The CV, one of PR’s biggest lies, may be dead. Honest.
There was some great banter doing the rounds early today stirred by Dirk Singer of The Rabbit Agency about why he and his colleagues never read CVs any more.
It must have been a little disconcerting given the first experience many PRs have of the factual distortion that may become a hallmark of their careers is when they ‘craft’ their first CV.
I’m being deliberately provocative of course, but Dirk’s point did strike a chord and makes a lot of sense. Having looked at CVs from thousands of eager pups, jaded flacks and everyone in between over the years, I think I can smell achievement inflation when I see it. Let’s face it, it’s practically expected that a PR CV will include the stretching of the truth at some point. Doubtless most CVs in other industries are the same. If you undersell yourself on your CV, you’re hardly teeing yourself up for editorial success are you?
I don’t advocate mistruth or untruth on CVs, but many of us push the limits. ‘A decade of frontline experience in media-oriented industries’ seems striking for a 22-year-old, but do bear in mind that it probably started with an (underage) paper round.
Instead, many agency employers these days are looking at LinkedIn data, connections in social networks, blog content and visible achievements laid bare online. In the age of transparency, this stuff is easy to find and (albeit that LinkedIn data can have the whiff of CVitis) tends to be factual, or at least more factual than CVs send one-to-one, because it is so open to scrutiny.
Many other agency heads I’ve talked to about this have said the same: the CV tends to be stuck in the HR files as a document of record, but decisions about whether to interview tend to be taken based on the data that exists about the candidate online. And as the process proceeds and offers are contemplated, expect more data to be put under the microscope, with Facebook content typically first in line.
The CV doesn’t need a funeral just yet. But its days as the centrepiece of the application are over. It’s little more than contact details with a few pointers, because the real shop window has moved to the internet.