On May 1 this year, theMediaFlow was a year old and looking toward the next stage of development which includes building the team. I find therefore, I’m rather highly-tuned to any mention of recruitment, job-seeking and job searching within the industry.

When I saw this tweet from Lyndon Antcliff (@Lyndoman) on Monday, I couldn’t help but agree that the CV/resume is dead and think there’s a number of reasons why this is the case.

Is the CV/resume dead?

Tweet from @lyndoman

I agree that the CV is slightly redundant as a format, in an industry where commonly one's digital footprint tells a much clearer (and possibly more honest) tale of knowledge and history.

It’s my view that by nature, the search industry tends to attract those of an entrepreneurial nature. Those that seem to question the assumed status-quo tend to make good SEO’s. Combine that with the level of access and data provided to us by social media and search engines, and in addition to the methods of qualifying perspective employees mentioned above, we also have the means for some rather entertaining ways to land a job, or "steal" your next superstar SEO.

1. The Alec Brownstein method

I first came across this story via the Huffington Post on May 13th, though as far as I can tell it was Mr. Brownstein himself who first publicised his inventive method of getting a job via his YouTube channel. Quite simply, Alec used Adwords to promote his skills to top advertising execs that he (quite safely) imagined to be in the habit of hanging out with their "vanity SERP".

Bidding on the names of these six target execs, Alec managed to bag four interviews, two offers and a job. Oh... and he spent just $6!

2. Facebook advertising

During last month's SMX Advanced London, it was Guy Levine in the "Killer Facebook Marketing" session, who mentioned the capabilities of using Facebook advertising as a headhunting tool, during his presentation Facebook Marketing on Steroids.

Guy explained that given the very specific targeting capabilities Facebook affords, you can quite easily target the employees of a competitor, with ads for roles in your company.

3. Facebook meets Brownstein

On the other hand, if you're looking for a job and you know where you want to be and if you managed to find a suitable exec with a public profile; you could quite easily reverse-engineer their employer, age range, marital status, political views and interests to refine your target group to include little more than the person you're after, (with a reasonable degree of certainty).

Facebook Ad targetting

Of course, there's a fine line between chutzpah and stalkah.

4. Start a fight

Okay, so I'm deliberately exaggerating here; but to publicly, reasonably and intelligently offer a different viewpoint to a piece of research or a blog-post conclusion is a great way to get the attention of the author.

It doesn't necessarily have to be adversarial. In fact to take and expand in detail on a point made, or to test an espoused theory using your own research is just as good a way to get noticed by a potential employer.

Naturally, such a move might not work best if the sole objective is to get a job rather than to gain the respect and attention of the author; however if done well - taking it upon yourself to further the research or offer an alternative conclusion of an author, using considered and reasoned arguments, is something that always makes me sit up and take note.

And now, for giggles; a couple of things that might get you a restraining order rather than a job.

1. Query spamming the search suggestion tool

Yep. Definitely one to avoid, would be to query-spam the search suggestion tool.

Gi's a Job

Calm down. I totally hacked this together in photoshop.

2. Unsolicited DMs

If you know somebody well enough to DM them, then you shouldn't need to DM them for a job.


Although I'm pretty much of the opinion that the CV is a redundant tool, I'm not sure how all of these above methods might go down with different types of organisations and different cultures.

I do personally feel quite strongly that social media is just as valid (if not more) a method of assessment for prospective employees/employers to scope each other out. I also think we'll be seeing many more such creative ways of using one-to-one targeting (or near enough) to connect recruiters and seekers. It's would be in keeping with the social-mantra after all.

Nichola Stott

Published 3 June, 2010 by Nichola Stott

Nichola Stott is director and co-Founder of theMediaFlow and a contributor to Econsultancy. Find Nichola on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter

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Comments (19)

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Daniel HAYTER, Project Manager at vente-privee.com

I agree with you that employers are increasingly looking to social media to find out more about candidates. Not sure I'd agree that the CV is dead though as many people choose to use Twitter etc... for non professional aims.

about 8 years ago


Barry Dewar

I agree in principle but in reality, the establishment tend to return to old habits when it comes to sifting. They like to get a bunch of CVs and whittle them down. Then they might check you out on LinkedIn etc.

I saw a job recently for a social media consultant and got in touch to suggest they check me out online. I have a blog, comprehensive LinkedIn presence, Twitter etc.

I got a thanks, if you are interested then please submit a CV.

