When the Curriculum Vitae just isn’t enough: rise of the social CV

He Want's A Job

The Curriculum Vitae, (yes the CV) and the resume, followed by a series of interviews, entrance exams and plenty of nervous sweating in boardrooms across Ad Land have for so many been the green shoots of careers that have since flourished into the PR and Marketing men and women of Soho and Madison Avenue.

However, that once heralded sheet of A4 is becoming less and less appealing to HR directors, whose inboxes are filled daily with the word document versions of young hopefuls, applying for graduate schemes and alike.

So many are now trying their hand at getting noticed by the powers that be, by using a different set of tools – those being digital, mobile and most importantly social (Will your next CV be an infographic? [infographic]).

Even just this last week a rather ingenious little example reared it’s head in the form of a Facebook Ad on my own News Feed. I logged in to find the display ad above (see pic), informing me that this young PR chap was looking for a job at Ogilvy (where I previously worked – a detail included in my Facebook career history).

By using the Ad targeting system in Facebook he had targeted these ads to all those who had listed Ogilvy as a previous place of work, and had uploaded a link through to an online version of his CV, explaining his mission to gain employment.

Asides from the obvious risk of his current employer (another London based, reputable agency) seeing this – after all there is no way of knowing just who has worked were 100% of the time – I think this was a fantastic way of getting noticed.

Since seeing this I have spoken with the guy, and have also put him in touch with Ogilvy’s head of social media – I wish them both well.

Of course this isn’t the first time we have seen this kind of thing – just last year Alex Brownstein gained some attention by using a similar tactic using Google Ad’s to get the attention of the New York marketing community. Could this be the future of HR, don’t advertise for the applicant – let the applicant advertise to you?

PPC lends itself nicely to this kind of thing – cheap, easy to set up and can, when used correctly, be very targeted. However even this means of getting attention only holds its novelty for so long – and it seems that the big recruiters and marketing houses are asking for more and more in the creative stakes from talent seeking to get ahead.

This past week both my own agency and Saatchi & Saatchi opened the process for graduates to try and use social media to grab their attention. Saatchi’s chose to pose a challenge for grads to set up a new twitter account and race to acquire followers before the agencies chosen deadline. Many have argued that the ad house are so far missing the point of social media altogether by “focussing on the numbers” and it seems that those applying for the scheme are also keen to highlight this.

The blog “The Saatchi Experiment” appeared this week (gaining coverage across the blogosphere including on eConsultancy – and now here on the WallBlog), very tastefully discrediting the premise of the agencies attempt to show they “got” social media.

Whatever you think of the Saatchi & Saatchi campaign, one thing is clear – agencies are after creativity first, credentials second.

  • webabla

    Creative steaks? Really?

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  • http://jamespoulter.co.uk jamespoulter

    Spotted and corrected!

  • http://www.cloudnine-media.co.uk Steve Ward

    Great post James – and wholly relevant to the current discussions around talent attraction and social media interaction.

    Interesting though, that the pioneers of these sort of ideas (ads, video CVs, blog CVs, etc) have done well – but many subsequent examples of the same idea have failed.

    I think we can get carried away with thinking a new idea is the next big thing, and then realising that some new ideas, although creative – can look well, kind of spammy. Then the appeal is lost.

    We live in a world where we don’t like to be sold to, too often. Too much of this creative pro-activity from a job seeker; sadly; will soon be annoying my the majority – and traditional methods win.

    That said; the process by Saatchi – because it was dictated by the hiring company – INVITES creativity, and that is a wise move on their part.

  • Mairi Clark

    It’s great to see that this level of creativity is still being done. The accessibility of social media has enabled potential adlanders to be creative in their job search. But let’s remember this is not a new thing. Nearly twenty years ago, young creatives were trying absolutely anything from dropping presents off to recreating pages of Campaign.

  • Hans Helbig

    I couldn’t agree more with Steve, it seems that we are moving to an ‘entertainment’ based world at all levels. Be it on the TV, an app based operating system and now finding a job. In that sense, this form of application will appeal to those who favour entertainment; I might get you in the door, but do you have enough substance to carry yourself? We come back to success being founded on working hard and hard work. Usually a first-mover, if planned, will know this so good luck to the guy and good work.
    The Saatchi element is a learning tool for applicants and so getting numbers isn’t at all bad – and let’s face it, there is a massive swathe of social media users who focus on popular culture and ignore substance, so having a ‘numbers guy / girl’ is a useful tool for an ad agency.

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  • Avon Barksdale

    I dont know… info graphics can be a fun and compelling way of imparting information but there’s a part of me that can’t help thinking it’s a cop out cos we are now too dumb or lazy to cope without anything that doesnt give us our information hit immediately in bite size chunks. The adult equivalent of spot the dog books?

  • HireBetterWriters

    Agency’s, Agency’s, Agencies.

    Does Haymarket not employ anyone who can write anymore?

  • http://twitter.com/iboy George Nimeh

    Having reviewed thousands of CVs over the years, standing out is definitely a key to getting hired. There are many ways to do that, and creative CVs/portfolios is one of them. I thought this was pretty clever: The ever-popular infographic, now in CV format :: http://bit.ly/hquOvF

  • James

    Standard Chartered Singapore challenged people to use social media to campaign to be on the Breeze mobile banking team. As far as I could see it got a lot of momentum. At the time I thought it was a bit cheesy, but could see the merit in such an exercise. Judge for yourself, http://apps2.standardchartered.com/breeze-online-banking-blog/announcements/the-worlds-coolest-intern/

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