Are CVs and Résumés Dead?

By Michael Overell - Nov. 27, 2013
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Are CVs and Resumes Dead?We have a confession to make: We hired our Head of Growth without ever looking at her CV.

Were we stupid? Clearly not. She’s brilliant. Perfect for the job. We stalked her on LinkedIn, found her on Twitter and then devoured her blog. These three platforms combined gave us enough of an idea to know that we wanted to meet her… and the rest, as they say, is history.

Are we strange, or is this becoming a trend? According to a recent survey by JobVite, over 92% of employers use social media as part of their recruiting processes. Google searches and LinkedIn Profiles are amongst the first things many hiring managers look at. But have they really replaced the traditional résumé?

3 Reasons Why the Résumé Is Dead

1. LinkedIn Provides the Same Information

It’s no secret that LinkedIn is fast replacing the résumé, primarily because it is essentially an online résumé. An online résumé on steroids. LinkedIn allows employers to hover over a company’s profile to find out what it is they do, how big they are and where they’re based. It allows previous bosses and coworkers to leave recommendations to supplement calling for a reference. Portfolios, causes, skills, and projects provide a greater in-depth view of a person’s activities, all with the ability to ‘show/hide’ more or less information.

A traditional résumé can’t provide the interactivity of a LinkedIn profile. As more and more companies become familiar with using LinkedIn, some HR managers believe it won’t be necessary to present a résumé anymore.

2. Online Social Profiles Provide a ‘Truer’ Representation

Outside of Linkedin, social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and blogs provide a glimpse into the world of a candidate that isn’t available through a traditional résumé. If a candidate harnesses online potential correctly, they will stand out amongst the competition. Some applicants use websites and online résumés to directly target the companies they want to work for.

Employers sometimes trust the Google’s results more than what a résumé says. Anyone must manage his or her online reputation, regardless of public persona status. A comment on a public forum can make or break an application

3. Evidence of Right-Brain Ability Is Growing in Importance

As the world builds more sophisticated technology that replaces left-brain thinking-dominated roles like paper processing and computing, more and more recruiters need to identify creativity and right-brain thinking skills in their future recruits. Résumés rock at showing what you have done. They suck at demonstrating what you could do.

Increasingly, companies are using application processes that require demonstration of their sought-after core competencies. Applicants must complete challenges that demonstrate their thinking processes and creative abilities. These processes are as much about presenting your story and who you are as they are about presenting your skills.

One such widely quoted example is Mastercard’s internship application program required blogs, videos, and pictures in response. Mastercard confirmed that they received over 350 qualified applicants to the role compared to their usual 20-30. Creative application processes attract creative people; and in these processes, there’s no résumé in sight.

4 Reasons Why the Résumé Is Still Alive

1. Keyword Detection Platforms

Larger companies still use keyword detection software to help with sifting through the mounds of applications received for every role. The software requires a candidate to have a word-based résumé to upload, although some systems are now allowing an import of LinkedIn profiles. Until there’s an easier way to cut down the application process for jobs in large multi-national corporations, we won’t see the end of keyword detection anytime soon.

2. Customization

To put their best foot forward for any role, a job seeker needs to customize their experiences and skills. This is the major drawback with a LinkedIn profile. It can only exist in one format so tends to lean towards a general overview. For someone with a wide range of experiences who wants to demonstrate their transferable skills, LinkedIn just won’t cut it. A separate résumé needs to be built complementary to the general overview on LinkedIn.

3. >Gen-X & Boomer Management

Millennials may prefer to stick with online portfolios and social media platforms, but they forget that often they’re applying to companies run by Gen-Xers and Boomers. These guys like their traditional résumé format. One manager even commented that she preferred that an applicant bring a paper copy of their résumé to the interview so that she could write notes on the applicant in the margin. It’s possible she still files the résumés in an alphabetized filing cabinet, and this is the world we live in. Bridging the technological divide between the generations will take a number of years more.

4. Personal vs. Professional Divide

It’s still likely that a hiring manager will ditch a potential candidate because they cursed in a blog. Or because there are pictures of them on Facebook drinking with their friends. Despite the call to ‘tell our story as it really is’ exposing ourselves too much in a professional setting is still uncomfortable. You only have to look through LinkedIn Profiles of even creative professionals to realize that, despite our acknowledgement that we are all humans, divulging all-too-human traits such as family, dreams, and failures is still taboo. While it’s debatable as to whether there will always remain a divide between a professional persona and your personal one, most roles still require a division. Which means a professional résumé of some form will be necessary to get you through the door.

According to Julie Inouye, director of corporate communications at LinkedIn, “It’s not that one is dead and the other is replacing it.” She says that both have different benefits to offer the current job seeker and that often which one is relied on will depend on the type of job being applied for and the industry it is in.

So has LinkedIn killed the Résumé Star? What do you think? Tell us below.

Photo courtesy of Bexx Brown-Spinelli. 


Michael Overell

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