Georgie’s take on the importance of CVs

June 28, 2011 | By Georgie Carpenter


I had quite a few people ask me recently if I thought that the traditional CV was still alive and well. With sites like LinkedIn where your entire work history, plus a bunch of recommendations are for public view, and is easily downloadable as a PDF CV alternative, why do people need to bother with time consuming CV writing? I reckon it’s quite a good question actually. Why do we?

Here’s a four reasons why I think the CV is still important.

Number 1: Public sites like LinkedIn (which are very important by the way) are just that – public. Your CV is private and confidential.

It is implicit when you send somebody your CV that they not distribute it without your permission. This is good because on your private CV, you may create a narrative per project or per role outlining little things that you may not want others to read but are perfectly in order to outline who you are and what you have achieved in your career. ie. “This project was a massive disaster! We didn’t meet the deadline, we had scope creep you wouldn’t believe, BUT because of this nasty as process I was able to use this experience to make my case for the implementation of a true Agile methodology, migrate the development environment to Open Source and show my bones as a Leader of people” etc etc. You get what I mean? I think it’s super important for your next employer to know that even through some craziness, you can maintain a cool head, create a nice narrative on paper about things that other people might not really want anyone to know about and still really show off what you’re made of.

Number 2: People use recruiters for a reason.

And recruiters use databases. A load of these databases use keyword search as their main functionality. I don’t want to get into a huge debate about how rubbish this is – it’s the way it is right now. If your CV isn’t searchable, then unless you have a recruiter with a ridiculously good memory, then you won’t be found for all of those delicious positions. This isn’t the way recruitment is heading I believe, but right now, searchable CV’s are how it is.

Number 3: Your CV has a stamp of your style.

You can’t do this with all online career history sites. They have their own template and that’s it. Yeah, recruiters tend to pull apart your nicely designed CV and format it into their own branding, but they get to see the original item and use this to determine if you get a look into their (sometimes exclusive) jobs.

Number 4: Hiring Managers are still a touch conservative in this town.

They want all the info. All of it. Make it easier for them to want to see you. It’s a rule of thumb in the workplace hey? Make it as easy as you can for people to do what you need them to do. In this case, book you in for an interview, suss you out and hopefully at the end of it all, offer you a mad job.

There are some really cool CVs out there. But a word of warning – I don’t really care how great it looks – does it have the substance?

Photo by David Davies.