The visual CV or online Resume

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008 - curriculum vitae, CV Writing, online cv, resume writing, visual cv

The visual CV/Resume is a modern internet format of the classical printed on wood pulped paper CV/Resume – but is it necessarily better, or ideal?

In simplicity, a visual CV/Resume is an online version of your paper CV/Resume. So, you might be thinking then that you just upload your existing MSWord version, and life would be complete?

Well, the various online CV/Resume format providers normally add a few features – like adding a photograph; a few links to your websites and blogs; sometimes even your social book marking or networking pages; and an Amazon link to your latest book, etc. Take the impressive Guy Kawasaki’s page for instance at VisualCV – how cool is Guy’s?

OK, hang on a minute:
You say that you are not photogenic, and are not as good looking as say Jennifer Anniston?
You don’t yet have any networking links, as you were a corporate employee for 20years and then didn’t need that sort of thing – it was only when you got made redundant that you did; and unlike Guy, you haven’t got a book to promote?
Much as though you have spent the last 20years in book keeping, you have a keen amateur interest in plumbing, and now want to change career paths – and yet everything on your existing CV/Resume references book keeping?

I think in certain cases, the online CV has some great advantages……

You are a visual or arts career based person, and you need a portfolio
You are a design or creative career based person, and need to show off your capabilities. In this case, I don’t think the standard format visual CV/Resumes will ever adequately show off your talents, so design your own visual portfolio
You were born a project manager, you trained in project management from kindergarten/primary school through university, and all you have ever done so far in your career is project management, and that’s what you want to do until you leave this earth/retire. That is the only way you will not need to take a generic approach, and everything will always be applicable to every job you apply for

And then it has some distinct disadvantages – when was the last time you updated your visual CV/Resume? OK, that’s true of the paper CV, but you don’t publish that one to the world do you?

Ever thought about why most online CV/Resume services are free? Because they don’t make their money out of candidates, they make their money out of recruiters like me paying to find people to fill jobs. And the more people they have, the more they can charge us recruiters to find people with the right skills. They don’t care whether it’s the right format for you – they just care about volume of candidates, which is their payline.

It is well known in the recruitment industry that certain jobs board dBases are better for certain types of candidates than others – Monster is good for one thing, JobSite for another, etc. So much as though the online CV providers suggest that its better to be posted in more places/off the jobs boards – a majority of recruiters just don’t look around, because the more dBases you are a member of the more it costs you: and you know that certain places don’t house the candidates you want.

So, a visual CV/Resume is good for the artistic photogenic type, who’s always wanted to do what they are doing and who can maintain it regularly. What does that sound like to you – sounds like a career portfolio to me. And that’s where I think the online CV/Resume falls down. Many of the business networking sites ask you to add a few details of your business, and your career. Here are mine at:


These are all portfolio career summaries – but are they online CV/Resumes? No, because they focus primarily on business sales pitches, and historic generic career histories. To be a CV/Resume of good enough quality to get you a telephone call and a date for a job interview, they would need to be focused on a specific job application. One of the generic and inbuilt problems of the online CV/Resume, particularly when you are applying for multiple jobs, is that it has to stay generic – most open denominator, applicable to all possible jobs and career paths.

To my mind, most of the visual CV products are at best generic portfolio’s or extended calling cards – they are not CV/Resumes of a focus quality which will get you a job.

So, is there a role for the visual CV? Most undoubtedly – yes! Here’s a thought – if you have an online visual CV/Resume, why direct someone there if all you are going to give them is online access to your CV/Resume? While you have them there, why not show them what you can do – make it a portfolio! Here are three that to my mind make sense:

The BBC News Presenter Kate Silverton – a modern interpretation of the artistes portfolio. Love those black and silver colours, and inclusion of video
America web designer Jake Strawn – if I had a job Jake could fill, I would employ him: tomorrow
American Lecturer on Technology, Jim Groom – great use of space, and old (hence free) graphics

In summary:
Online CV/Resumes are fine if you accept the restrictions of the visual format, and the generic nature of the written content
Most of the products are at best generic calling cards/extended portfolio’s – they will not be focused enough to get you an interview
The reason you don’t pay is because the Recruiters do – make sure your target audience recruiter or HR department have used that product: look for jobs like the one you are looking for, even the employers
Where visual CV/Resumes do make sense in your career, give people a reason to go there – make it a portfolio!

Good Luck!

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