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Getting ahead... with alternative CV options

Karina Oluwo

04 April 2022

by Karina Oluwo

( Words)

The traditional CV has been the principal starting point for job applications since many of us can remember. However, digital transformation has brought with it plenty of new alternatives and a competitive job market is raising the game for candidates who want to stand out. We look at how those searching for their next career move can impress prospective employers by understanding more about new approaches and digital alternatives available.

What are employers looking for today?

Many hiring managers are no longer satisfied with appointing someone on the strength of their qualifications and background alone. Not only this, but to help ensure diversity in the workplace, many businesses are seeking to remove unconscious bias by adopting tech-driven assessment styles to better establish candidate suitability.

One type of assessment that is becoming more prevalent is based on closely analysing behaviour and skills. Although these assessments do not directly replace a CV, they are becoming a respected means of judging a candidate’s fit for a position. During these assessments, candidates are given a series of tasks that allow companies to understand how someone is likely to behave, interact and respond in the workplace. Levels of extroversion, patience, conscientiousness, and cognitive ability can be gauged, along with the overall potential performance of an individual. The results also help indicate how a candidate might fit in culturally to an existing team and organisation.

The need to be seen

In a saturated and competitive job market, the pressure to stand out amongst other candidates has led to people spending more time being creative and tailoring their CVs to put them firmly in the ‘yes’ pile. As a candidate returning to job search mode, what are some of the new methods you can adopt to stand up and be noticed?

  • Creating a digital CV
    One obvious but effective way to level up a traditional CV is by hosting it on a digital platform. As a reflection of our rapidly changing technological world, there is now a multitude of online platforms you can make use of to take your CV to the unique and professional level companies are growing to expect. This approach helps demonstrate your technical, IT, graphic design and creative skills without needing to put them into words. It’s an ideal way of ‘showing’ rather than ‘telling’ – very effective, and a useful insight for the hiring managers of today. Have a look at content management systems like WordPress with CV plug-ins, or hosting platforms like Wix, GoDaddy and SquareSpace that offer CV template creation and support on optimising your content for search engines.

  • Perfecting your online portfolio
    Digital portfolios serve as a useful accompaniment to a CV. They are a more comprehensive method of conveying your abilities and experience, providing a more rounded outline of what an employer can expect from you. Although they have been used by those in creative industries for a long time, many coders, software and IT specialists are now using online portfolios to illustrate their work. Similar to CV hosting platforms, there are a number of sites where you can build your online portfolio, for example, in WordPress, Behance or Dribble.

  • Understanding the importance of a LinkedIn profile
    With around 722 million members, LinkedIn is the largest professional network and a strong profile on the platform goes a long way in promoting your skills. In the same way digital portfolios allow for expansion, LinkedIn profiles also provide useful tools to help demonstrate the breadth of your abilities. The first rule is to ensure you have an up-to-date profile profile photo, as those without tend not to get viewed as much. Make sure you give your profile a succinct, descriptive headline, highlighting your skills and summarising your area of expertise without using flowery language or clichés. You can also convey your professional strengths through writing and publishing blog posts or presentations, sharing relevant industry posts with your network, and asking peers or clients to leave you a recommendation.

  • Considering the use of a video CV
    Videos are capable of communicating so many more messages than a conventional CV. Not only do they inform, but done correctly, they give a prospective employer a glimpse of your personality, communication style and confidence. The purpose of a video CV is to provide a snapshot of yourself, so it’s advisable to keep your content between 1-3 minutes long, maximising the quality by including key facts about yourself. When recording, put some thought into your location and appearance by finding somewhere with no distractions, and dress as you would for an interview. Giving your video a structure and practicing it will also ensure you don’t deviate or leave out important points.

  • Producing a skills-based CV
    One of the simplest yet most effective ways to stand out is to create a skills-based CV. This doesn’t require a big overhaul of your existing version; you simply need to highlight your skills at the top of your CV instead of beginning with your employment history. Try to be creative too. Visuals like pie charts, diagrams or bar graphs can be a really impactful means of illustrating your abilities. The sequence of a skills-based CV is particularly useful if you are looking to change your career because you are straightaway conveying your suitability for a new role, rather than focusing on your latest position. It’s important to remember that although your existing role may be at risk of becoming obsolete due to technological advances, this does not invalidate your career to date. Many of the skills you have acquired are transferrable and relevant to new tech positions too. For example, the ability to problem-solve, communicate, lead a team and be creative are all desirable, transferrable skills employers are looking for today.

Is the traditional CV still useful?

Although new technology and increased competition are changing employers’ expectations from candidates, the old-style CV is not completely redundant and is still a first port of call for many hiring managers. However, the focus is shifting; to appeal to companies adopting a skills-first approach, it’s wise to consider versatile ways of presenting yourself. With so many options, platforms and formats available, the abundance of choice can be overwhelming.

If you want to know what kind of approach will work best for you and the specific career move you are looking at, our experienced consultants at La Fosse can help you explore all the options available and recommend the best fit for you. Just get in touch with your dedicated consultant today or contact our team.

Or, if you're interested in starting a career in recruitment, get in touch with me directly to learn more about our award-nominated Associate Consultant Academy!

Where to next?

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