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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Inward investment into Wolverhampton is just what is needed. Now's the time for applicants to sharpen the CV.

CVs have become clichéd and arid productions telling us little about the applicant. Quite simply, they just don't do you any favours. An opportunity to get that job is wasted.

A client came to me yesterday seeking a makeover for her CV. These are hard times, recession, rejection and redundancy making the application process more stressful than usual.

If ever there was a time for one to raise your game it is now. The reality is that the CV has become sterile and predictable. A format full of business management-speak. Something to glaze the eye. We have created surreal CVs where there is a disconnection between overstated terminology and the reality of the person described.

Where does it go wrong? The introductory “profile” sets the tone. The applicant is described in the third person. This is passive writing at its worst. The CV describes the applicant in a distanced manner. It conjures up a style that makes estate agent prose and a MOT report interesting.

Conscientious, enthusiastic, lively, energetic, ambitious, team-player, self-starter, motivation and time-management are just a few of the well-worn terms lifted from a computerised CV word bank. Nothing to give a flavour of the person described: nothing to give an idea of personality and character then.

The CV before me has been produced by a government-funded agency and it is CV writing by tick box. The anodyne tone continues as we move on to sections describing key skills, capabilities and achievements.

What we need is a format, layout and content which emphasises the person. How about, “What I am like, what I am looking for and what I can offer”? It can still be two pages with key facts and experiences woven in to provide a framework for interview.

The skill comes in planting sufficient seeds in the CV so that the reader sees an interesting person. Stereotyped CVs tend to kill this. CVs seem to have forgotten that they are about real people.

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