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Is the CV dead?

The résumé, it is said, is dead. Google that claim and you come up with more than 100 million results. People have pondered on it, blogged on it and written white papers about it. The résumé , they say, has been replaced by social media, particularly sites like LinkedIn, personal web sites, videos on YouTube, blogs and of course, Google.

Still, it might be an exaggeration to say résumé s are completely defunct. At least, not for now. While many recruiters and HR specialists look at LinkedIn profiles, few would ask for anything in multimedia. But the traditional résumé setting out all your achievements and skills is no longer enough; it now needs to come with an online profile.

The résumé is now being adapted and used with other media to get attention and open doors. But it’s likely to become less important as social networking sites offer more targeted services that are expected to incorporate better CV-like functions.

With 100 million people using LinkedIn and nearly 700 million on Facebook, the recruitment industry is rebooting and job hunting has been transformed.

Indeed, The Wall Street Journal is now reporting that some job candidates are cutting through the noise and targeting employers by taking out their own ad on Facebook or LinkedIn. Who needs a résumé?

From the employer’s point of view, it is important to see who potential recruits are connected to on LinkedIn – what they’re passionate about, if they’re tweeting about it or putting it on their blog. Recruiters now say that employers in the future will be more likely to take someone on if they have an extensive social media footprint with many connections.

In the post-GFC world, the old career adage of, “It’s not what you know but who you know” has been replaced by, “It’s not who you know, it’s who knows that you know it”. It is one of the great ironies of the financial crisis. People have lost their jobs but social networking has reshaped traditional career paths. The traditional résumé has changed along with that.

The financial crisis has taught us that there is no job security. More will start managing their careers as if they were entrepreneurs, creating a personal brand and searching for the next opportunity. You do it with an online presence. The résumé becomes secondary.

More companies are now using social networking sites to recruit. They are turning to LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter as extensions of their databases. For good reason too. For a start, it’s cheaper. Big accounting firms like KPMG, Deloitte, PwC and Ernst & Young, for instance, use sites like Facebook to recruit the best graduates. Chip maker Intel reportedly saves millions of dollars a year in fees by ignoring headhunters and instead, recruiting senior managers through LinkedIn. Phone company US Cellular has reportedly saved $US1 million ($A943,752) a year using LinkedIn.

Recruiters say that half the people on their books these days rely on just a LinkedIn profile. It’s today’s equivalent of the one-page CV, a 24/7 CV. Recruiters and HR teams these days have to look at so many job applications. A résumé just looks like hundreds of others coming in. The trick now is to get noticed before you even walk through the door. It’s easier for recruiters to assess what they see on LinkedIn; all the information they need is there. The LinkedIn profile is the door opener.

Nevertheless, résumés are not completely dead. The traditional résumé is pulled out by more senior people when they apply for more complex jobs. It would contain more information than what’s found on LinkedIn, it’s not uncommon for some to run to 15 pages listing accomplishments, reporting lines and size of the business. The résumé also becomes important when you no longer have control over who is looking at it, which is what happens with big jobs. The HR manager will send it to their superiors, who might run it past the office in New York or London. And many say that it’s still a good idea to have a résumé on Microsoft Word as a back-up for LinkedIn, just in case.

Still, recruiters say that with lesser jobs, you can get away with a LinkedIn entry. All you do is send it off when you apply. As for the résumé , they predict that could disappear completely when LinkedIn introduces a special CV feature that could work for big prestigious jobs. That, they say, is only a matter of time. The résumé is now less important. It’s not dead yet, but it’s on the way out.

Leon Gettley

Business Spectator

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