CV’s or Curriculum Vitae’s are something that we’ve all heard of. They are a little life story about you, what you have done, what you have achieved and usually lists a number of places you’ve worked. You send them to potential employers and they (hopefully) give you an interview. Today, I explain, why you need to change your perception on how a CV should read.
The classic CV set up is usually:
- Personal Statement
- Key skills
- Places of work
These of course can change, but above is the ordinary set up for a CV.
It is true to say that CV’s should ordinarily be 2 pages long, however, it really does depend! If you are going for a really important job or one that requires some key skills or experience, then of course, it could be longer.
The purpose of this blog, isn’t to tell you how to write a CV, the purpose of this blog is to tell you how you should THINK about a CV.
The Classic Opener
Typically, people will write in the opening statement something like this…
”A highly motivated individual who is really good at working as part of a team and working on my own. I am prompt and enjoy hitting deadlines and targets…”
Sound familiar? Which part of this statement is actually impressive? Do any of these sentences go above and beyond what any reasonable employer would expect?
”A highly motivated individual…” – Hope so! I don’t want someone who isn’t motivated to do well in their life.
”…who is really good at working as part of a team and working on my own…” – Well… Yeh! Hope so… what’s the alternative? Not very good at working on your own? Not good at working as a team? This sentence, I have seen thousands of times on a CV and is about as useful as saying, ”when I’m not tired anymore, I wake up..” – I’d expect that!
In every job, when someone is trying to employ someone, you are the one doing the work, so you better be good at working on your own. The ‘team’ is anyone you work with or for the greater good of the company/brand. So saying you’re good at working with a team or on your own – is kind of a given.
”…I am a prompt individual and enjoy hitting deadlines and targets..” – Yep – same as before. I hope you turn up for work on time, that would be really useful, for everyone. You are motivated enough to work for me, work with my team and hit deadlines that are given…great! Otherwise – you won’t be helping me, the business won’t be making money and you’ll be made redundant pretty quick!
The New Personal Statement
Indeed reckon the average CV is looked at between 5-8 secs. Imagine that most CV’s have this statement above (and they do…). Would you hire you?
The CV is an advert – not an autobiography of your life. You don’t have to write down, in real time every job you’ve had. You don’t have to list every key skill. You don’t need to worry about the GCSE’s that you got 25 years ago.
Look at your CV as an advert. How interesting can you be in just a few sentences?
Here’s a scenario – ”Mini Cooper for sale – 250,000 miles on the clock – £10,000” – Would you buy it?
What if I said ”Original Mini Cooper, used for the The Beatles first ever UK Tour, 250k on the clock – £10,000” – Does this sound a little better? Same Car. Same Price. But you’ve given the audience the bit that grabs attention. It would probably make you want to take a look at the car…
So, when you write your first ever line on your CV, try your best to captivate your audience.
This is my personal favourite bit. I want to know who you are, what you’re into and what you’ve done, personally.
DO NOT PUT YOU LIKE GOING OUT WITH FRIENDS AND SOCIALISING!
Whether you do or you don’t mean it, what a potential employer reads is ”I like getting drunk”. If someone says that they have no interests and no hobbies, then I tend to stop looking. I want someone to have an interest in more things than just my company. Sometimes, your CV might not be up to par and then suddenly, you mention you enjoy fishing, I might enjoy fishing (I don’t by the way!) and suddenly I’m now interested in you because we have a common interest.
Try not to mention your age, where you live or adding a photo, as tempting as it is. Unfortunately people will discriminate – they shouldn’t – but they do. So to avoid this, just don’t put it.
The CV’s job is to get you an interview so make it interesting! Once you get that all important interview, that’s where you character and personality can shine.