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The CV of the Future

I was thrilled a couple of years ago with an innovator (Adam Pacatti) who spent his last £500 on a billboard advertising his availability for work. You may remember that he paid for a poster on an East London billboard directing employers to his website and within minutes the media was all over it. He found a job pretty quickly after that, a great story for those austere times. 

Someone did it again last week. A resourceful young man called Tom Skinner ingeniously decided to create his CV in the style of a Mr Men book (Mr Candidate) and subsequently landed his perfect job. You can read all about it here.

Both were sick of being ignored by hiring managers. Adam Pacatti even went on to say 

“Employers are bored of looking at a sheet of A4. Do something different”

I thought: “how astute Adam, I am bored” and got excited about a future where perhaps a new type of CV would appear. After 10 years of opening envelopes then a further 10 opening my inbox, perhaps CVs will soon be video based or I would start seeing dancing holograms, akin to Princess Leia (great topical Star Wars tie-in there). Excitedly I called an old colleague to tell him the news: “put down your pen, TOM SKINNER HAS BROUGHT US THE FUTURE”.

He listened to me patiently for a while before calmly (as if explaining to a small child) telling me I was wrong and why:

“The thing is, maybe in twenty years, but until then nobody currently has the time or money to put together a system that can rival two or three sheets of written dialogue that can be sent anywhere in a benchmark format in seconds”

He has a point. It’s not just about the technology, it’s about the yardstick. I decided to do a bit of research to prove him wrong so to speak. I went online and tried to find a couple of video CVs to see what was out there. I didn’t find many and the ones that I did find were awful. Hideous business people doing Karate and saying things like “nothing is impossible” (apart from getting a job off the back of a video).

And that is the problem. At least with a CV you know that it’s going to be a standard (ish) length and in a standard (ish) format. Experience dictates that if you toy with this arrangement by including pictures of yourself or using bright colours and comedy fonts in order to “stand out” you will definitely stand out, but not in the way you want.

In almost two decades I have yet to meet one recruiter or senior hiring manager who upon seeing a radically different CV has said “WOW, BLACK PAPER, that is so different, it’s amazing, hire this man”. 

So until the industry standard is agreed (e.g. less karate, dress like a newsreader, no cats) I doubt video CVs are going to take off. For every sensible contribution you are going to get two or three Francis Ford Coppolas ready to bore you to death by droning on about how ace they are.

So where does this leave Mr Pacatti & Mr Skinner?  In my mind, they are  bright innovative genii who have pulled off brilliant stunts for the sector they wish to work in (creative); but for most mere mortals you are better sticking to a well put together CV. For now.

Bonus material: This video CV was the highlight of my research and I hope the young man got a job. I would advise against emulating this and on your Linked In profile.

Disclaimer: Views expressed are not those of Interim Partners, don’t try it at home, etc.


Scott Hutchinson is the Principal of  Manufacturing & Engineering at Interim Partners.

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