Can LinkedIn replace the paper CV?

The Curriculum Vitae. That all-important sheet or more of paper that represents your first ever point of contact with a potential employer. Your CV is an extension of your professional self and comprehensively consolidates and highlights your professional talents and accomplishments, as well as your skills, education, previous roles and abilities. But in today’s internet-powered marketplace, isn’t an 8.5” x 11” sheet of paper just ‘Employment 1.0’?

Why submit a static, physical document when it doesn’t even include numerous glowing referrals of your past or present work?

LinkedIn is where social networking meets the CV, and the 30 million strong network is quickly becoming the ‘second stop’ on any potential employer’s checklist when shortlisting candidates. The thousand dollar question is: When will it become the first? Why are job seekers still submitting paper pages to a prospective employer when they could just send a link to the most comprehensive, dynamic and multi-faceted representation of our professional experience they have?

Check out LinkedIn's growth on Ignite Social Media's great list of 'The 2008 Social Network Analysis Report - Geographic - Demographic and Traffic Data Revealed'.

LinkedIn not only highlights present and past job roles, it accumulates real, glowing praise for your work at those roles. It allows you to join like-minded professionals in groups relevant to your professional interests, or allows you to showcase your knowledge (or adding to it) by questioning or answering questions posed by industry peers. It lets you reach employers who otherwise would be totally unapproachable, and through LinkedIn you can strike up professional relationships that might ultimately bear fruit in the form of a job, partnership or simply a valuable friendship.

What’s more, with LinkedIn’s new open application platform, you’re able to pull in different media and channels into your online CV that was previously impossible. Have an industry-related blog that highlights your grasp and knowledge of a particular subject? Pull it into your profile. Give great presentations? Display them on your profile. Tweet profusely about your industry? Pull those tweets in.

LinkedIn is quickly representing a one-stop shop for a true, priceless indication of someone’s knowledge, experience, talents, functions, activities, and sociability factor (increasingly a huge factor when employing) in an employment context.

The question is... when will LinkedIn become the primary tool of choice for job seekers and employers?

When will placement and recruitment agencies request an invite to your LinkedIn profile over your faxed or mailed paper CV? When will the big guys like Monster either attempt their own version, or simply take LinkedIn into the fold? When will the ‘Green Police’ catch on and push the use of LinkedIn over paper as a conscious effort to save the environment?

I think the change is happening, and I’m not naive enough to imagine a paper CV-less world, but I’m sure it will change the employment game if LinkedIn (and the obvious emulators, imitators and clones that will arise) becomes a viable, easy-to-access channel for employers to explore before they make their shortlist decision.

What do you think? Do you have a LinkedIn profile? Feel free to add me to your LinkedIn network. Do you think it will ever replace the paper CV, or will it always act as a supplement or second fiddle? Give your thoughts below!