CVs have not moved with the times. Although the recruitment industry has benefited greatly from technological advances and social media (in particular LinkedIn), CVs still look the same as they did twenty years ago. Why is this? Is it because two or three pages of information outlining someone's personal profile, career background and qualifications is still the best of way of ascertaining someone's suitability for a job role?
Personally, I think not. There has to be a better way! Whether it is sole use of an existing LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook profile, or it means a new website or piece of technology that automatically generates a virtual CV based on one or all of the above, we must drive this willingness for change forwards - if only for the sake of trees and our desk space! Not only do CVs still look the same as they did twenty years ago, but they have continued to be of a generally poor quality.
I see around twenty to thirty CVs a day, from people working in a diverse range of sectors and various degrees of seniority. The level of spelling, grammar, layout and readability is quite shocking, and I don't mean that in a good way! This even holds true at senior management and director level. I regularly hear of candidates who have applied for up to fifty jobs at a time and have not heard anything back, and guess what? It's probably down to your poor CV! I have previously considered the possibility of using a professional CV writing service myself, but never felt the value of this would justify the cost, over and above what I could do myself. Maybe everyone thinks the same.
My experience of working as an In-house Recruiter for ten years has since told me that for the majority of people, this would be money well spent - particularly in today’s candidate rich environment. From a candidate's perspective, a CV has one sole purpose. To get them an interview. Surely then, it is vitally important to take the time to make that CV more representative of "you on a piece of paper", rather than just a bland list of key skills (which are mostly generic copy and paste jobs) and a list of previous job roles and companies? Not so it seems, according to the majority!
From a recruiter's point of view, a CV should make the candidate come alive and stand out from the crowd. Whilst this is not easy to achieve on a simple piece of A4 paper, it can be achieved using imagination, good use of key skills and taking the time to ensure copy and grammar is correct and laid out in an attractive and succinct manner. In my eyes we still need something new.
I would far rather engage with prospects on LinkedIn and Twitter to assess their skill and personality fit to a job role or company culture, rather than reading countless pages of text. I'm sure that the majority of other in-house recruiters and managers out there must feel the same. I would love to hear your thoughts or comments on this. A version of this article was originally written for House Magazine on 5th May 2014.