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Will social media replace the paper CV?

by Kerry Voeliner, from Venturi, 21st March 2014

Recruitment is changing rapidly as the world becomes immersed with everything digital and huge leaps in technology.  At the same time in career and recruitment networks, one ongoing debate is: Will social media replace the paper CV?


LinkedIn has become an essential part of personal branding for the majority of professionals. Many recruiters work on this platform to specifically target potential candidates for roles. There are many reasons why LinkedIn could replace the traditional CV, including the scope for recommendations, transparency and flexibility. People who use this platform are already showing that they are digitally savvy, willing to network and of course opening themselves up to scrutiny by others; therefore highlighting the best of their abilities and achievements.


Twitter is now used by the majority of brands worldwide. Companies who recruit especially in the digital and creative industries are active on this platform and want to see that their potential employees are also. For example, a marketer who says he is a social media manager but doesn’t have a Twitter feed isn’t likely to get the position. In a recent article, 6 ways to score a job through Twitter, the author writes “You are what you tweet.” Recruiters can get an accurate conclusion of your overall character and personality by your tweets and engagement with others. Many people have gotten new jobs or careers this way, especially in PR, marketing and social media. Some have caught the attention of hiring managers and recruiters and others have answered job postings on Twitter. In January 2014, a competition run by the Guardian for graduates trended with the hashtag #DreamJob. Graduates were asked to send a six second vine describing their dream occupation.


Many companies are now asking for video clips instead of a CV. This can often be the candidate talking about why they should be considered for the role or sometimes it can be a specific task which has to be completed on camera relevant to the role. Videos are a good way for recruiters to judge the candidates confidence, conversational skills and other personality attributes.

Other social media   

Other social and digital media that people are using instead of CVs include Pinterest, Slideshare, Facebook, Blogger, own websites, digital aggregators and even mobile apps. Online branding is becoming very important for candidates as it a way to ensure that they keep up with current trends and helps them get noticed by recruiters and employers.

Will social media replace the paper CV? The question still remains and the debate will no doubt continue. However there are a few reasons why the traditional CV isn’t dead, just yet…

Applicant Tracking Systems

One significant point to remember is that ATS (Applicant Tracking System) software can only read traditional CVs in paper format. So for majority of recruitment agencies, this is still the best way for candidates to submit resumes. The software searches for specific keywords in resumes to determine matches.

Some recruiters simply prefer paper CVs

What candidates have to be aware of is that there will always be recruiters and hiring managers that simply prefer paper CVs. A paper CV does still have its benefits. It is a summary of your professional journey and if well-written, can be a glowing testimony to your achievements. Recruiters know within less than ten seconds if your CV is going to go any further, whereas online platforms are often standardised screen layouts; such as on LinkedIn.

It’s traditional

After all, tradition is tradition. Many people of the X generation may simply see a paper CV as good old manners. Younger people who don’t have a good, solid CV may look like they simply haven’t bothered in the eyes of an older recruiter or hiring manager. A paper CV suggests that you have taken the time to document your professional past and highlight the best of your career to date.


Social media, technology and digital media have undoubtedly transformed the process of recruitment for both candidate and recruiter. The opportunities for the candidate are plenty. They can showcase their talents, open up their networks, start engaging online and be found more easily than ever before. For the recruiter, these technologies have enabled them to search more effectively and make decisions on candidates based on their online activity and personal branding.

However, candidates have to be aware of standard ATS technologies and the fact that some people aren’t as excited by digital and social media as everyone else. Some jobs require skills that don’t require you to be completely digitally savvy or motivated and will still want a traditional CV. For the time being, candidates should develop both a professional paper CV and an online presence to keep ahead of the competition and in the minds of recruiters.