The title of this post was inspired from an old book I read by Ries & Ries entitled “The Fall of Advertising & The Rise of PR“. This book was published in 2002, I think with Social Media in full throttle today, this book makes more sense than ever! I highly recommend reading this book.
Anyway, I wanted to start today’s post with a trivia question to test our general knowledge
Q: What do these words have in common?
- Arfaj (Ryanterium Epapposum)
- Basking Shark
A: They are all on the verge of EXTINCTION
The main difference; however, is that there is no hope in saving the last one! Yes, you heard me. I am telling you that CVs are on the verge of extinction and the process is irreversible. My prediction is that in a short couple of years, the traditional CV will cease to exist and the only people that will be mourning that day are those who have not developed their personal brand.
The Fall of CVs
Let us look at the typical format of a CV: Name, Contact Details, Work Experience, Education, and Extracurricular Activities. More often than not, the Work Experience is literally the Job Description you received when you applied to the vacancy in the first place; rarely do you see achievement based CVs. So basically, if you and I were to work for the same company and have the same job title, let’s say account manager, chances have it that this particular part of our CV will be identical – hopefully, you’ll have a typo, which gives me an advantage of you (uh, yeah!)
Having said that, imagine this highly probable scenario: two business school graduates from the same university that had their internships in very well established enterprises are applying for the same job vacancy. You are the HR manager of this company, whom do you choose? The more appropriate question in this case is how do you choose? You might have to resort to rolling the dice, or playing eeny, meeny, miny, moe … that seems quite fair, let’s leave it all to chance! (You can read more about this in an earlier post entitled Personal Branding is For You!)
So back to the initial question, why are CVs dying out? Below is a list of options to choose from:
- It is static
- It is boring (maybe that’s not very scientific, but it still presents a plausible argument)
- It lacks any personalization
- It says nothing about your character
- It is biased – you wrote it!
- It only shows one side of you
I’d like to rephrase the earlier statement claiming that this an option list to choose from, in my opinion CV are all that and more …
The Rise of Personal Branding
What makes you unique? Who are you? What is so special about you? What do people think about you? All these questions are answered in Personal Branding. Creating your personal brand allows you to promote a 360 degrees view of yourself.
Based on a recent study entitled Reputation Management & Social Media conducted by Pew Research Center, 57% of all adult Internet users in the US have used a search engine to conduct their ego surf -this number is up from a figure of 22% in 2001. Activities pertaining to setting up an online profile on a social networking site have also gone up to 46% in 2009, from just 22% in 2006. Similarly, seven in ten adults have conducted an online search for information about other people – 44% of online adults have dug online for information regarding someone whose services or advice they seek in a professional capacity. In his book, Six Pixels of Separation, Mitch Joel notes that, more than ever before, people’s first interaction with the brand is happening at the search box. He continues to say that the first page of search results defines you (your brand).
Hypothetically, as an HR Manager, I would want to know more about you based on more tangible proof than what you claim in your CV. If I read your blog, I would understand your train of thought, what you are passionate about, how you interact with people’s criticism … and much more. If I need to look at your resume, I can always seek out your profile on LinkedIn, and look at recommendations you have from previous employers, clients, and colleagues. I can also get a chance to see the kind of books you like to read, how your network is built …etc. The holistic view provided by a well-developed Personal Brand allows my choice (as HR manager) to be more scientific!
The New CV
Here is a quick format of the new CV:
- Blog: This is where you express your passion in any format (writing, podcasts, or video) – content is a key ingredient when it comes to building your brand. People want to know how you think, what value can you add to them, why should they get to know you better – blogging is definitely the ultimate expression platform!
- LinkedIn: This is where you layout your work experience / education / contact details. It is also, where you build your professional network. Seek out recommendations from your professors, colleagues, and clients.
- Twitter: Think of twitter as the ultimate middleman, or your elevator pitch (in this case 140 characters pitch) – you’re in cocktail party and you want to earn the attention of people with similar interests. This attention is then diverted to more lengthy conversations and discussions over on your blog, or on Skype …
Other platforms can be used to build your personal brand; it all depends on the audience you would like to attract. If you were in Egypt for example, and you would like to attract 18 to 30 years old graduate with a middle-to-upper income level, then you definitely should tackle Facebook.
When someone asks me for my CV, I ask him or her to look me up online. I am not trying to be arrogant; in fact, I am exposing myself completely. I am giving them a real chance to get to know me without feeding them mere “job descriptions” on my CV. When you finish your post, run a vanity search. The first 3 to 4 results are what an HR Manager will be looking at when he or she googles your name. Are you satisfied with the results? Think About It!
One last thing:
After the success of the “Personal Branding – Your Avatar is Important – Stick to It!”post – we have been presented with a lot of questions that have led us to develop this interesting survey (results of which will be shared upon completion). Thank you for taking 2 min of your time to help us out. Click here to take survey