2020: do I still need a CV?

Instead of launching into a lengthy preamble before actually getting to what you really want to hear, let’s just answer the question. Yes, a CV is still relevant for your professional career and landing a job even now, in 2020. In our digital, online age, in the age of COVID-19, lockdowns, work-from homes and online profiles; a CV can still be one of your most valuable tools to land that coveted job that you have always wanted. 

A complete Curriculum Vitae will cover everything that hiring a manager for a sought after job will be looking for. You need to keep in mind that they have a set list of requirements that they are looking to fill, and if this cannot be easily picked up on your CV, your application will get popped into the rejection pile. Keep in mind, however, that there is a difference between a CV and a resume, so it is important to keep that in mind when submitting applications for new positions. So, what are the major trends for CV’s in 2020? Are there any alternatives that you can use and what should you CV look like in the new decade? We found out. 

What is the Difference Between a CV and a Resume?

Let’s kick off with this really important clarification. A resume is a two page sales pitch that you can send to a recruiter highlighting your skills, experience and important work history points. It is the most common form of application used to apply for a job and only highlights the vital points that a recruiter should see. A CV, on the other hand, is a longer, more detailed look into your education, work, and experiences. Meaning “course of life” in Latin, a Curricula Vitae is just that. It is an expansive look into the entirety of your career and is important to construct your scholarly identity. 

So, in saying this, and knowing that many companies prefer resumes over CVs, we ask again, is a CV still relevant in this day and age? The answer is still a resounding yes. There are numerous companies who will request a CV over a resume in order to see more than just your experience and skills. It will help identify contributions that you have made, awards and recognition that you have achieved and noteworthy benchmarks in your career. CV’s are more frequently used in academic and scholarly positions, but are also requested for senior management positions, seats on a board or high-level governance roles.    

What Are the CV Trends for 2020?

Let’s kick off with what you need to know about what is going on in the hiring space in 2020. What are hiring managers and recruiters looking for and what are the basic statistics that you need to be aware of when sending your CV in to a possible employer. 

The average job receives around 250 CVs, out of those, only four to six people will get called for the interview, and only one will get the job. The recruiter will only take an average of six seconds to scan a CV the first time, before deciding whether or not it is worth looking at. So, you need to make sure that you draw attention to the most. Because a CV is a lengthened version of a resume, it is important to add a Cover Letter to summarize the CV, add in some personal touches and streamline the CV to be specific for the role you are applying for. A Cover Letter is vital also vital to address the CV directly to the hiring manager. 84% of CVs are rejected if they are not addressed to the hiring manager, 54% are rejected for not being tailored to the specific job and 45% are rejected due to not having a Cover Letter. 

What Does the 2020 CV Look Like?

Right, let’s do a little deep-dive into the important information that needs to be included on the CV. The first noticeable difference from a Resume, is that a CV should not contain a personal statement. The CV as well as Cover Letter should cover this in its entirety, so you can leave that out. You will start a CV off with your formal education and list, in reverse chronological order, or scholarly achievements. 

The rest of the CV will therefore include the following:

  • Basic details and contact information;
  • Academic history;
  • Professional experience;
  • Qualifications and skills;
  • Awards and honors;
  • Publications;
  • Professional associations;
  • Grants and fellowships;
  • Licenses and certificates;
  • Volunteer work.

Essentially, anything that is cut out of a resume is listed on a CV. Honors, awards, recognitions, conferences attended, research opportunities etc will appear on a CV. 

What are the CV Alternatives?

Do a quick search of alternative CV ideas and you will get bombarded with a plethora of quirky CV suggestions and alternatives. In most cases, you should simply ignore every bit of advice given on these sites. Drop the glitter, drop the coloured paper, and ditch the arts and crafts. No-one will take you seriously, and if it’s a professional role you are wanting to land in an office, a glitter bomb will get you rejected quicker than the confetti hitting the floor. 

If you really need an alternative to catch the recruiters eye, you can look into the following: 


Wanted is an online platform that allows you to sign up, upload your skills, experience and salary requirements and wait for a potential employer to find you. A hiring manager will only contact you if your profile suits their requirements and whether you are in their budget range. Once they request an introduction, you will no longer be anonymous and they can kick off the interview process with you. 


This online platform can be sent as a link to any hiring manager. It allows you to list everything you would add in a CV on the online platform, including all professional experience, education, publications, interests, hobbies, volunteer work and career-related articles. Just make sure it is kept up to date and only send it if the recruiter requests it.

Online Portfolio Creators

The second online option is to create a page dedicated solely to you. You can either create your very own website which lists everything a CV would, or you can sign up to a site that creates your portfolio for you. These are great for writers, artists, designers or marketing executives to showcase their past creations.