How will the CV/resume evolve?

Thursday, June 16th, 2011 - CV format, CV Template, CV Writing, CV Writing Service, Social Media

How will the CV/resume evolve?

The First Monkey Party

First it was a letter that only priests and nobles could write, let alone read. Then it was two sheets of paper, typed, and it stayed that way for nearly 200 years. But in 2010, over 90% of CV/resumes are only sent by electronic form, such as a .doc or pdf attachment, or in some other online form.

But with so much change in just 10 years time since the millennium, how will the CV/resume evolve over the next 5years?

Reason to employ

I think the first thing to address, is that really in its entire history since it emerged as a specialist piece of correspondence in the 1700s, that the CV/resume has not really changed at all. Think about it: curriculum vitae, Latin for course of my life, was a letter of introduction from one learned person (priest, local Lord), to another learned person who could employ them. It says why you are right for that job, and what skills, qualifications and experiences you offer a potential employer. The only change here in over 300 years is the form in which it is communicated and transported to the prospective employer: man on horse back to click to apply, in 300 years.


The biggest changes have actually occurred in that method of communication and transportation in the past 10 years. In 2000, 90% of job applications occurred via paper, either letter or fax. By 2010, that had changed to 90% electronic. So looking at a CV in printed format, when most of the “people” who will be reading it are scanning electronic devices, seems almost pointless.

Secondly, look at how recruitment has changed, specifically the sourcing of candidates. In pre-2000, most recruiters relied on their address book: the theory was that if you could survive for two years in the world of recruitment, you had a job in recruitment for life. Today with simple boolean search strings:

  • Recruiters can now search the 100M user base of LinkedIn in seconds, as well as other social networks open to Google
  • Studies show that 85%+ of employers in North America now vet job applicants via their own social media created profiles
  • 70% of job applicants are now rejected in part through information provided from their own Social Media profile

Social Media is also bringing about huge changes in employee referrals, with some studies showing that over 25% of large corporate hires now being employee-introduced – often resulting in paid for rewards.

Push to Pull marketing

How is all this enabled? Because people are posting their professional profiles on social media, and hence making themselves known to the search engines, including Google. This allows them to be found by new networks (recruiters, HR professionals and employees), and employers who are actively looking for new hires.

This has changed the CV/resume from a push to a pull document, the most critical change in job application and recruitment of the last 10 years. That in part, plus reading by electronic devices, is what drove the introduction of keywords. Employers and recruiters search for key combinations of competencies – skills, qualifications and experiences – the summary of which is a series of keywords.

Most often while your wider professional profile can pick up on many issues and skills, you need a bespoke CV to actually apply or forward to the organisation once approached. If they don’t match-up, then you will be rejected.

Most modern CV/resume formats

If you look at it this way – a change in how the information is transported and communicated; and secondly the enabling of the CV/resume from a push to a pull piece of information – then we can look at other formats of the CV/resume in context:

  • Video Resume: interesting concept, but since its peak in 2008 has fallen back. Does the job require the post holder to be visually attractive, or show use of media? While an HR professional or recruiter can skim a CV/resume in 30seconds, having to watch another college graduate in front of Mom & Pop’s borrowed video camera for 5minutes, trying to pitch themselves as an accountant intern or trainee, hasn’t worked
  • Micro Resume: its a Twitter-driven trend of 140 character messages, which has been greatly taken up in the quickly expanding East. But then, one of their written characters is a whole word, so effectively it becomes a 140 word pitch

CV writing as a skill, and the ability to communicate your capability to do a job, has not really changed since its origin. Its just the way in which it is distributed and accessible which has changed, and I expect that rapid change that has occurred in the last 10 years to presently keep accelerating.

Good Luck!


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One Response to “How will the CV/resume evolve?”

  1. Neil Lills Says:

    Thanks for writing this article. I very much liked it. Keep up the excellent work, bud!

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