Thursday, 14 May 2015

Why LinkedIn Should Replace the CV

Creating the perfect CV is a very controversial topic amongst job hunters. It’s hard to stand out when you are one CV of potentially hundreds on the desk of an employer. I know from personal experience that it is very easy to overlook what is possibly a perfect candidate because they didn’t lay their employment history out properly or didn’t bother to write a 5058029 word cover letter.
A CV is a strangely archaic talent-sourcing tool that needs to die a swift death. Why does that “Personal Skills” section even exist? Isn’t everybody a team player, a quick thinker and a thought leader who works well under pressure, as part of a team or alone?  A CV is utterly meaningless when it comes to data integrity; every other candidate will spew off these overused, meaningless terms along with the fact that they have no driving convictions. How the hell do you get your CV to stand out?

I believe that employers are most interested in your answers for the two following topics:

  • Personal: Where do you live? How far is it from the office? Are you 25 or 50? In the same way that you vet a stranger on a first date, you will be vetted for your personal suitability for this position.
  • Employment History: Do I recognise the companies you’ve worked at previously? Are they direct competitors of my business? Did you hold any senior positions? How long did you remain in each role? If you’ve spent the last few years doing 3 months here and 3 months there an employer will question your dedication to a full-time career.
It is worth knowing that I have never ever been asked about my qualifications in a job interview, and I’ve done a few. Even when interviewing for my first ‘proper’ job after graduation I was not asked about my degree grade. I’ve never had to sit down and explain why I got a C in GCSE French even though I’ve been to France loads. I’ve never entered an interview scenario and been asked to prove my woodwork grade by ‘knocking up a table and chairs real quick’. Employers just don’t care about that stuff once you’re out of your training wheels and a few months into your career. Why should “Qualifications” take up 50% of the page when a typical employer will only spend 8 seconds on your whole CV? 

 
 
LinkedIn describes itself as a “Business Orientated Social Networking Service”; a title which I think sums them up quite nicely. Essentially, a LinkedIn user is required to populate a few data fields with the view of giving an insight into their career history. LinkedIn is split into the following sections:
  • Profile Header: This includes the person’s name, current job title, location, education and space for a photo if you so desire
  • Summary: A brief descrption of your role at your current employer with your main responsibilities and targets
  • Experience: This is space to show your current job title, employer details and duration of employment in each role; a key section
  • Volunteer: This optional section can be used to show any organisations that you have supported or are keen to raise awareness for (i.e. Cancer Research or Mental Health at Work for example)
  • Certifications: In my industry (IT) this is where I list out my Microsoft certifications along with any other professional qualifications I have gained whilst in employment
  • Languages: An optional list of languages you are fluent in
  • Skills and Endorsements: This is a great way to showcase your skills whilst adding integrity to your claims. Other LinkedIn users are able to ‘endorse’ you for certain skills based on the fact they have worked with you and can validate your claim

  • Education: Obvious init mate
  • Honors & Awards: Were you 'Employee of the Quarter' last Q? This is the place to show it off!
  • Recommendations: This is probably my favourite advantage of using LinkedIn as a CV. A colleague, manager or friend can write you a personal recommendation to validate your performance as an employee. This is typically a paragraph that describes you as a person or some particularly great work you did and praises your performance. 
LinkedIn allows a job hunter to submit their profile as a sort of 'virtual CV'. This allows a recruiter to view it within seconds of the application. LinkedIn provides an employer with a really fast and dynamic way of sourcing talent for their business. They can search for people by tagged skills, certifications and geography. They can choose to view people that are graduates or people that have experience. They can view your employment history and also your online references (or Recommendations as LinkedIn calls them) instantly and can also contact you directly via LinkedIn messaging. It is very easy and cost effective for companies to advertise their job openings (it takes a few minutes to create a new vacancy post) and also negates the need to use an agency which can be very costly, time consuming and frankly irritating.

I have found 2 great jobs through LinkedIn. The first occasion I used it for job searching I had been invited for interview less than 2 hours after applying for the role.

Let's murder the CV and embrace a faster and more dynamic recruitment process where candidates are matched to roles based on recommendations, skills and awards. Embrace the technology!

View my LinkedIn profile here: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/sianrobertsmicrosoft
This is not an endorsed post. I just like LinkedIn :)
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