Maybe it’s a “Western thing” or how I was educated, but even the name is different: Is it a C.V. (curriculum vitae) or a resume’?
Regardless of the name, it’s the first and sometimes the only thing a prospective employer may ever see or know of you. It is your “storefront” and must be representative of what you want to portray and give you a chance to accomplish what you are trying to do …get a job!
Are you putting your best foot forward? There seems to be a huge gap between what is expected by employers and what is taught and presented. I am not going to attempt to write an article on “How to Write a C.V.,” but merely bring up how the subconscious mind works and how you might be able to get an upper hand. There have been numerous studies on how people buy, and while we are not selling an item, we are selling ourselves. Regardless, I am pulling my hair out after getting the last 1,500 of them so I have to set the record straight.
Fact: The average recruiter or employer spends 6 seconds looking at your C.V.–that’s right! You have spent days or even weeks on this calling card and it comes down to 6 seconds. Given this, why would you put everything in, including the kitchen sink? Why would you waste any moment of these 6 seconds! What is even more aggravating, is when a C.V. is more than one page, and the person has never worked! Okay, more than 4 pages and never worked! Get it to one page …please!
Fact: Setting yourself apart from the many applicants is important. It can be challenging to come up with unique ways to stand out. While the industry you are involved with might dictate what is acceptable or even inspiring (i.e. FedEx resumes on a cake to a bakery or advertising company), I’m confident that designed borders in multiple colors or a C.V. with eight pictures in it is not standard protocol. Yes, I have received numerous C.V.’s that fit this bill. The level of position (or if you are wondering what kind of quality am I recruiting) is not relevant, these are never acceptable.
Fact: Speaking of the quality of the candidate, I once received a C.V. from the Summa Cum Laude (number 1 or two in a graduating class) M.B.A graduate from a top-tier University in the States. These are not Ivy League schools, but almost as prestigious with the likes of Northwestern, Michigan State, Notre Dame, and Purdue. These graduates got the best of the best in education, but they’ve learned relevant skills …I have to wonder. You cannot submit a C.V. for consideration with spelling errors! The C.V. I received had multiple spelling mistakes and was not put in PDF format (meaning someone could easily edit it without permission). I called the Dean of the School of Business to ask him what they were teaching there, and that is the perfect segue into my last point.
Fact: In today’s age of computer hackers, online privacy,and identity theft; you must attempt to protect yourself. Some job applicants send out 1000s of C.V.s that could float around offices or multiple desks. This is your life on paper or on-line. How can you not do the simplest exercise of putting the resume in a protected non-editable format? I would have to say 98% of the ones I receive today are not protected. I get 20 a week and these people all have degrees. I can’t make this stuff up!
Your C.V. is your calling card and it must get you in the door. That’s all it is designed to do. Less is more, as a simple rule, and it must be clear and concise. The next time you hear about the high rate of unemployment; do not dismiss it as solely some politician’s fault or some banker’s manipulation. Yes, that could be a factor, but make sure the reason isn’t in the mirror.