I really hope that more people start tackling it the way you do Nichola because it takes a lot of effort to get your profile right online only to find out that you've lost out to someone who has got a paper CV and talks a good game.

about 8 years ago



I agree that the CV is dead. It's good as an "official" document of your skill, work history, education. However, I imagine that a lot of employers (whilst not admitting to it) would make their first port of call a simple search of the candidates name into Google. This not only shows up their social profiles (if they have one), but it also shows up photos whether they are of family life, debauchery, big weekends etc. This is where you have to be careful with what is left out there on the web as I know I have seen some "questionable" stuff when I've searched for people I know - I can only imagine how this would affect my decision making on an applicant if I didn't know them!

about 8 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

I feel duty bound to employ anyone who emails me with the promise that they will "work like a badger". Great tips. c.

about 8 years ago


Jennifer Davis

Interestingly article. Recently when I was job hunting, I put out a question on Twitter to my followers: "I'm applying for a digital role - should I submit my linkedin instead of my CV?" (My linkedin is as comprehensive as my CV). The response was quite extreme, with my followers saying that this was a bad idea. It wouldn't be appreciated and you can't tailor your linked in for each individual application, as you should your CV. I was quite surprised at this response, as personally, I thought it showed my comfort with social media etc. Additionally, my linkedin is optimised for digital content roles anyway. I hope that companies start using social media not just to check that potential empoyees aren't 'dodgy', but as a valid alternative to CV submission.

about 8 years ago


Dan Frydman

When we look for staff, we want to see experience, background, check references, etc., but the online presence is an increasing part of that.  

I value a designer / developer less if they have no online presence (Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) at all.  It makes me think they're just in it for the day job and I'm interested in people who are living it, immersed in it.

The CV may merge into a catch all place for the signposts to where to engage with the candidate.  

A move to a new item on the CV that says 'Talk to me' with links to where they can be found online would be best.  A presence on LinkedIn is a free and simple way to do that without being a social media guru.

about 8 years ago

Nichola Stott

Nichola Stott, Director at theMediaFlow

@Daniel - My own personal view is that the CV is redundant; however I do think that there are organisations that due to ethos, size and culture (even in what we might consider new media) find it difficult to change out of such traditional practises.

@Barry - that sucks. What a pithy impersonal response to get when inquiring for a social role? On the other hand, I imagine that response told you pretty quickly that this wasn't the right place for you anyway?

@goosh - when it comes to the dirt, I personally try not to pre-judge someone too harshly as long as there is a balance to the composition. After all, we want humans not robots. (I think?!!!)

@Chris ;-)

@Jennifer - wow! I'm really surprised that the response was so extreme. I would have thought perhaps more half and half. My only slight reservation with suggesting your linkedin profile instead of CV, is that for some employers it may not appeal to their vanity (in that the expectation is that prospective employees should spend hours tailoring a CV to a job and a role). Oh.. that and some people still just don't get it ;-)

@Dan - I think you've nailed for me in your point about "in it for the day job" vs "immersed". Really excellent point.

about 8 years ago

Jon Hudghton

Jon Hudghton, Development at Quayside Clothing Ltd

Personally, I still like a good CV. Having an online presence is essential for an online job, but I'm not going to sift through tweets from 100+ applicants in order to try and judge aptitude. And sorry Shania, follower counts don't impress me much. You can really differentiate a CV and make yourself stand out vs other applicants (plus tailor it to each job as others have said); it still takes some nous to be able to do that.

Plus, what would I flick through at an interview without a CV? "I see on March 20th 2008 you tweeted....." ;)

I like your tips though; any of those things would grab my attention. I'd still ask for a CV though :)

One last thing; I have to say Nichola that I am loving your Photoshop skills - you're wasted in search and social media!

about 8 years ago



Interview for my current job:- "Hi Rhys, did you invent UKSEOHere?" "Yes" "Awesome" [1 hour later, which was more chatty than an interview - we were in a pub] "You're hired"

about 8 years ago

Nichola Stott

Nichola Stott, Director at theMediaFlow

@Jon - I take your point on the volume issue. Thus far I'm not sure there's a mechanism as suitable as the CV for the first round of refinements. Maybe we should develop something? ;-) I'm also violently opposed to anything Shania-related out of sheer principle. Regarding photoshop, the only one I hacked was the Matt Cutts one. I seriously did reverse engineer the ad process and started by looking at the profile of somebody I know and respect in the industry, and worked back from there to see if it was possible. That's actually a straight screenshot! @Rhys - I am proud to have been the random muse for that project. Well done on getting the job ;-)

about 8 years ago



I think you need to find a balance of all. Although people expect to see a CV first up, they will Google you (if they have any sense) to see what they find. I know people say their Facebook and twitter is public and shouldn't be seen. And if you are worried about it lock it down. It is the most genuine representation of you that most employers will find. Another tip, you could all RT and comment on every blog post someone makes until they give you a job? hey Nichola ;-)

about 8 years ago


tony fish

common issue with a CV is that it is not truly representative.

