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Is the importance of the CV waning?

In the dark old days of pre-internet job hunting, you’d type out a CV, email it to lots of recruiters and HR departments and hope it arrived in the inbox or in tray of someone who had enough time or cared enough to call you back.

Then came the worldwide web, and the rise of the job boards, when employers and recruiters could find you – if you uploaded your CV onto every job board you could think of.

Even now, many people still think a CV is the key to future prosperity. Hours are spent honing the CV, stuffing it full of facts and figures, achievements and responsibilities, truths and embellishments….

Yet now, the CV is unlikely to be the first thing a recruiter or employer sees when they are looking for talent. If you are taking job hunting seriously, you need to think like Google and maximise your visibility on the internet. Recruiters are increasingly using a variety of online search methods to source candidates. So, the more you can load professional social media profiles with strong keywords, engage in conversations about your area of expertise online and even create your own blog or website, the easier you will be to find.


 Social Media – LinkedIn

The most important professional social network for job hunting in the UK is undoubtedly LinkedIn. It should be treated as an online CV and is a valuable resource for both internal recruitment teams and recruitment consultancies. Recruitment firms often buy enhanced functionality that allows them to search by relevant keyword for candidates, enabling them to see beyond their immediate network.

To maximise this, you should create as full a profile as possible, and keep it up to date. LinkedIn is always adding features, and now you can showcase past work, publish ‘blogs’ and add projects you’ve done, on top of the regular list of work experience and skills. When completing your profile, always include a summary, highlighting your key strengths, and include as many keywords throughout as you can.

Relax your privacy settings to make your profile visible to as many people as possible, and then use it! Engage with people in your sector and industry through LinkedIn Groups, follow companies, build your network of contacts, post updates and comment on posts from companies and people who could be valuable to you.

This is your chance to get in front of people in a position to hire – the more you engage, the more visible you’ll be.



 Other social media platforms

LinkedIn, and Xing in German-speaking areas, are the most professional platforms. But if you have social media accounts on other platforms, even if you don’t intend to use them for job-seeking, be aware that recruiters or potential employers may find them.

Either post stuff you wouldn’t mind your boss reading or maximise your privacy settings. Remember before you post that anyone can find anything you put in the public domain. Drunken selfies, swearing, derogatory comments about your current workplace and anything else slightly dodgy should not be on there – or should be hidden from view.



 Websites and blogs

Depending on how far you want to take it, and what area you work in, a blog or website of your own can be optimised for keywords associated with your profession. Recruiters already have strong networks, but there are always new candidates to be found, and many start with a Google search.

If you can create a site or blog which contains informative posts about your industry, or your opinion on the latest news to hit your sector, you can start to develop a strong reputation as an expert in your field. These posts can then be posted onto social media to spread that reputation further, and lots of keywords, regular posting and links from other authoritative sites will help your cause.

Of course, this isn’t for everyone, it requires a lot of work and attention, but in some industries, it’s almost a pre-requisite. Anyone in the digital arena can showcase their knowledge, and it can be a rewarding thing to do outside of work. Self-employed contractors, in particular, can benefit from having a website about their company, the services they offer and their work history.



 Is the CV dying?

Well, no, at least not yet. The internet is a great way to find people using keywords, and it will only become more so. The recruitment industry is a young one, full of digital natives used to instant access to content in a variety of forms, and more at home with communicating through 140 characters on Twitter than talking on the phone.

But, work history, skills and experience are still extremely important to anyone wishing to take on new staff. Although the internet may be the best way to be found in the first place, in the vast majority of cases you will still be asked to provide a CV. It’s been around for a long time, but the humble CV put together correctly, is the thing that will secure you an interview.

Graham Hale

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