Dear All, Sorry. Apparently the CV is Dead.

Dear all,

Sorry. Apparently the CV is dead. SmartRecruiters told us so in their recent blog.

So what am I to do with all these digital professionals, with their twitter accounts, open Facebook profiles, Foursquare check ins, Instagram snaps, LinkedIn profiles and occasional blogs; who really bummed out when they merely sent me their CV?
I shall of course write back to them and tell that they very well may be at the cutting edge of content design, marketing and communications expertise; however sadly, their CV; no matter how beautifully presented, crafted and rich with incisive and individual content around their achievements, employment, links, examples of their work and suitability for this particular role; unfortunately, is dead. An online recruitment transaction portal provider said so.
No, no. I can hear you all, my clients – companies at the heart of innovation and expertise in content delivery and marketing – who asked me to provide a shortlist of great CVs just a couple of days ago. Sorry. You’re getting online profiles. I’ll just send you an email, with a few links for each candidate. The CV is dead, you see.
Apparently we shouldn’t mourn this. Time moves on, and apparently it’s all the rage to not ask for CVs. I mean look at the Heineken ad, the blogger tells us. Good point. I’ll ask my client – the growing digital agency with 7 staff, that we should abandon the CV and interview process immediately, and hire out Wembley. It’s the norm now.
Sorry about this, CVs are dead, and interviews are old hat.
Deal with it.
Yours regretfully,
P.S. They’re not.
P.P.S. I can send you a raft of brilliantly crafted CVs as a point of entry to online profiles and work examples, LinkedIn recommendations, AND they fit on your database, AND we can get a feel for the presentation, creative feel, content prioritization and spelling of the person.
P.P.P.S. …Cancel the funeral.

Job-seeker Tips: Applying with Covering Letters

Covering letters are sadly a dying art. They’re either too long, so I won’t read them; so curt, as to be rude in the extreme; or too short – meaning there’s no relevant information. Furthermore, method’s of applying for jobs are so cripplingly automated these days, that the opportunty to think about a clear, concise and relevant covering letter to your CV submission is almost discouraged by job boards, ATS based application systems, and those that want to turn `Apply With LinkedIn` as the standard form of application. 

Hear this frome me: Applying for a job should NOT be a fast-food process. Automation in job application is bad, and does nothing for the individual strength of your application.  

Sad to say though, that I very, very rarely see what I would perceive to be a great cover letter – and I see 50+ applications per day. 


So, the first step in writing a good covering letter, is to choose the right format to apply. 

Some say Email is dead? Well it’s not. It’s the perfect format to apply for a job from your own portal, with your own lay out, and attaching documents and portfolios. 

Some say the CV is dead? Well it’s not. It’s the perfect format to best display your individuality, written and layout skills; your credibility; and stands you apart from the competition. 

So now we’re using the right format – now decide what to write in the covering email.

Well, start with the job description, or advert content. If the employer has written it in their advert, then it’s important in the filtering process, and therefore is important in your application process. Don’t apply for a job as a Social Media Manager with the opening line, `I am a fantastic Secretary`. Find 3 to 5 key factors about your experience and suitability in relation to that content, and they will make up 3 to 5 key bullet points in your covering note. We’ll come to those in a minute. 

The opening line is important, and match the tone of your application, to the tone of the company for whom you are applying. Either way though, sound respectful, but immediately interesting. The opening line should be a short paragraph of not much more than 2 lines, and should include:

  • your interest in the role – i.e. recognise the name of the role
  • your interest in the company – with proof, i.e. I’ve been looking at your website… 
  • an introduction to suitability – “and due to my experience in … I believe I would be perfect for the role. 

The Bullet Points will then follow. These are the key indicators as to why someone will open your CV. They match the key requirements role, the industry of the company for who you are applying, and the individuality of your own application. The reason for bullet points? – well rather like your CV, it breaks key pointers into almost highlighted status, visually, and breaks the monotony of long paragraphs with hidden gems. 

The Close should come now. No waffling required. The close should re-iterate your interest, suitability and suggest availability to be considered for interview, and the opportunity to discuss if necessary. Again, be warm, appraochable and welcoming.

So the format will look something like this: 


Note the use of highlighted text to demonstate mirroring technique. These are in a sense `buzzwords` that I have assumed would be evident within the job description or advert. Mirroring those words with highlighting quickly demonstrates relevance. The covering letter only ever talks specific interest and suitability to the role. If it’s not relevant, don’t put it in. 

I hope this has helped. I’ll hope to do more practical job-seeker tips as time allows over the coming weeks. Certainly, I would love to see more great covering letters out there. Your written skills will be more pertinent than ever, so make sure you get the front cover looking sharp. 


Confessions of the Recruitment Industry – True this…

People who know me well, will know that I detest infographics – well, I detest what infographics have turned into, i.e. largely to much information stacked into a small presentation space, thus confusing the content even moreso. 

However, this is a good one that I saw circulated today. Cannot argue with the content of this. It’s a clear infograhic with a few striking facts about the recruitment process and your CV into the equation. The numbers are not the eye-catcher. Numbers in these things are often over-exaggerated and interpreted with weighting, to help present a case on behalf of a brand (in this case, Monster, it would seem?) – but the content is. Casting the numbers aside, the points are valid. Your CV is in danger of doing damage to your applications, if you don’t get the basics right. 

I’m going to be poisting again this week on the `CV is Dead` argument. It’s not, but if you don’t give sufficient attention to it, yours will. 

Have a read, and I welcome thoughts and observations on it: 




Is the creative CV a good thing?

As usual, the insipration to write comes from another blog. Today this was Andy Headworth’s blog about some clever-ish attempts to personalise a CV 

To borrow a couple of Andy’s examples, here are 2 such specimens: 



First we need to ask, what are we trying to achieve when sending a CV for a job? – Prominence? Yes. Expertise? Yes. And such creativity achieves that. But will everyone agree? Will it demonstrate the essential information to attract a recruiter or hiring manager? Is the evidence of your suitability accessible to them? 

The point therefore being – a creative CV divides opinion. It may look a piece of art in your eyes, but in front of the wrong HR person, the response might be “Yuk”. 

The second question therefore is, is your search for employment a risk taking exercise? If it is, then you are a brave person. Can you risk losing half of your potential employer audience by creating a leftfield CV? Can you risk missing out on THE employer you aspired to, in THE role that were aiming for, just because an HR person; who has no impact on your future career thereafter; thought your CV was a tad garish. 

It’s a dangerous game. A Graphic Designer sending a design orientated CV to a Creative Director – good idea. A Marketing Manager sending it to a corporate via a job board or recruitment agency? Not such a good idea. 

So to the person thinking they need to display the creative side of their personality – think carefully. Think about who you are applying to, and is it relevant to be creative? Is that what they are really expecting and/or is it actually going to enhance your application? To me, if you are even having that conundrum, I would say job applications are not a risk taking exercise, and would encourage content and proof over visual artistry, or otherwise. 

So which of the 2 displayed CVs wins for me. Well I can’t speak on behalf of everyone – and that’s my point – but the second CV is clear, artistic, and is focussed on clear content and experience credentials. The 1st is cluttered, unfocussed, distracting and downright messy – incorporating information that is just not necessary, and not directly applicable. 

But that’s just me. And again… that’s my point.