all advise is to be careful with what you say online

Therefore is CV or what you say about yourself of any use

What I think becomes interesting is references and what your social group says - this may provide some insights that you do not get from the old methods

here is my response  http://blog.mydigitalfootprint.com/what-would-you-prefer

about 8 years ago

Nichola Stott

Nichola Stott, Director at theMediaFlow

@Stu I agree that many employers still need the CV at the initial stage. I do feel we will find the CV has decreasing importance, though perhaps in the digital industries alone.

I don't think that "locking down" twitter or facebook is a good enough solution for those wishing to protect their privacy. Mistakes can be made, data is passed to third parties, tweets are indexed. Once it's out there, it's out there.

@Tony - I'm somewhere between point 3 and 4 on your questions. ;-)

about 8 years ago


Margaret O'Donnell, Head of Digital at British Red Cross

Interesting point Dan, and I also check out the digital footprint of applicants and expect them to be immersed online if it's a social media type job but what if it's not that type of job? Or their presence online is not work related? Do you expect people to tell you about that or would it influence you at recruitment? Like most people I have my work blog, Facebook, Twitter etc and my personal blog, FB and Twitter accounts. I do my personal stuff in my own time because it's fun, and a refreshing change from doing it with my professional hat on. I like to have a clear demarcation between my online personas for work and fun. Nothing sinister but I'm not the kind of person to share my holiday snaps with you unless you're a close friend and if I had to approach my personal blog with the same rigour as the work blog, then it'd be no fun! However, I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that I need to have a third approach with a professional/personal online presence for prospective employers. How does everyone else manage this - one account fits all or lots of different accounts?

about 8 years ago

Jayne Reddyhoff

Jayne Reddyhoff, Director at Zanzi Digital

I still ask for a CV and covering letter, as part of what I am looking for is an ability to write comprehensibly and grammatically.

I also want to see if the candidate has put some effort in to making sure that the CV appears to be relevant to the position I am advertising.

I will definitely check someone out online before inviting for interview, but those with little or no work experience (e.g. recent graduates) tend to have less that is useful online and frequently no Linked In presence at all.

On the other hand, I did have a background in big corporates before starting my own business and I am not in my 20s or 30s so my views may be demonstrating my age!

about 8 years ago

Nichola Stott

Nichola Stott, Director at theMediaFlow

@Margaret - I have a one account fits all approach. It's a decision I made when launching my business last year. I find that the boundaries between what is "personal" and what is "work" are blurring. As this business is my (second) baby I find the professional and the personal, (and the social), are in many ways the same thing for me. @Jayne - I think you make a very valid point about the individual effort in personalising and tailoring the CV - which does give some indication that they have done their homework. In addition - something I hadn't really considered in putting this together was age and experience. I think you're right in that it would be perfectly natural and acceptable for a recent grad to have little or no digital footprint. Thanks both for your considered comments.

about 8 years ago


Kobe Bean Bryant

I like turtles lol

about 8 years ago


David Holloway

I'm certain the CV is not dead. It's still a great marker for how articulate and professional a person is - espeically in the design field.

We've just written a brief article for new designers on things to consider when applying for a job. You can view it here: http://www.bml-creative.co.uk/2010/09/a-design-agencys-guide-to-getting-your-first-design-job/

Hopefully it might open a few doors for those people looking to break into this field, or at the very least stop them from being slammed shut!

Thanks for the post

almost 8 years ago



Come on guys, the CV is nowhere near dead. I am a pretty tech savvy person who even works in the digital industry but I do not have a Twitter account or LinkedIn account and my Facebook profile is hidden from anyone but my friends so if an employer looked he/she would not find anything about me on those sites.

No, the CV is still the number one resource for recruiters. That's not to say that being proactive as in your very clever Facebook Ads example will not boost your chances significantly, the recruiter would still expect to see your CV though I'm certain.

over 7 years ago

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