Todays’ bright idea: a new open source file format for CVs.
In the old days a CVwas typed up on paper and physically posted. Now they are done in (usually) MS Word and more often emailed or uploaded to an employer or agency’s web site, but people still think of the CV as a document and talk about it in terms of pages. The big debate is how many pages it should be. Some people advocate a strict one-page maximum. Others say it should be two.
This can lead to some job-hunters with a lot to say using tiny fonts and intricate formatting to get it all into the number of pages they go for. Unfortunately the receivers of these CVs can have a different printer, or set of drivers, or fonts, or preferences set in Word, or they might even use different software like LibreOffice and the CV they print comes out looking very different. That one-page CV comes out at one page plus two lines perhaps.There are upsides to this. It exposes those people who use the spacebar for all their formatting instead of tables or tabs, but should everyone be judged on their Word skills, even if that is not a requirement of the job?
One result of the increasingly electronic nature of CVs is that employers and agencies like to put them through software that hunts for particular keywords – difficult if somebody has presented it as a PDF to preserve all the formatting but the recipient’s software can only process Word .docs.
I find it all a bit inelegant. The same file is being used as a data source for batch processing and as a presentation document.
How much better to have a file that just had the data in it, along with some metadata about how to present it. It would be a bit like XML, could even be defined using XML. Get a few big players to accept it and it could become a de facto standard.
One single file could be used in different ways by different programs at different times. For example, you could use it to upload the information you want to LinkedIn in one go, updating your entire history. An agency could use the data for filtering and better matching. They could send pre-defined extracts of the data to their clients…
I remember going to an interview once and seeing my carefully-designed CV after it had been ruined by an agency removing all the bits which would have enabled their client to identify me. I think they didn’t trust their clients to not directly approach applicants and avoid commission or something.
I’m a bit of an idealist. What appeals to me about this is that the content would become the important aspect, and not the presentation. An employer would have all the CVs printed out in the in-house style so they would have to concentrate on the words and not the font they are presented in. OK it would be better to never actually print them in this day and age, but that is a bit too ambitious.
Once you have an accepted format then developers can go ahead and design programs (or Android apps) to help you populate your CV file. That is where the money would be, not in the file format itself, but in the clever ways to help you fill it or interpret it. Perhaps you could keep a master file with everything in it and then get selective about which bits to include for a specific job?
I like the idea, but then I would wouldn’t I?