Is the CV/résumé dead or does it just need resuscitation?
In matching talent to a role, should we still rely on a piece of paper founded 500 years ago, named after a dead language or should we evolve?
The world is transforming. The end game is phygital – a world where technology bridges the physical and digital worlds. Brick and mortar businesses are adding digital elements. Digital experiences are exploring tangible expressions.
Traditional institutions, such as law, medicine, and recruitment, are entering the fray of automation and convenience for both customer and business. It’s just a matter of time before this new ecosystem permeates all business.
Let’s consider a phygital approach to recruitment – and specifically, the cipher and soul of applying for, and securing a job, by exploring with the traditional résumé or Curriculum Vitae (CV for short). But before we determine if the résumé is approaching being an endangered species, let’s step back through history to examine its origins.
A résumé or CV broadly translates as “the course of my life” – and that is exactly what it was designed to convey. The term is a Latin derivative – the language that everyone spoke in Europe at some point, now preserved only as a relic in the curricula of the poshest universities.
Five good soul stars for anyone who can name the inventor of the résumé?
None other than Italian Renaissance polymath, Leonardo Da Vinci! – who, in 1482, wrote on one sheet of paper, his skills and experience, and submitted it to the Duke of Milan, who was in search of military engineers – and got the job! No surprise there – that dude could do anything.
This format essentially outlined his professional “journey” and was deemed so successful as a talent vetting process that it’s still in frenetic email ping pong today.
In those days (and throughout the middle ages), a résumé spouted data ad nauseam; age, eye color, number and names of children, shoe size, and a plentitude of other details privacy laws would enjoy preventing today.
Based on his own good advice...
“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” ― Leonardo da Vinci
...it’s very unlikely that Leonardo would have let the paper-based résumé remain with the many multimedia elements at his fingertips today.
Sure, employers are still interested in where you came from, which sweatshirt school you attended, and what your father did; but there is equal interest in who you actually are, how you go about your work, and what impact you’ve had in the real world.
Sure, a résumé might be beautifully laid out – no more than 2 pages, most important things first, alight with buzzwords, and screaming with subtle omissions like when you went off the grid between 2015 - 2017.
According to Forbes, recruiters only spend an average of 6.25 seconds looking at a candidate’s résumé before deciding whether they are fit for a job.
Rifling through résumés is generally like playing platitude bingo. Everyone is “results-driven,” a “great team player” who “works well independently” and amazingly has a “strong attention to detail”, alongside “great communication skills”.
Such are the communication skills of these people that they all relied on the same “Top 10 tips for your resume” site they found on Google. As none of them had the attention to detail to scroll past the first page of search results.
“No one remembers you for standing in the crowd. But they do remember you for standing out of it.” – Eddie Harris
Boil it down to what is the need and it’s simple. We need the best person who will rock the role and fit in around here. Where things get lost in translation is, does the person on paper accurately display the person in real life and, more specifically, in the role they are being pursued for?
In an age of employee engagement, sure employers want to know where you’ve come from and what you’ve done, but they also want to see who you are, how you show up, and how you will contribute to making the boat go faster.
And in the age of online shopping, as we have all experienced – the packaging doesn’t always accurately reflect what’s in the box.
So the question is: in matching talent to role, should we still rely on a piece of paper founded 500 years ago, named after a dead language?
Let’s look at some alternative approaches:
At Good Soul Hunting, we know that the traditional résumé, valuing tenure and the long list of antiquated work examples, does little to convince a pioneering well-tech startup of the personality, attitude, and exponential learning tenacity that makes them the perfect soul for the organization?
“If you want to fly in the sky, you need to leave the earth. If you want to move forward, you need to let go of the past that drags you down.” – Amit Ray
Gen Z is testament to the lack of importance of traditional résumés. A survey of 2,000 UK employees, conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by blockchain start-up APPII, revealed that 80% of 18 to 24-year olds do not currently even have a résumé. Considering that this is the workforce of the future, it’s not hard to see why da Vinci’s paperwork could be permanently filed.
But what should replace the old faithful? After all, despite all its shortcomings, it does present a clear snapshot of your career and, furthermore, is it a case of needing to change form, function, or both?
Could the future of résumés and the story they tell, like so much else, lie in the phygital world? Now that our physical world is increasingly formed and affected by the digital one? And, if you’re looking for a role in a digital organization, wouldn’t it make sense for you to showcase yourself in the digital currency?
Here are some fresh new takes beginning to surface.
NO RÉSUMÉ JOSÉ
Plain and simple, the best people don’t need a CV – they just go from one shoulder tap to the next with a wake of results, front page accolades, and business folklore behind them. Failing that – LinkedIn, as the Facebook for business, is the current default.
IT’S HOLLYWOOD, BABY – VIDEO RÉSUMÉ
With the gorgeous girls of Instagram, dance challenges, and food porn, TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram dominate our retinal real estate. The pandemic has provoked massive adoption and normalization of all things ‘screen’ and we have each graduated with a PhD in Zoom.
