What are the alternative CV options?
Many moons ago, a job seeker typed their CV on plain white paper, put it into an envelope, licked a stamp and sent it through the post. Times have changed and today, more and more people are posting their applications online – which offers you the opportunity to create multimedia CVs designed to blow the minds of future employers.
An all-singing, all-dancing CV with elaborate graphics may seem like a great idea, but if not done correctly, it could be the fastest way to accelerate your application into the ‘No' pile.
PDF (Portable Document Format) -
If you've used a computer, you've probably come across this file format before. It's a highly versatile format that allows you do build a multi layered document with text and images without worrying about the file size. Once you have created your document using a Desktop Publishing programme (such as Quark Express) simply publish it as a PDF and you'll have a file that almost anyone can view, and always in the same format.
One drawback is that once a PDF is published, it can't be changed, so you will always need to return to the master file to make adaptations.
HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)
The coding language that the vast majority of websites are built in. To see what it looks like, right click your mouse on any website (when not hovering over a link) and select ‘View Source'.
With very basic knowledge it's easy to create an online CV, but be careful not to get too carried away with the design – it's very easy to make an ugly website, as any avid internet user will have seen many times.
The development of this multimedia authoring program has allowed web designers to get really creative with websites, often to the detriment of the usability.
If you don't know how to use it, stay well away. If you do, make sure the flash design you use actually contributes to the ease with which your details can be found, rather than making it difficult to read and navigate.
The jury is still out as to the extent that video will be adopted by the recruitment process, but there has been significant growth in the number of companies offering a ‘Video CV' service. The general method is to hook up a webcam and record your personal statement and give an overview of the experience and skills you have to offer.
Certain roles this will be great for, such as face-to-face sales where you need to come across as confident and personable, however, as production qualities will vary massively and many people are not comfortable in front of a camera, this method can currently not match the classic written method of applying for a job.
These approaches are normally reserved for people working within the creative, advertising or design industries where an applicants CV can be used by an employer as the first impression of how an applicant can come up with innovative ideas.
What you need to bear in mind is that if you do choose to create a visually impressive CV, the employers that you are sending it to may not be as technically-minded as you and may not have the necessary software to view the document in the format that it was created. Furthermore, large files containing images or video can take an age to download and they might just not bother so always include an alternative plain Word CV they can choose to view instead.
Remember, employers are more interested in the quality of the information, rather than the design and appearance of your CV. The best style of CV is simply the one that gets the information across about you to prove you're right for the job.