10 Reasons Why You Should Ditch the Traditional CV

writing with quill
The traditional CV comes from a time when employers had a need to determine if the employee was looking for the right job. It used to be that your objective served to tell the employer that you knew the position you were applying for with the implication that you also knew how to perform the job in question. A modern CV aims to provide the employer with information to help them understand why you are a good fit for the company.
It is a holdover from a time when people generally had a one-track career. You would get hired by a company, move up the corporate ladder and if you were lucky, you could move from elevator operator to CEO. In today's market, people often have many jobs, so a traditional CV no longer makes sense. The following tips should help you decide whether using one makes sense for your job search.

1. The Traditional CV Doesn't Account for Life Events

The first issue with a traditional CV is that it doesn't give you any recognition for the skills you may have continued to hone and develop while working for a local shelter, having a child or undergoing an apprenticeship with an important figure in your field. In short, it fails to provide a complete picture of the applicant, and this is not advantageous to the employer seeking a truly skilled employee or the employee who is highly skilled but finds it difficult to demonstrate useful work experience on a CV.

It's not that an employee can't list their skills on a CV, the problem is that an employer will look to see what companies the employee worked for. If the applicant doesn't have recent employment, the employer tends to view this negatively and assumes the candidate is out of touch with the field.

2. Employers Often Never Read Submitted CVs

Even if you do manage to create a CV with a non-traditional work profile, the employer is very unlikely to give your resume more than 5 seconds. Most CVs are quickly looked over and then filed or discarded by the employer. Neary 75 percent of all job applicants will never hear back from an employer once a resume has been sent.
The Internet has made the problem even worse with many large companies automatically sorting digital resumes using a computer-based system that doesn't involve any human interaction. A large company that wants a traditional CV is very likely to end with your digital resume vanishing into the ether.

3. Tracking Systems Get It All Wrong

Savvy employees who may not be qualified for the job learn how to game the system to get an interview. In an effort to match what the employer is looking for, the employee will include keywords from the job posting to better match the computer algorithm that is looking for keywords and ignoring the true potential.

This need to tailor a CV to show up in an applicant tracking system is what makes the traditional CV counterproductive. Even if you submit a paper resume, the chances of being reviewed by an actual human and not simply ignored are about 1 in 5.

4. It's Really Who You Know

If nobody knows who you are, you are very unlikely to get a good job. College graduates from the top universities look at the company they are applying for very carefully, and then they network with their professors and friends to find out if they have any contacts connected to the company. If a trusted reference that the company knows vouches for an individual their chances of getting hired just went through the roof. At that point, the CV barely even matters.

5. A CV May Work Against You

If you're over the age of 50, you're going to face discrimination in the workplace. It's an unfortunate state of affairs, but a long work history going back 30 years doesn't tell the employer you are wise, talented and knowledgeable, it tells the company you are old and possibly disconnected from the industry you're interested in.

It's not just your age, even your name can prevent you from getting a job. While companies can't discriminate on the basis of age or sex, if your CV gives this information away, you won't be able to prove discrimination is what prevented you from getting the job.

6. It Doesn't Detail Influence or Presence

A traditional CV doesn't show that your business attracted 100,000 followers on Facebook in just under a year, and it doesn't provide real information about your capabilities or potential. Sometimes, explaining your capabilities using a social resume is a better way to go.

We are now living in a world of ideas. If the chair of a university department consults with you on the best way to manage a department, that may not be enough to qualify as work experience. However, it shows that your ideas are valued and you could be an important member of a team that organises educational resources.

Similarly, if you wrote a blog post that changed the way an entire industry operates, you should be able to get recognition in a job search. It's time to move past the paradigm of only getting credit for what a person is paid to do, and giving just as much credit for how a person has influenced decisions.

7. Social Profiles Give Better Information

While social media sites like LinkedIn are one way to help potential recruiters find you, there is an even greater risk of discrimination. But, an individual who is connected to every important industry figure shows that they are doing something right.

LinkedIn also makes it possible for potential employers to see what kind of person they are hiring by looking at past status updates and seeing information change and update in real time. This provides companies with a more accurate portrayal of potential employees, and it gives employees a chance to become more than just a piece of paper that lists jobs held and activities performed.

8. It Paints a False Impression

When an employer reviews a CV, it doesn't project your true self. It's easy to hide less than perfect work experiences, and it doesn't provide a real in-depth look at the person's work ethic or demeanor. Using a video submission format gives the reviewer a chance to evaluate body language and determine whether the person will be a good fit for a job based on how they interact and communicate.

It won't do any good for a company to call a potential candidate in for an interview only to discover that the candidate can't carry a sentence. The downside to a video resume is that a highly-qualified applicant may be overlooked for someone who simply knows how to perform well on camera.

9. An Interactive Visual CV

This option makes much more sense for artists, graphic designers and people who work with digital elements. It's no small feat to create a blog with an active readership, sell your graphics on a freelance basis online or create music that other companies use in their projects. The ability to list your most representative digital works can help you better portray your accomplishments, what you value and how you work.

It gives employers a chance to see what an individual is actually capable of. Not every candidate needs to be overly outgoing, cheerful and gifted with speech. Judging an applicant on the skills they possess and not the way they communicate is a good way to get the professional creative types that can truly make your projects shine.

10. It Doesn't Protect Against Bias

With the way things work in our modern world, a traditional CV doesn't provide the most accurate and updated information about an individual. A company that truly embraces diversity would want to conduct blind job-matching, but this rarely actually happens. In most cases, even blind job-matching has a reviewer somewhere along the process that can see the applicant's real information.

Applicants are still weeded out based on personal biases and preferences. This results in a less diverse office environment, which means that the work isn't infused with a realistic worldview. Hiring people from different backgrounds gives more than one viewpoint on an idea, and it can even help avoid public blunders that can be embarrassing for a company.

No matter what CV format you choose for your job search, it's important to understand it's strengths and weaknesses. A traditional resume only gives the facts about employment, so make sure you consider how else you can supplement the resume with additional information that the employer can easily find online.

It's important for both employers and candidates to realise that an application is just one small part of a persona. Employers should aim to be inclusive of non-traditional resumes, and understand that a traditional resume doesn't provide a fair look at what an employee can do. The best recruiters and recruitment agencies read between the lines when evaluating a candidate.
Do you use a traditional or a modern CV? Which do you find more effective? Let us know in the comments section below...