Executive Career Advice

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The CV & Personal Branding Consistency

The CV and personal branding consistency

What else can be written about the executive level CV that hasn’t already been said? It’s been a career/job staple now for many years, but depending on what articles you read, there seems to be a movement toward cloud based options (storing your data remotely online). So, is the paper CV dead? What uses should you put it to in todays recruitment market.

Small Touches Still Count
My take on this is that the CV isn’t dead, not yet. Personal touches are an often forgotten factor. If proximity allows, imagine the difference it could make by handing your CV, with covering letter if appropriate, personally to the relevant recruiter or HR contact for the position to which you’re applying (for a direct approach)? How about old fashioned snail mail? Personal touches like this are rare, but it’s all about standing out from the crowd isn’t it? I know in reality sometimes this approach isn’t possible, but at least consider the option. This kind of thinking elevates your personal brand – “you” – above the average applicant. Companies and recruiters will definitely want to look you up online, so take care to check and double check alignment of your CV with your social media profile – including spellings and grammar. Watch out for any potential red flags, especially around inconsistencies.

Personal Brand Consistency
One thing that’s certain is that consistency across multiple platforms is a major factor to consider. Take social media; LinkedIn is growing massively (almost 400 Million users and growing (Q4 2015)), so ensure that if you upload your CV that you maintain it, and ensure any factors you’ve majored on in your profile (hope you’re using key words in your LinkedIn summary?!) are mirrored in your CV. It’s become more of a personal branding issue I feel, and all revolves around making sure that all of the elements of “brand you” are aligned. Show that you know what you can offer, and you know how to articulate this. Remember, you can also be more ‘personable’ on social than on your CV.

Innovation
Despite the sub-headline, I’d avoid using words like innovative by the way (in your CV & online presence anyway). Think instead about describing in a bit more detail how you managed e.g. certain projects, what key skills you used, as – joking aside – words like “innovative” are too generic to be able to differentiate you, and differentiation is what you’re trying to achieve, isn’t it?

Recruiters Playing Catch Up
But perhaps recruiters are playing catch up too? The initial request most often is to “submit your CV” to apply for a particular vacancy, so we have to assume that as well as looking you up on social media, the initial sifting process will be carried out by using the CV, at least for now. Social recruiting is picking up pace now too, so be mindful of your online social and digital brand presence; it should be consistent and represent you accurately.

The Future
This is such a difficult one to call. The paper CV as an institution has been around for longer than anyone reading this article – probably. Change is happening though, and I foresee a time relatively soon where the accepted style of job application may be utterly revolutionised. Once one or two big recruiters start to use web-based solutions, others will follow. There will always need to be a CV of sorts of course, and perhaps the big point here is that it may become a virtual document, with clickable links, embedded video, and other visual tools. But don’t ditch that CV for now. I suggest to stay mindful and in tune with what’s happening in recruitment, and stay modestly active in a few Linked In groups, even when you’re in that new job. Keeping your finger on the pulse, as they say, is vital in todays jobs market.

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