Should we scrap the CV in favour of an experience graph?


If you've ever been involved in a recruitment process, you'll know that CVs can vary in terms of presentation, length and... well, bullshit. As we embrace new technologies, should we look to scrap the traditional CV in favour of a more real reflection of the experience a candidate has? 

"Believe it or believe it not, the origin of the ‘professional’ CV seems to be credited to Leonardo Di Vinci in 1482 when he wrote to a potential employer – the Duke of Milan – listing his skills and capabilities which included rock flinging, building bridges and sculpture, but only during times of peace! And since then, for over the next 500 years the CV, as a documented description of someone’s skills and experience, has been in use," explains Cathal Grogan of Verify Recruitment. "Of course, the format, form, and expected information to be provided have changed throughout the years (there was a time where you were expected to provide details such as date of birth, religion, and weight!), but both candidates and employers have adopted the formality of a CV as part of the application process."

So, rather than presenting a potential employer with a chronological list of work history, could a graph that containing key highlights and initiatives taken throughout one's entire career be a better alternative? This method would show not just what a person has done, but also how they achieved it. 

"The Experience Graph is based on the xAPI (x for experience) data specification, which enables the automatic capturing of learning or experience events throughout your career (you attended a conference, you completed a online course, you read a technical article, you listened to a technical podcast etc) and using the data collected to present a detailed and complete account of your skills and experience. Of course the biggest issue here is privacy, how comfortable are people in allowing all these events to be captured and shared," says Grogan

"But there is also the issue of context – this new technique can capture what you did, but not the context in which you did it (the what not the how!). And in reality, it is the context which is most important, how you apply the skills you have is really what most employers are looking for. The Experience Graph is an interesting emerging technology but is probably many years away from becoming mainstream."   


If this is a few years away from becoming mainstream, what are Grogan's top three tips for making a traditional CV stand out from the crowd? 

  1. There are many many CV templates out there that you can use, so you don’t need to go through the process of trying to create your own.
  2. What you need to concentrate on is providing good context in which you have applied your skills and experience.
  3. Think back on what you have worked on in your career to date and choose those projects, roles etc that you are most proud of and include them. Including these things that truly give you a sense of pride and accomplishment will lift the language of the CV, will give it energy, purpose and most importantly if you get to meet the employer will help you shine.

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