruitment tool it’s very useful indeed.
As a record of someone’s work experience it’s practical and lays everything out nice and neatly.
But that’s the problem.
LinkedIn does all the heavy lifting for the user. Recruiters – the really good ones at any rate – can spot a good CV from a mile off.
It’s not just about recording employment history. It’s about a logical process of communicating key information quickly and effectively in order to sell oneself.
The amount of effort someone puts into their CV is also an indication of who they are as a person. If it looks rushed, it’s because it was.
If it’s full of typos they maybe don’t have that keen attention to detail, they claim to have.
More than anything it serves as an indication of how seriously the individual takes themselves as a professional. And how seriously they take you as a potential employer.
Wasting a potential employer’s time with a sloppy CV is not the way to secure interviews.
Conversely, a well written, well thought CV can provide insights into someone’s skills and experiences that simply wouldn’t be there on a LinkedIn profile.
Because it follows a standard format there isn’t the freedom to express oneself in a manner that suits the individual. It is – after all – one size fits all. Even if it doesn’t.
This is working on the assumption that everyone is on LinkedIn. Or social media in general. Which they aren’t.
LinkedIn has over 500 million users or which roughly half login each month. Where’s the other 2.5 billion employable people?
Of course, that number is vague at best, but the point is, not every top candidate can or will be found on a social network. Be it LinkedIn, Twitter or any other.
Regardless of age and experience, some people prefer not to communicate or advertise themselves in this way.
There are simple reasons for this. For one thing – your current employer could find out you are job hunting through social media. A public tweet can have the same result.
Although LinkedIn does its best to hide your status from your employer it has a disclaimer for a reason.
Admittedly the same can be said using platforms like CV Library but arguably your employer is a lot less likely to be on there.
The benefit of job sites is it allows the individual to upload their CV, in all its formatted glory. That means that when you see their profile and read their CV it doesn’t have the clutter attached with a networking tool.
It offers none of the distractions and allows you to view the person’s experience as they have presented it. Not the way someone else decided it should be.
This gives recruiters and HR teams the insight they need to determine if this person – first and foremost – has the baseline competencies in order to communicate ideas clearly. Let alone do the job.
Social Media isn’t the enemy
Truthfully, social media – alongside a well written CV – is actually very useful.
CVs gives you the information you need to know.
Platforms like LinkedIn allow you to go a little deeper. You can see the kind of content they have shared or read the articles they have written.
All important information and all that can really help a recruiter or HR person determine if the CV is on the level.
Or if the claims made on LinkedIn match the CV.
Discrepancies are red flags. It doesn’t necessarily mean wrong doing but they should absolutely be questioned.
Social media isn’t just LinkedIn, however. Some organisations supplement CVs with YouTube videos. Encouraging candidates to talk about themselves, their role or specific examples where they have excelled.
It serves as a tool to see how the candidate copes with unfamiliar situations but also whether they are a good cultural fit.
How someone speaks, their sense of humour and how they behave under stress can make or break a company culture.
Something that’s becoming increasingly more important among businesses of all sizes around the world.
Video isn’t to everyone’s taste and businesses need to weigh up the benefits of gaining insight verses the downturn in applications. Because it will inevitably put people off.
In fact, where companies have opted for ‘video only’ approach to their recruitment process they have seen a significant reduction in applications.
Arguably businesses may only want the people who are brave enough to sit in front of a camera and wax lyrical for half an hour about themselves. But company cultures – like communities – are at their best with a diverse mix of personalities.
The CV is not dead, but it is changing. But that’s okay. Change, like death and taxes, is inevitable.
It will likely become increasingly augmented or supported by online tools. CVs may become online only, hosted privately or as part of another platform.
Either way, employers will always need CVs because they’re simply too useful to the recruitment process and something tangible that be kept on file.
It can be referred to time and again, or even used as evidence if there’s a performance issue. There is a permeance to it that simply doesn’t apply to an online profile. They can be deleted with just a few clicks. Or edited and tweaked indefinitely.
A CV, once it has been sent, is a statement of skills, experience, qualifications and professionalism.
Which is precisely the point.
KDC Resource are experts in technical and engineering recruitment across aerospace, defence, emerging and disruptive technologies, space and cyber security.
If you’re looking for your next role submit your CV. Or if you’re in search of top quality talent, get in touch and a member of the team will get back to you to discuss your requirements.