Job hunting in the digital age: is the traditional CV enough?

As businesses and people across the globe move into a digital age characterised by social media, online professional networking profiles and even personal websites, do we still need CVs when looking for new job opportunities?

Employers and recruiters are turning to online job portals like Job Mail, to cast a wider net and ensure they can source the best employee for the job at hand.

The same can be said of job seekers, as they are able to search through a wide variety of jobs available, and use filters to sort the jobs according to categories, geographic location and more.

Job portals also allow for job seekers to upload their CVs so that recruiters looking for specific skill sets can track them down and reach out to them.

But, given South Africa’s poor economic growth and high unemployment rate, there are potentially thousands of applicants for the limited number of jobs out there.

The onus is thus on the job seeker to make their CV stand out from all the others that employers or recruiters have to sift through.

Visual CVs are on the rise, and people are increasingly resorting to make their CV stand out through the use of images - infographics, charts, and timelines - allowing for prospective employers or recruiters to gain an overview of the applicant’s educational and professional history at a glance.

There are several websites that offer such CV building services: users can log in using their LinkedIn credentials, the website automatically pulls in all the information from their LinkedIn profile, and creates a visual CV for them.

These visual CVs don’t even have to be in a traditional document format that can be printed or emailed: several online CV services go even further by setting up an online CV for users, and provide them with a website URL that can be included when enquiring about employment opportunities.

Such services usually operate on the 'Freemium' model, where basic visual CVs are created for free, but users then have to pay for extras like customisation, more detailed information, personal branding, custom URLs, and even short video introductions or testimonies.

Many job portals, recruiters, and employers also allow for job seekers to submit online applications through pulling information from LinkedIn profiles, and job seekers need to make sure their profiles are regularly updated, especially with regards to experience, skills and achievements.

Companies in retail, hospitality and creative industries are also upping the ante by asking job seekers to submit short video CVs, where the job seeker has to speak about themselves, their qualifications and work experience - and even why they feel they should get the job.

Video CVs can further help recruiters or employers evaluate candidates based on their communication skills, personality and character.

The rise of internet-related jobs has also changed the way in which employees are hired, and people looking for jobs in this rapidly expanding industry need to have an online presence where it counts.

People applying for social media management positions will need a presence on multiple social media networks with reasonable number of fans or followers, while digital content marketers might need to have a blog with regular posts to demonstrate their writing skills, familiarity with search engine optimisation (SEO) and so on.

With so many options available, where does one start? Firstly, it is important to take into account the intended audience of the CV - if the job seeker is looking for something in the creative industries, a strikingly visual and unusual CV maybe the best way to showcase their skills and gain the attention of the employer.

For a job in a more conservative industry, it would be better to stick to the basics

So, is the CV dead? It’s not - the traditional CV and cover letter still gives the prospective employer detailed information about the job seeker, as well as their educational and professional history.

But, in today’s digital age job seekers should enrich their traditional CVs with visuals, and also give prospective employers the option of being able to look at video CVs, detailed LinkedIn profiles and even social media profiles so they can gain a better understanding of the person they want to hire.

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