04 Dec 2023
by Alvius

Your present from Alvius this year is…an idea.

Here’s something to mull (pun intended) over the Christmas holiday: 

Careers Grids

There has been talk for more years than I have been working about the death of the CV. I won’t go into the stubborn format’s refusal to go quietly into the night. 

Instead, I’d like to propose something new. Perhaps you will find it compelling. Perhaps you will not. But either way, I hope you will find it at least interesting. 

For the past decade, the antidote to the CV was - in various formats - structured data. The digital profile for instance. Or a series of tags or datapoints detailing skills and experience. Ultimately the idea was that it should be machine-digestible at scale. These new formats would allow meaningful comparison of individuals and - the holy grail - good quality job-to-candidate matching. 

Then more recently we have seen the determined emergence of ‘Skills Based Hiring’, so beloved of our APSCo OutSource leader Mel Forbes (and, I know, many APSCo members). 

But the emergence of AI has changed the landscape entirely. No longer do we have to worry about what a computer might or might not be able to ingest and ‘understand’. We can start to throw them information in structures and formats that suit us, without worrying about how the computer will be able to respond. This new capacity to interpret opens up a huge range of possibilities.  

So, we can now move away from structured data and start to represent, as individuals, what we’ve done and what we have to offer in a completely different way. And in ways that suit us - and make sense to us. Think pictures, images, and infographics - the formats we use when we want to communicate something clearly to ourselves and others. 

My thesis is that now is the time to go visual. 

Computers can do the matching in the background using underlying data. We humans need something we can really understand and get our teeth into. What better than a picture (of sorts)?

Enter the ‘Careers Grid’. 

Here’s mine:

Alvis Career Grid - image 1.png


Now on this, I’ve taken a very literal approach; it’s an ‘Experience Grid’ if you like. 

But just as meaningful would be a Skills Grid; mapping the skills you have honed over time. It would look something like this:

Alvis Career Grid - image 2.png


I’m not sure I have the format quite right yet, but you get the idea. As you can see from the section at the bottom, I’ve picked five skills and plotted the points at which I have been using or developing them; some were relevant only at limited points in my career; others have been more persistent. The list could be far longer, of course. 

The scope for this is endless (and we might even add another dimension to make it 3D); sectors; seniority, team sizes, and geographies; all plotted simply on a grid. And formats can be mixed; perhaps Experience on the grid with skills plotted below. 

Put all of these together (one page would do it) and you have a complete picture; easy (and enjoyable) to digest - and still readable by a computer. 

So here’s the idea to muse: Forget pushing for the death of the CV. That will happen in its own time.  Instead, why not start talking up Careers Grids?