Cover image for the blog 'is it time we say goodbye to the CV'. Image shows a young child bored of writing, with paper all over her desk.

Written by:
Harry Butcher

Is it time we say goodbye to the CV?

With the advance of video & social media, has the CV had its day? Or does it still have its place in the hiring world?

The CV dates all the way back to 1482. The creator of the CV? Leonardo da Vinci, no less! It surprised us, too.

Writing a letter to the Duke of Milan to gain his patronage, DaVinci highlighted the strengths he had that were most closely aligned with the Duke’s needs. Sounds obvious now, but at the time, it was a touch of genius.

Now, we’re not here to give you a detailed history of the CV. Instead, we’re asking whether DaVinci’s 540-year-old invention remains relevant in today’s world.

In favour of getting rid of the CV

It’s said that the average time taken to review a CV is 7 seconds. If such a short time is spent studying CVs, you can see why people argue they may no longer be fit for purpose – especially with how easy video has become. But what else?

  • A CV doesn’t allow much room for personality and nuance, so it’s sort of inevitable that a hiring manager could make a broad call on suitability.
  • Quick decisions on CVs are often led by unconscious bias. Take the university someone studied at for example. If you’re only looking for the most prestigious universities, you’re unlikely to find the best candidate. After all, you can go to a top and still be a bang average employee (and vice versa) … just sayin’!
  • There are other, more expressive, options! Videos, portfolios and the like allow candidates to do themselves justice and showcase more than just their skills.

In favour of keeping the CV

We’ve already acknowledged that video now plays a big part in the hiring process and how great it’s become. However, from a hiring manager’s point of view, it can be time-consuming to watch them all, which is why you might just request a CV.

One of the biggest worries candidates have with CVs is they feel they can’t stand out. But who said all CVs had to look the same? A well-presented, personalised CV stops a recruiter from making snap judgements – it’s up to a candidate to decide what a recruiter sees! Some other pros include…

  • Submitting a CV takes relatively minimal effort. So, if a candidate isn’t the right fit for a role, it means they haven’t invested a lot of time into it.
  • In the era of personal brands, some people feel they no longer need a CV. But what about if you don’t have a big social presence? Or you haven’t got the time or inclination to create your own ‘personal brand’. CVs still hold their own in this sense. And of course, there’s still the good old fashioned covering letter and your LinkedIn profile to back this up.
  • CVs can act as a helpful supplement to a recruiter’s initial call. Done well, it’s an opportunity for recruiters to delve deeper into the detail of a candidate’s background, using the CV as a prompt.
  • Lastly, CVs are a clear way to formalise the application process. There’s no clearer way to say “I want to apply” than a CV – it shows intent, which is exactly what hiring managers want to see.

So, what do we think?

In many ways, DaVinci’s approach is still the right one today – make your skills and strengths relevant to the employer. Present some common ground. Leave the reader wanting to see and hear more.

Crucially, when you’re applying for a job, you need to show a true version of yourself – it doesn’t work out for either party if you’re not a good fit for the role. We find a great balance is having a CV, accompanied with something more expressive – whether that be video or portfolio etc

That’s where our unique video recruitment tool, Spotlight, comes in. It allows employers to see candidates answering questions in a natural way, so you’ve still got that human element that’s often lost on CVs. Best of both worlds!

So, is it time we said goodbye to the CV? We’ll let you decide.


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