VisualCV buttonOne of the most practical Web 2.0 tools I’ve seen, from the point of view of someone in business, or someone in the job market, is VisualCV.

If you’ve ever wondered whether a better designed, better presented cv/resume may have helped you score an interview you thought you should get, or the opportunity to pitch for a project you felt very qualified to take on, chances are you were right.

The question is, what constitutes a good resume?

One that helps you get the gig, no doubt. But how do you identify what that looks like or how to construct it?

I have to admit it’s a long time since I had to wade through a pile of resumes, but i know that even at this remove I do not relish the memory. So many people used to write fundamentally boring resumes, even though they might have had quite interesting life stories and careers and maybe even had a lot to offer. I don’t think it was their fault. It was presumably what they thought or had been told a resume should look like. I’m pretty sure I was guilty of that myself.

From a comment by Star in the Margin blogger Michael Chaffin, who was evidently reading a lot of resumes earlier this year, it seems not a lot has changed. He observes that:

1. the resume is no longer an effective way to get someone’s attention, and

2. most resumes sell the past and convey very little about what’s important to the candidate in the future.

In an update to his post Chaffin links to Seth Godin’s Why bother having a resume? the theme of which is: if you’re remarkable, amazing or just plain spectacular, you probably shouldn’t have a resume at all. As Seth says, that’s controversial.

Actually, in writing this post I recalled that I once interviewed a person who, in lieu of the required cv, provided a handwritten note, in a very confident, sweeping writing style, saying something like: You really need to interview me, because I am quite simply the best person for the job.  We did interview him. He was not as good as he thought he was. But I’ve always remembered that his unique approach got him past the first hurdle, i.e. how to make your application stand out from the rest.

But let’s say you are someone who is not quite ready for the “high wire without a net” performance which I see Seth Godin’s post as recommending, but you also want to do something more “of now” than the traditional multi-page cv that starts with where you were born, goes on to where you went to school, first job (I’m yawning, just thinking about all those resumés I used to have to read)…. How do you go about doing something different, something that will both stand out and present the best picture possible of your claim on the job or the project?

Well, you could go to a resume writing expert and I can think of at least one person I know who used to do a great job of that.

Or you could do what some people do, get an account on LinkedIn (a basic, personal account is free), set up your profile there and use that as your cv.  You can use a photo there and get recommendations included from friends and former colleagues. A big advantage of using LinkedIn in this way is that you can update the profile/resumé as often as you wish, at no charge. You can also have your own web address (URL) for the profile, with your own name in it, at no extra charge. Mine, for example, is

VisualCV incorporates, in my view, more Web 2.0 functionality for your benefit than does LinkedIn.

It’s very easy to set up a cv quickly, which has its own web address – for example, the image below is from my VisualCV site – – or print it out as a PDF, or send it to one of the many companies registered with VisualCV.

VisualCV Des Walsh

As you can see, right now my own VisualCV page is very basic. The functionality of the site allows you to do a much jazzier, more dynamic presentation, including embedded video and/or audio. I’m not looking fora job, so why would I want to do that? Simply because of its potential to help me get business.

For some interesting examples of what is possible with VisualCV, see Guy Kawasaki’s with videos, Kristina Cerney’s with lots of examples of her work displayed in a pleasing and easily accessible way,  and for an example of a high-flying CEO’s cv, see that of Kevin Kelly, top banana at legendary recruiting firm Heidrich and Struggles, someone surely well-versed in the art of the resume.

I’m still exploring VisualCV and will probably post some more about this tool on another day or days.  VisualCV is still technically in beta. Whether because of that or in spite of that, I’ve found them fast and highly communicative in responding to some enquiries I’ve sent.

From where I sit, VisualCV provides a resume option that overcomes the “boring, same old, same old” criticism of old fashioned, pre-Web era resumés and also avoids the “content-free zone” limitations of the approach adopted by my guy who submitted the handwritten note claiming, without substantiation, that he was our Perfect Candidate.

If you have used VisualCV and found it helpful, please share that with us in the comments. Or likewise if you have used it and not found it so helpful.

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