We need more people solving problems – not professionals.

Everyone has a story to tell, everyone has strengths beneath the conceptions that you have of them. But if you’re curious enough, you may just find that the answers you’ve always been looking for are there, often right beside you. – William Lilley

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Everywhere you look at the beginning of 2015 you will see a crisis.

In case you missed it there is currently a crisis in Accident and Emergency Units which is part of the wider health crisis. There’s a housing crisis as well. And a crisis in social care , unemployment , education and policing. Not forgetting the welfare crisis which is wreaking havoc on millions.

There’s crisis everywhere.

The current trend in mainstream politics , and on social media , is to talk of Britain as broken.  And then we act all surprised and outraged when people turn to parties like UKIP who hark back to a golden age that never truly existed.

People are so sick of hearing about crisis they lose faith and begin searching for someone who appears to offer a more compelling vision. Who can blame them?

Except if you scratch the service on any of those things you’ll find the crisis label to be untrue, or misleading at the very least.

What we have is an excess of demand over supply and deeply dysfunctional systems.

Most of our public services were designed pre-decimal never mind pre-digital.

We really shouldn’t be surprised they aren’t fit for purpose.

The problem lies with the people who created those systems and who work within them. Us.

Over new year I had a break at one of the Red Sea resorts seeking a bit of winter sun along with scores of pasty faced Europeans.

One of the benefits of being locked into an all-inclusive euro-mashup is you have some very random conversations with people we are told are hugely different to us , but are of course not.

The best conversation I had was with an Italian guy and one of our Egyptian hosts.

We were talking about the various crises our countries are experiencing and the role of communities.

Sal was telling us of the boom in the ‘suspended coffee’ movement in Italy.  The concept is pretty simple: You walk into a coffee shop, and instead of buying just one cup of coffee you also buy one (or more) for someone in need. Your get yours and the second coffee is “suspended”. It can be claimed or given out by the barista to people they think deserving. I always believed that the movement was a modern viral phenomenon but Sal told us it was a Neapolitan tradition that originated in World War II. The principle is that in a time of hardship, Italians can lack many things, but not coffee!

Ahmad told us about the rise of the “Town Helper” in parts of Cairo and Alexandria. Because of the huge drain of young men to work in the Red Sea resorts many of the families left behind face a significant skills gap. These guys work incredibly long hours with hardly anytime off. When they do  get a few days off – every few weeks – they return to their families for precious time with loved ones. To make sure they spend the maximum time with their families they fund , largely through tips from tourists , a number of people to do tasks whilst they are away from home. Each Helper , is shared between a number of families , to plug the gaps that have been left in communities.

I talked of the growth of Food Banks in the UK which we largely view as a sign of failure but actually speak of tremendous generosity – of communities looking after their own. I don’t pretend to give lots, I just throw a few things in the collection on every visit to the supermarket – to the extent that I’ve actually stopped thinking about it. It’s just a little pay it forward gesture that millions of us are doing without prompting. I also told them of the Bromford Deal and how we are embarking on a huge cultural shift to unlock potential in people rather than seeing ourselves as professional rescuers.

I talked of how the Deal is – at its essence – a belief that people don’t exist in a state of need and can do amazing things if we empower them and step out of the way.

Due to excess brandy the conversation veered off in all sorts of directions: but the important thing is we all agreed that some of the best initiatives don’t come from Government. None of the above did.

For many years we’ve built infrastructure and services that people neither need or want. We make interventions without outcomes. We produce reports that have no readers. 

We must ask ourselves how we became so removed from the people we were set up to serve. 

Our communities are not in crisis.

There is a massive untapped reservoir of skill and talent that we chose to ignore because we thought we could do it better as professionals.

We couldn’t.

Let’s put it right.

The Social CV: How Social Media Could Get You Your Next Job

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I often joke with a friend of mine that if they ever lost their job they would be unemployable. Because they have a great CV but zero digital footprint. No LinkedIn , no Twitter , no Facebook. Nothing.

I ask them to imagine a future where you don’t have a CV or resume. A future where your talent and achievements are broken down into tweetable chunks. Your professional life , and a good bit of your personal too, is available online for all to see. You are scored according to your worth and the value of your followers. Your score can determine whether you get that job interview.

And they laugh at me. ‘Paul , you are such a geek.’ As if that is ever going to happen.

Except it has happened. In 2013. At least if you are applying for a job at Enterasys Networks.

As many of you will already know the web was set alight when Vala Afshar pronounced the death of the CV.   “The Web is your résumé” he said “Social networks are your mass references”.

Enterasys have just broken new ground with their latest job advertisement. The minimum requirements for which are:

  • A Klout score above 60
  • A Kred influence score of 725
  • 1,000 active Twitter followers

This has made a lot of people start frothing at the mouth at the absurdity of it all. It’s a natural reaction when someone proposes a completely new way of doing something.

But I’m more interested in the opportunities this presents than its flaws. I think Vala is right for trying to disrupt the way companies recruit people. Why shouldn’t we start using social influence and the Social CV as part of recruitment?

Most minimum job requirements are based on what people achieved in school. If I were to apply for a job tomorrow the first thing it will ask me after my name and address is what I did 20 years ago. A time when jobs required completely different skills.

But we are still hung up about educational attainment. Even when it has no practical relevance to what we are applying for.

Don’t believe me?

A former colleague of mine recently applied for a job and was told that because a GCSE didn’t meet the required grade they were an unsuitable candidate. They came with my full endorsement – someone I’d employ again in a heartbeat.  The qualification that scuppered their job chances was 15 years old –  everything they had done since was irrelevant to the employer. And this wasn’t some blue chip city firm – it was a housing association- a business supposedly founded on the principle of giving people a second chance.

15 years of achievement and all it comes down to is what’s written on a piece of paper.

How absurd.

What I like about the idea of a Social CV is it is a genuine meritocracy. Anyone , anywhere can become influential on social media. Regardless of educational performance you can reinvent yourself online. Whatever their faults – Kred and Klout have something that educational qualifications will never have – they are bang up to date.

  • Go on holiday and your Klout score declines
  • People stop finding you engaging? You lose Kred.

Surely something like RebelMouse , that creates a Social front page based on your digital presence , paints a more relevant picture of you than the conventional CV?

Social Media has changed recruitment forever. HR teams and employers must change their practices to adapt to it , not expect social media to adapt to them.

I would agree that the concept of the Social CV has got a lot of maturing to do. But it will become accepted as employers realise that social media skills are becoming a necessity.

But what do you think? Could the Social CV replace the traditional approach?