Sunday, February 27, 2011


I've never liked writing my CV. It always takes longer than anticipated because you tend to analyse every word - does that sound too modest/boastful? do I really need to mention that?. They're generally extremely predictable documents full of buzzwords and politically correct information (everyone embraces change, enjoys challenges, welcomes diversity and has hobbies like wind-surfing, judo or mountain biking). I don't think this aspect of the CV will change but the way your career record is documented and where you put it are changing rapidly.

Employers today spend increasing amounts of time checking applicants' digital footprints and with so much information out there that the traditional CV is becoming completely obsolete. I've just read an article in Forbes called 5 Reasons Why Your Online Presence Will Replace Your Resume in 10 years. The ten year perspective seems extremely cautious and I suspect that social media are a key factor to finding a job today, at least in some areas of business. The key is to manage your digital presence and ensure that your experience and competence are as visible as possible to potential employers.

I've heard a lot about employers checking people's Facebook profiles before choosing who to interview but that is only revealing if the candidate is unaware of the privacy settings in Facebook. Much hotter in the employment market is LinkedIn which is all about career networking and allows you to write an online CV.

The point here is that our CVs are already online. We have our profiles and activities on variuos social media sites, our photos on Flickr or Picasa, our blogs, web sites and our contributions to discussion forums and suchlike. The problem is that our digital footprints are fragmented and haphazard. Anyone trying to find out about us will have to sift through many Google links and may find the right information but may equally stumble upon the less complimentary stuff. We need to think of out digital footprint as the new CV and try to take control of our net identity.

An article on Mashable, How to build the ultimate social media resume, gives some tips on how to refine your digital identity and there are undoubtedly hundreds of similar pages of tips. This I think should be a vital part of the digital literacy that schools should be providing. If young people can take control of their digital identity from the start and build up an online profile it will make them more interesting for future employees.

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