Are CVs Outdated?

(Heather) #1

There has been a lot of talk about this during the week across various slack channels and Twitter. My favourite so far “Is it time we replaced the outdated CV format?”

I personally don’t really like trying to fit all of my experience on two pages. I equally don’t like reading lots of pages (current record is 8) of a CV that is repetition.

Is there a better medium to use to demonstrate our experience? I’m wondering if this itself becomes a loaded question. You have another place to update as CVs still exist. Also as an applicant could I be considered to be lazy by not tailoring my CV to each role. The problem with the latter is that when being put forward for a role with a recruiter you rarely get the opportunity to tailor your CV.

Does it boil down to adding links to Github, Blogs, LinkedIn to a CV to fit in the relevant things? I’m aware that this runs two risks

  1. Discrimination against people who are not fortunate to have such things being the main one
  2. You still need to make your CV interesting enough for the person reading it to want to look at those links

Perhaps it becomes a simpler question: what is a good format of CV to use to engage the person you want to hire you?

(Craig) #2

We recently interviewed for a web designer, who’s CV was a simple link to a web page. It welcomed us by company name, and took us through a wee story from them leaving university to where they are now. It was really eye catching and certainly left a mark. That’s great for web designers, but probably wouldn’t work so well for retail staff.

I feel that one key skill for anyone in the test industry is the ability to provide enough information for people to make decisions, without information overload. A 2 page CV would certainly fit that theme with me. And bizarrely, I enjoy the challenge of updating my CV with new experiences and seeing the less relevant ones slowly disappear.

(Daniel) #3

I assume I’m partly responsible for some of that chatter :slight_smile:

My biggest problem with the two-page CV is there’s only so much you can fit on there. It’s boring.

We can’t/shouldn’t solely link to Github etc (although I like their attempt at replacing the CV), but I think we can make them more online.

I have a (work in progress) online CV on my website, which I have as a link at the top of my PDF CV. One day I hope to be able to simply send a link to my online CV instead of attaching a PDF as an attachment.

And I eventually plan to make it look better than any PDF can be. With video and images, and links to other places.

(Heather) #4

Some Tweets about this which have given interesting discussion:

(Peter) #5

In my opinion there won’t be a common solution. I appreciate a CV very much if I have to handle a freelancer we put on projects. If we interview an maybe-Internal then the CV is only a first impression. The format is not so important. A funny one was a bug report of himself with the annotations of bugfixing. The other was a pillbox with TicTac-Candys and a package insert inside. On the insert there were his skills and strength and “weaknesses” as medical informations like the risks ans side-effects written. That was cool. We hire for attitude and train for skills.

On the other hand a CV can be very irritating. I studied geology and mineralogy at the university. Every time the question “Why are you in IT? You should handle stones and rocks!”. A CV cannot bring you the message of your attitude to things you like.

(Johan) #6

CVs are a terrible way of communicating skill or personal fit for any given role. Even if you supplement them with information about each position or role it still fails most of the time to give an accurate representation of the person in question.

To me, some of the most important things to look for when hiring is: aptitude for learning, passion for the job, social skills (I’m hiring consultants that need to be able do play the part), hands-on testing skills and communication skills (e.g. being able to question to understand and be understood, seek and provide relevant information) are key. None of which you can communicate through a traditional CV imo, or at least I’ve not been able to or seen it done. Especially not in two pages.

And don’t get me started on companies that disqualify based on ctrl+F strategies (did someone say mandatory ISTQB cert?..)

I agree that CVs “start the conversation”, but they are such terrible conversation starters… if I have 10 CVs I have little or no clue who I’d actually want to have a conversation with.

Sorry, I don’t have a solution, I just came here to vent. :smiley:

I think recruiters should be prepared to accept multiple types of CVs and realize that different people present themselves differently. Video CVs, mind maps, demonstrations, other graphical representations and images, GitHub, peer certifications… why force your applicants to conform to a single mode of presenting themselves? I don’t think the answer is necessarily to kill the CV, but definitely kill the status quo saying that CVs should have special preference. We’re all losing out on great candidate/employer matchings this way.

(Amit) #7

I really like CV’s.
When hiring, I am mostly looking on easy and cheap ways to filter candidates out. I’m not looking to know the people, I’m not looking to see their full capabilities. CV provides me with an easy to read checklist that is similarly formatted for most candidates. When a candidate is being creative, it is costing me time I don’t want to invest.
If someone feels the need to supplement their CV with something, by all means - include a link, or several. If you touch the base points I’m looking for I will check it out.
As a candidate, my CV is the way to say “here are the skills & experience I think are relevant for the job”. It is a bit limiting, but the limit is forcing me to be concise and pick what I think is important.

(Gem) #8

Meh, I dislike writing CVs but the idea of trying to put across that information clearly, with me still seeming relevant to the job I’ve applied for, on top of tailoring that information for that job AND make it creative brings me out in hives.

Also github? Linkedin? Nope. I want some control over how my stuff looks/who can see it, but fairly simple control.

My cover letter is where I can start to put myself across as a person, and play a little bit.

(Will) #9

I feel like CVs are a bit like user stories in that you have to communicate a complex something (e.g. technical ability) to people who might not be able to infer the tacit (e.g. HR) and so if the CV can communicate the relevant skillset and give an idea to the mindset in layout and clarity it can be effective in determining the candidate for suitability to a role.

A four-page 10pt essay on your life, detailing every single project down to the very minutia of every detail, is not going to be read. A one/two page outline of past companies/education and technologies used will get read. Likewise I’ve had to try and use user stories and bug reports that read like Tolstoy and had to send them back for more information.

(Robert) #10

Having had to go through the whole CV thing twice in the past three years, and also being well stricken in years and not in possession of bog-standard industry qualifications, I have quite a few thoughts on this!

My career history just doesn’t fit on two sides of A4, even if I reduce everything to roles and employers. And I have a range of skills that organisations find useful. Talking about those things paints a picture of the sort of tester a potential employer will get. I managed to reduce it to four sides; enough people read it even part-way through to get me sixteen interviews during my last period of unemployment.

My CV will not get past a HR gatekeeper who is merely searching for keywords (ISTQB, automation), or doesn’t feel sufficiently empowered to challenge a business manager’s wishlist. But perhaps those aren’t the jobs I’d be best suited to anyway.

(ernie) #11

Being in the US, the general guidance is to have a 1 page resume (which is a slightly different format from a CV). Having both screened candidates as well as having gone through job searches, I really like resumes.

Early on in your career (e.g. straight out of school), it’s often hard to come up with a page worth of stuff while later in your career it becomes much easier, and eventually tips to the point where you’re really thinking how to best convey your experience. There’s a widely cited number in the US that folks only spend 6 seconds looking at resumes for the initial screen. Add in the fact that there’s plenty of machine screening (e.g. keywords and what not), and the resume is an interesting little puzzle.

I think a one-pager is right for this kind of thing - all the other resources (e.g. portfolios, github accounts, blogs, social media, etc) are nice supplementals when I want to dig deeper, but for that first initial estimate as to whether it’s even worth having a phone screen, a one-pager is exactly right.

LinkedIn is also pretty significant in the US and tech, and having an up-to-date profile (which is essentially a resume) there can be super useful when looking for a new position.