The ancient, often soul-destroying process of job-hunting has undergone something of a transformation in recent years, with the rise of social media offering jobseekers the advantage of both a wider reach and a more focused, targeted approach. Networks for professionals such as LinkedIn have become a social media mainstay, a digital version of the more conventional paper resume, and Facebook has recently attempted to get in on the act with its own BranchOut app. Now, more creative and visual methods of appealing to employers are beginning to usurp the traditional, text-based CV.
This is far from an overnight development. Visual CVs are fairly uncommon in the UK, but have gained considerable popularity elsewhere – the US in particular. Back in May, Harvard Business School graduate Jeanne Hwang turned her enthusiasm for online pinboard Pinterest into a genuine career opportunity, taking the time and effort to transform her Pinterest page into a bona fide curriculum vitae, demonstrating just how good a fit she was to work at the trendy social media company.
“Hey Pinterest!” the intro hailed, “where else to show my background and passion for Pinterest than right here? If you click through the pins, you’ll get to my digital resume for details! Thanks for stopping by, this ain’t your mama’s resume!” Hwang’s initiative and creative thinking ended up garnering considerable interest from a number of creative marketing agencies.
Pathbrite, a newly launched San Francisco-based digital platform,seems to be taking its cue from Pinterest (with just a dash of Facebook’s Timeline function), offering students and young jobseekers a canvas on which to “holistically” present their achievements, much like a collage or storyboard. Marketed as “a next generation portfolio product”, Pathbrite user profiles are based around collections of clickable images which highlight interests and achievements, such as snapshots and video clips of design work, sporting activities or travel. Christopher Gray, Pathbrite’s chief product officer, claims “it makes it easy for learners of all ages to showcase the best work they’ve done”.
It is easy to see the appeal of such an approach; individuals have an opportunity to make their resume truly unique, while recruiters get to see a little something of the person, and not just the candidate. In other words, visuals add an emotional and intuitive layer to the overall texture of a CV. Which is ideal for artists, designers and other creative types. But what about the lawyers and accountants of the world? The secretaries and the office managers? There are a vast number of professions which place nowhere near as much value on images as they do on facts and figures, accuracy and efficiency. In these professions, candidates must be succinct and to the point; something which can be accomplished much more easily through a few well-placed words than any YouTube link.
While platforms such as Pinterest and Pathbrite offer a fresh and innovative way to present oneself career-wise, they have yet to achieve widespread use. LinkedIn remains the professional network to beat, and bears a close enough resemblance to the traditional CV to suggest that the format is far from dead.
So what do you think? Do visual resumes celebrate novelty over accomplishment, style over substance? Let us know in the comments.