Thursday, 23 January 2014

On what's wrong with your CV

Writing a CV is hard. Really hard. Trying to show a total stranger that you're qualified, smart, personable, and capable enough to get them to actually want to speak to you. It's a hard, nerve racking experience. So why then would you send off something that reads like it was put together by a schizophrenic toddler with social issues? Because you are. Constantly. I know this because you've been sending them to me. Here's some of the highlights....

But first a disclaimer, because I'm not an idiot. I've tweaked these where required to get rid of all names, companies, and any other personal information to protect the astonishingly stupid. And me. Mostly me.


1) Don't write your CV in the third person.

Seriously people, it's weird. REALLY weird. The first impression I'm going to get of you is that either a) You got someone else to write it for you, which I've caught people out for on several occasions, or b) You're about as mentally stable as Jack Nicholson's character from The Shining. Unless that's how you communicate in the real world there are no excuses. If that is how you communicate in the real world then I'm not the person you need to be applying to.

I'm seeing this constantly, bloody stop it!

2) There is such a thing as too much information.

I recently got a CV that told me the author liked to keep up with current events. Which in itself isn't exactly news worthy, but fair enough, I know why it's there. Unfortunately the author clearly realised that people get suspicious about what's on someone's CV. After all, they might be lying. The bastards. So in an effort to combat this they decided the best solution was to list some examples of "current events" because that's the part of their CV I was most likely to be suspicious about.

The same person then went on to tell me they'd just started doing Yoga. Which was nice. What I didn't need to know was that they were doing so to "make me more flexible." NOT OKAY!

3) You are not in school, I expect you to write your own CV

There was a time, when I was about 14, that copying off the internet was amazing. Homework done in seconds and the teachers too far behind the times to realise what I'd done.* It was a glorious time to be alive. Sadly, by the time I was 15 that time had passed. So, you can imagine my excitement when I received the following CV for an IT job.

"[Previous company: Fashion label] IT dept.

[Company] is a British fashion retailer headquartered in [Removed]LondonUK.[1][2][3] [Company] now sells menswearwomenswearfootwear, and accessories in 35 department stores and 65 stand-alone stores across the UK, EuropeCanada and the United States.[4][5][6] Currently, 85% of the company is owned by [Removed].[7][8][9]"

That's right kids! Not only did this guy simply copy and paste the Wikipedia article for one of his former employers, he also left in every single hyperlink to other Wikipedia articles too! Presumably he thought that I might become so interested in London or Women's wear from reading his CV that I'd immediately want to get myself onto Wikipedia to learn more!

Oh, and just for some bonus points, he also didn't even bother to change the font to match the rest of the CV either. Just incase I was under any doubt that he was lazy and lacking in even the most basic IT skills to realise what he'd done.

4) Get to the point!

I like the point. It's a great and wonderful place driven by efficiency and with very little time wasting. Glorious. Imagine if everything were like the point. We'd probably be reading this on Mars by now. The point in your CV needs to be gotten to, and fast. Ideally over no more than 2-3 pages. So, to the guy who sent me a 19 page CV, and to the HR department who couldn't comprehend why said no without even turning to page 2, let this be a lesson. If it takes you 19 pages to make yourself look good I don't even want to talk to you, let alone employ you.

5) "Txt spk" is glorified illiteracy.

Apparently this makes me uncool and ignorant of the way young people are creating an exciting new langu....oh you know what, I just don't care. It doesn't matter how many bleeding hearts come on TV to say that we shouldn't look down on such things. I don't care. I pay you, I employ you, your job exists on my terms, not yours. If your first day's training includes handing out a dictionary then I can promise you there wont be a second day of training. Don't like it? Fine, don't get a job then. YOLO.

6) Don't attach a photo

See point 1. It's weird. It also makes me feel excessively judgemental as human nature dictates I've already made assumptions. Also, more often than not you've sent me a passport photo. Which makes you look like a murderer, and I try to keep the number of murderers I'm associated with to as few as possible.

So let's be clear, with your CV you are asking me to be your manager. You reflect on me, if you're shit, and I hired you, I look like shit. As your manager, I am not your baby sitter, your parents, your carer, or your psychiatrist. I don't care if you 'need to work on' somethings. I expect you to have worked on it and be able to function as a useful member of a team. I DO expect to train you, to show you things, teach you new processes, and basically enable you to do your job properly. I do expect to treat you like a decent human being and understand that sometimes shit happens to people, and I need to be flexible when it does. But I do not expect to have to make you a viable member of society before you become a useful member of my team.

The nice bit

Just for balance, there are a lot of things I simply don't care about for you either. Your hair length, your piercings, your tattoos, your dress sense, and all of the other good stuff that makes you a human being. Couldn't care less about them. You're either capable of doing the job or you're not. If you are, you'll get the job. But remember, that's me. Other people are stuck in the dark ages and expect you to jump through hoops and look a certain way. So think about that before you rock up without even bothering to shower that morning. Because yes, that's happened too.

*Let's all just take a moment to remember how awesome Encarta Encyclopedia was.........Done? Cool, carry on as you were.

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