Reflections on Career issues

A printed CV in the age of social media

The Guardian recently published an article about the worth of a traditional CV in an age of social media, concluding by talking to various experts in the field that the print CV is still essential for job hunting. Bearing this in mind, the format and content of a written CV is debated in the context of a CV rewrite by a recruitment site where the candidate (and recruitment agencies) felt her CV was better off before the rewrite!

Careers Insight undertakes CV reviews and this article reminded me of a recent conversation with a senior recruiter, who rather gruffly asked me how I go about doing a CV review. I replied that I don’t rewrite CVs for people – I work collaboratively with them, using careful questioning to elicit as much information as possible about their work and life and then with a fresh pair of eyes, look again at the document together to ensure it is maximising their experience and selling points. Sometimes it is merely a matter of reordering information, sometimes reframing information, sometimes adding information and, needless to say, sometimes removing irrelevant information. With a great sigh of relief, she replied that she could tell whose CVs had been rewritten by a professional CV writer and those were the first to go in the recycle bin.

The benefit of a coaching approach to CV review is made in the article by Anthony Sutton, managing director of Cream HR who says that good (CV review) services will be those “who will take a coaching approach and spend time talking to you”. As Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the association of Graduate recruiters says, “the process is the real attraction of your CV … A CV isn’t just about having something to give to someone else, it is about reflecting on who you are and working out what you have to offer.”

Although it is increasingly common and I would argue, necessary, for job seekers to have online CVs, Linked-in profiles and even social media resumes, the printed CV will be with us for some time to come and is still a powerful selling tool.  It’s too easy to get over familiar with your own career story – and this is where a fresh pair of eyes and a mind attuned to what recruiters are really looking for can be of real value. Not writing the story for you, just nudging you in the right direction.

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January 31st, 2012

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