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CV Junkie or are you a STAR?

Ask around and you’ll hear employers say that the majority of CVs are crap. The major charge is that candidates do not say what they can do NOW for the company. Instead they write about themselves and submit a dry and tedious employment history.

The employer needs to know what you are doing NOW and how this and your work history is connected with the job you are applying for. What you can do is very well expressed using STAR: Situation, Task, Action and Result.

That is:

  • how did you make a difference in a specific situation?
  • How will you make a difference for the employer you are now aiming to work for?

We’ll say it again: the CV should match the job and be concise. It should not have the title ‘CV’ or ‘Resume’ because then the Applicant Tracking Systems will read it as ‘Mrs CV’ or ‘Mr Resume’ and you definitely won’t get any attention.

Instead of a dumb objective, such as ‘I want to work as part of a team’ it is better to begin with a profile that markets the skills you have NOW and that match the job you are applying for. And one more thing, research the employer especially their website. Do not EVER turn up for an interview without having done your homework.

There are many FREE CV creators that will allow you to bespoke your CV to the position you are applying for but here are some thoughts.

A friend of mine in the recruiting business once told me that if ever he saw a paper clip anywhere near a CV it was already history.

You are lucky if a recruiter gives more twenty seconds of attention to a CV. It is just one more excuse for an employer to reject you. In the old days companies mass produced all sorts of products and spent enormous amounts on advertising. The model worked pretty well. Curricula vitae belong to that era. To stand out now you have to be exceptional. The smart way to get noticed is through the people you know. That way you don’t end up in an interview which is not far removed from knocking on someone’s door at random and trying to sell them double glazing.

A CV is supposed to advertise you, to market you and to sell you. You need to decide what your brand is and how to market it We all know that the best buzz is word of mouth. Do two-dimensional, black and white, dry-as-a-stick-insect CVs generate that? The whole process is set up to bore yourself and the recruiter rigid. This is what I call the SAD (Send and Delete) model: the candidates send out CVs hither and thither like ferrets on Methedrine and the recruiters develop repetitive strain injuries from hitting the delete key so often.

If you have to send CVs make sure they reach the decision maker. Only send CVs that are perfectly sculpted to fit snugly with what the employer wants and with the nuts and bolts of the job. This way you’re not in SAD mode. You don’t spend all day at the computer. Instead, you have time to go out, meet people who will give you good word-of-mouth. If you are going to sit in all day in front of the screen then make yourself a Video CV.


Author: Chris Slay

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