Therefore, it won’t be long before video-based résumés blaze a trail across the screens of hiring managers, easily accessible anywhere, by anyone, in any given timezone. On-screen charisma is replacing the written art of wordsmithing. Backdrops carry your vibe; a casually hung electric guitar on the wall displays your eclectic arty side, while a Peloton bike placed beside you screams weekend warrior. Or, if subtle just ain’t your style, you can go all Spielberg with a personal trailer – like this guy.
THE BRAND OF YOU – WEBSITE AS RÉSUMÉ
Today, we are our own publishing house, agent, and promoter. A website is a fine way to showcase your digital prowess and you can go landing page to a full, all-singing production showing off the unique breadth of your editing flourishes.
More work? For sure. But also your ultimate calling card and the biggest asset you’ll ever own – you, packaged! And you’ll be head and shoulders above the 93% currently without their own website.
THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT – DIY RÉSUMÉ APP
Perhaps résumé nirvana lives in your very own walking, talking app.
Apps, after all, live at the heart of the consumer-facing well-tech and fit-tech markets and currently make the world go round. Close your rings everyone. Exhibiting that you know your way around the design process of one will go down well with those looking to recruit people with the creative spark and an innovative mind.
There are a number of “app makers” which allow you to create your own mobile app – some of them without even requiring a single line of code!
You can go light or go heavy. A Progressive Web App (PWA) operates a bit like a mobile-friendly version of a website, or a full-on native app. The latter takes more investment but is also more impactful. Amongst a multitude of others, some decent app-builder options include GoodBarber, Swiftic, and Shoutem – give ‘em a go.
So how do we view these new résumé formats? We’ve given each a quick assessment and offered our prediction on whether any of them are likely to take over from paper, complete with a “Five Soul” rating for each...
Emma **** While I do love a good movie and this can help determine culture fit, it is missing straight-up info most hiring managers skim in less than 10 seconds. It won’t favor the non-theatrical and, given a résumé is usually customized to the role, this approach may not be time effective for the creator or the viewer.
Lucy *** Although I like the idea of a video résumé, there’s the potential for it to favor the “videogenic”. There will definitely be roles where this is more suited. For example, a video résumé could work well for digital roles, allowing candidates to demonstrate their skills. For companies that are happy to use video résumés, it can bypass a screening stage and help with culture fit, but it can also involve a greater investment of time and add another layer of potential discrimination to the hiring process. It’s a mixed bag for this one.
Matt ***** The power of video means the video résumé could well be the future – as long as it’s not simply a “piece to camera”, but rather overlaid with key achievements and facts of the candidate. It also needs to be tailored to the audience, so thought needs to be spent on how a candidate comes across. Quality is important too – putting something hastily together in iMovie won’t cut the mustard! As video résumés are only just emerging, they could help a candidate stand out from the crowd. We can no longer hide from video, so I’d encourage even the more introverted people to give it a try. Vide-GO!
Emma *** Problems with websites for me are that they reek corporate and I feel like I’m sitting through another marketing presentation without actually seeing the candidate in action.
Lucy **** Where the website résumé shines is in its flexibility and functionality. This means that it’s no longer the domain of creatives – who have, for a long time, had online portfolios – but can now be used for other roles too, from sales and marketing to leadership. Recruiters want to see as much detail as possible from candidates, so a personal website can provide a great platform to bring it all together. Some people, however, may not be willing to share their personal information online, so for that reason, it’s more likely to remain the co-star than the stage lead.
Matt *** I have to be honest – I’m not a massive fan. People already have their own LinkedIn profiles, YouTube accounts, and Instagram pages, so it just feels like another link you have to bookmark to keep a candidate’s information in one place. That said, as with the video résumé, the website is not yet commonplace. So, for the right role – produced in the right way – it could be a powerful tool for securing that job you’ve been chasing above other candidates who look similar on paper but haven’t gone to the same lengths to demonstrate what they bring to the table.
Emma ***** Potentially five stars because it can be an easily shared, multimedia experience that combines vital stats with challenge-based segments showcasing the client and be sent to the hiring manager on a phone by the beach with a cocktail, given work ain't going back any time soon. Also, this part of the digital landscape seems to be evolving the quickest with all sorts of fun features to capture social trends and become the TikTok of hiring.
Lucy **** Nowadays, we’re tuned to use apps for all areas of our lives. So, I’m excited by the potential of the app résumé. Apps could allow for candidates to be more creative and engaging with their résumés. But, to take off, they’ll need to tie into certain, standardized systems. Otherwise, recruiters and hiring managers will need to download every single candidate app onto their phones. The possibilities are enormous, but the practicality isn’t quite there yet. ‘Appy days ahead...
Matt **** Apps are big business and will find their way to the résumé/recruitment space soon. The challenge is finding common language on how the apps are produced, shared, and accessed – otherwise they could add more barriers to the hiring process. Smart recruitment companies may choose to pull candidates’ info into their own apps and allow candidates to edit and add their own videos or work. This would create engaging, eye-popping, multimedia résumés that grab the attention. Four stars for now, but could app-solutely be five in the future. I fully expect the emergence of the app résumé in the years ahead. Pick a path and play.