CV inflation just devalues industry

Listening to the Government raging against grade inflation leaves the impression every student's achievements are exaggerated by the lack of rigour of the exam system.

Ian Monk: 'CVs indicate confusion between having made a cup of tea and for a client and having devised and run their entire PR strategy'
Ian Monk: 'CVs indicate confusion between having made a cup of tea and for a client and having devised and run their entire PR strategy'

Whatever O-level veterans may think, that is unfair. But we do seem to live in an age bedevilled by an absurd level of CV inflation among our bright young PR things.

Could there be a psychological link between the achievement of endless A-grades at school and college and the enormously hyped achievements listed on the CVs of some who have barely had time to cut a nursery tooth at the professional coalface?

Reading through CVs sent to me, not to mention those posted on networking sites and flung out with abandon by headhunting agencies, I am often amazed by apparent skillsets of those whose age dictates that their careers can only be in their infancy.

Individuals have strategised, crisis-managed, overseen and executed media placement as they worked with highest profile individuals and brands. They have pitched, run accounts and showcased brands - and that's just the account executives.

Resumes seem to indicate confusion between having made a cup of tea for a client and having devised and run their entire PR strategy.

LinkedIn is one of the worst contributors. 'Manage your professional identity,' advertises the site. And boy, how some professional identities are managed on it. Not to say stretched beyond credibility into guffaw territory.

This isn't just inflation: it's hyper-inflation. Don't get me wrong. I am genuinely in awe of the quick and versatile minds of our brightest young things.

But this sort of distortion wastes time and cheapens the reputation of an industry that singularly lacks verifiable benchmarks of individual excellence.

An easy solution would be a stipulation that every CV seeking serious recognition should be verified by two named referees - one senior and one peer.

Embracing such a simple initiative would help us all help each other as well as enhancing the reputation of the industry for rigorous professionalism.

Ian Monk, founder of Ian Monk Associates and a former executiveat the Daily Mail and The Sun

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