My Best Blogs – Oct. 2015

Here’s a list of October’s top-ten blogs, rated by the number of hits:

  1. Government planning £7bn assault on ‘gold plated’ final salary pension schemes – Telegraph
  2. Opinion – USA – Chartbook of Economic Inequality – Max Roser
  3. Opinion – Violence instead of democracy: Putin slams ‘policies of exceptionalism and impunity’ in UN speech — RT News – John Gelmini
  4. David Cameron’s four key demands to remain in the EU revealed – Telegraph
  5. Bring on the hipsters – Gentrification is good for the poor | The Economist
  6. Iran Wades Further Into the Syrian Swamp – Middle East News – Israel News – Haaretz Israeli News Source
  7. The Military Escalation in Iraq and Syria – Editorial – The New York Times
  8. The Hidden Debt Burden of Emerging Markets by Carmen Reinhart – Project Syndicate
  9. Virtual reality maze ‘predicts Alzheimer’s disease’ – BBC News
  10. Putin dares, Obama dithers | The Economist

Opinion – Yes, Your Résumé Needs a Summary – HBR – John Gelmini

Dr Alf makes relevant and telling points, and the Harvard Business Review is well-meaning but we are faced with a number of difficult realities which resumes, CVs and summaries do not address:

1) CVs, resumes and summaries have to be read and then understood and then acted upon. Recruiters and HR people spend less than 6 seconds reading anything, and from long experience most of them cannot read very fast (I speed-read) and I can tell where they are when they telephone or e-mail me.

2) Most documentation is read by computer in the form of an optical character recognition systems (OCR), looking for certain keywords, which may or may not appear in the original advertisement, even if the role and the advertisement are not bogus, or a rehash of the same advertisement placed on a different website for the purposes of “harvesting ” names for files.

3) LinkedIn profiles are supposed to match the chronology of a CV/resume but the way you update a LinkedIn profile or are forced to by their system, does not make it very easy to present new information about activities which you are engaging on in parallel.

4) You may have multiple CVs and resumes, which you then tailor for different positions because the OCR system will only recognize a particular title.

The LinkedIn profile cannot accommodate these differences, since it is as Dr Alf says, generic. Recruiters say that they “view with suspicion” candidates whose dates on CVs/resumes and their Linked In profiles don’t match and given their usually gnat-like attention spans and inability to read anything very much for more than 6 seconds any “evidence” of the kind that Dr Alf alludes to would not be read either, and if it was in PDF or Zipped form it is likely that the recruitment firm’s computer would reject it as spam before it could be read.

5) Candidates with more than one LinkedIn profile are also viewed with suspicion, so you can only get one CV or resume to match up with one LinkedIn profile, thus making a nonsense of the advice to “tailor ” each CV/resume and each covering letter to each position and create a precise date match to the LinkedIn profile.

6) Recruiters and HR people and a good many UK-based employers are ageist(They justify this by saying that they are only following client requirements) and will look for signs that a candidate has been educated in another age via syntax, words deployed, grammar, examples that they cannot relate to, paragraphing and word density, phrasing and reference to GCEs, which of course were abolished in 1988 making that candidate very old indeed.

Names which go in cycles and fashions are also a clue which recruiters use to winnow out older candidates in the same way as Camelot PLC used Professor Thorpe, an accomplished mathematician, to determine which names would never come up in particular areas of the country (many people pick numbers based on their names and birth-dates) and then to work out what numbers they would be most likely to select as a means of optimizing their profits.

To summarize, one should provide evidence as Dr Alf suggests, and one should provide summaries as HBR suggests but to imagine that this will produce an objective process or more meritocratic hiring is to live in an Alice in Wonderland dream world populated by pink unicorns and Mad Hatters.

To be candid, billions of hours will be lost on CV preparation around the World. The smart candidate needs a streetwise mentor, somebody perhaps like Dr Alf or myself.

John Gelmini