The paper CV is dead!

The paper CV is dead! It had a good run – 540 years to be precise. Accredited to the polymath Leonardo da Vinci in 1482, the paper CV began with a letter to the Regent of Milan. In the letter da Vinci – who was 30 years old at the time – showcased his skills and accomplishments, and unapologetically boasted about no less than eleven things he would bring to the city of Milan. Needless to say, da Vinci got the job! Submitting a paper CV, however, has joined the growing list of things that are no longer common practice as our world becomes increasingly digital. So I ask you this: if da Vinci was compiling his CV today, what would that look like?  

What did your first CV look like? How many times has it changed since then? Certainly the job market I was encouraged to write a CV for as a 12 year old in my school’s careers curriculum was not the same job market I experienced a decade later when applying for a post-degree position. And as I switched career paths a decade after that I was struck by how quickly the way that you advertise yourself in today’s job market has changed again!

It is exciting to work in a diverse field like Careers Education, however making sure that curriculum and content is relevant, progressive, practical and has longevity is a never ending task. In 2006 when Martin Boehm became the dean of IE Business School in Spain he predicted that “Eighty percent of jobs that will exist in 2025 don’t exist today”. Due to the changing job market, Boehm went on to challenge “what are we actually going to teach in our programmes?” and concluded that innovative approaches to teaching and learning were just as important as the subject matter itself. Boehm also spoke about how students are “so used to sharing everything” on social media and introduced a “digital classroom” – a radical idea at the time – to increase academic engagement. Little did we realise just two years ago how “digitally literate” we, as teachers, were about to become. Articles on TES.com reflect on the COVID “digital classrooms” and how the necessary shift to digital learning has encouraged curriculum delivery to be more versatile and adaptable than ever before. It has opened the doors to a new world of effective pedagogy. Society has also widened its eyes to the power of the digital world and expansion into this sphere is more rapid than ever. 

Whilst the content of the traditional CV remains vitally important, the direction the job market is heading is fascinatingly uncertain, and the life experiences of the young people in our classroom are increasingly digital. What, therefore, can we achieve within the Careers Curriculum that has a transformational, effective, and empowering impact to give our young people the best possible start on their career journey? Surely we can meet them where they are?

TikTok, the social video app, threw a curve ball in 2021 when it came to engaging ‘Generation Z’ with careers development. TikTok piloted a programme called “TikTok Resumes” where companies in the USA like Target and Chipotle hired entry- and mid-level employees using only a short video as the application process. Whilst a study by Statista Research Department in September 2020 found that 24% of 15-25 year olds in the UK had a TikTok account, it also recorded that 30% have a profile on business-oriented networking website LinkedIn. With 93% of recruiters reported to use LinkedIn to research and recruit candidates, there is no denying the importance LinkedIn plays in demonstrating someone’s knowledge and credibility, as well as supporting career advancement, however try convincing your Friday afternoon Year 9 class of that. 

So, what can you do to support careers readiness and digital preparation for young people at the dawn of their career journey? How can you lay meaningful foundations that help dissolve barriers for future job applications? Whilst we cannot ‘Magic 8’ the answer to what will be the next application trend or new ‘norm’, we can find an easy medium between TikTok and LinkedIn where young people can evidence their experience in a way they find engaging and accessible. A place where young people can express themselves through whichever media they are most comfortable with, whilst maintaining the relevant sections of a traditional CV. It is here that you will find bulb. 

bulb is a digital portfolio and CV in one. It is a platform that helps prepare young people to make informed decisions about the future by reflecting on their story and journey so far. bulb is a place where best work both within the classroom and outside of it can be showcased. It is a means by which the learner’s voice can be heard. bulb would start in your classroom, grow with the student, and stay with the young person for life to help tell their full learning and career stories!

One of the best parts about bulb, however, is the available free options. Departmental budgets can be frustratingly limited and bulb wants to make it as easy and cost efficient as possible for educators to support their young people. bulb can assist schools with demonstrating how the Gatsby Benchmarks are being implemented and be evidence for the quality of their careers curriculum. 

In a world of exciting, unexplored, and rapidly changing application processes, use bulb to enhance your careers curriculum and make your students stand out. Help your young people to realise their potential. Empower and encourage them to reflect on ‘the course of one’s life’ (Curriculum Vitae is Latin for this afterall). Be a part of building their self assurance by providing your young people with a tool where they can show actual evidence of their strengths, achievements, and passions versus simply listing out bullet points on a resumé. Help your young people recognise that – despite their youth – they have developed transferable, attractive skills; ones that future employers are looking hard for. 

If you would like to see more and sign up for your free bulb account visit bulbapp.com, and follow us on Twitter: @bulbappglobal.

Whilst we cannot answer “what would da Vinci’s 2022 CV look like?” it is with certainty that I affirm it would not be merely words on paper. The paper CV is dead.


Ciara Duggan – International Customer Success Manager at bulbapp.com; KS3-5 RE, PSHE and Citizenship specialist.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: