This weekend I found myself rather abruptly struck with a curious affliction. While friends boarded a train headed for Central London (we decided to give this ‘prinking‘ fad a go), I decided – in my Vodka-addled state – instead of pursing a path that would inevitably lead to expunging choice bodily fluids, violently, that I would stagger back home, put on the radio, pour myself a large glass of water, and set myself to bed.
Have I grown up? No. Not for a second do I believe that I have. For instance, I still harbour a staunch distrust of authority, and I own several cuddly toys. But the symptoms are there. I wake up before 8 in the morning on Saturdays. I’ve adapted my diet and eating habits to my rapidly declining metabolism. My hangovers now last longer than 12 hours. And I, of course, am searching for a job.
But the process is different to how I remember it being. I haven’t had to so much as glance at my CV, as it sits neglected on my hard drive picking up imaginary dust. I know I’m ageing, but surely things can’t have changed so dramatically, so soon?
When I came across an article published in the Telegraph, beginning ‘The CV might be dead‘ I scoffed, sighed a definitive “don’t be stchoopid,” and resumed my post-examination viewing of sleazy, banter-heavy ‘Suits’ (which, incidentally, is excellent). This, having not so much as opened the article, let along having read it. But last week, almost a month into the hunt, I decided to humble myself and peer beyond the presumptuous headline.
Employer Josephine Fairley argues that the CV is being permanently shredded, as – among other reasons – it represents little more than a dull, double-paged spread of exaggerated, self-promotive fluff. The same concept applies to its partner-in-crime, the cover letter.
So what’s replacing it? Fairley suggests “personality tests, IQ tests, ‘vocational interest measures’ and ‘integrity tests’ are already deployed,” with a “pre-interview test” soon to become the norm. Others I know have had to sit exams prior to being offered a job, but in my experience this is not the case – at least not yet.
While the CV represented, in essence, a brief summary of your entire working history snugly condensed onto two pages of A4, the job application of today manifests as a brief summary of your entire working history messily splattered across multiple web pages, injected into several text entry boxes, eventually feeding into a content management system.
Almost every application that I have encountered has subjected me to the joys of form filling – an activity comparable with gauging out your eyes with a plastic teaspoon – as if the process couldn’t have been made any more laborious than it already was.
Instead of firing off a CV, you will be expected to ‘upload’ one, or even worse – ‘connect’ your LinkedIn profile. The next stage is akin to organising a CD collection based on the hue of the outer sleeve. The content of your CV is scrambled over several pages of application, in various text boxes with such obnoxious headers as: ‘Why is it that you want want to do the thing that you want to do, and not another thing?’ and ‘Tell us why you love our company so much’ and ‘Urgh. How much money do we have to give you?’
Then you’ll have to rewrite everything because the synchronisation has, obviously, gone wrong. The task is so arduous that by the end of it you aren’t too sure whether you necessarily want the job any more. But I guess that’s how they weed out the weak, from the desperate, from the borderline insane.