Apply in prose, interview in poetry – or why CVs should stop being Will i am.

I am three weeks in to delivering a new CV writing programme and if I see another CV that begins

I am a hardworking person. I am punctual. I am  able to work on my own initiative and enjoy team working. I am honest, kind, caring, enthusiastic, diligent … … …

I will cry. As my Great Aunty Julie would have said, “If you’re  so fantastic, why ain’t you rich?”

CVs seem to have become strings of meaningless adjectives that cover as many bases as possible in their allotted two sides of A4. With the kind of phrases that make you want to ask is there anyone out there applying with a CVs that says “I am lazy and a bad time keeper; curmudgeonly and antipathetic to work.” If I was an employer I might even interview that person because at least they would stand out from the crowd.

What people need to do is root their CV in the actual prose of their life. What have you – yes you – done?  How can you relate your life to the specific information the employer has kindly given to you in the advert or JD or Person Spec.   A CV has the purpose of getting you in front of the employer. Leave the poetry for your Interview.

2 thoughts on “Apply in prose, interview in poetry – or why CVs should stop being Will i am.

  1. Clare Coombe says:

    I totally agree. I have had many clients who work themselves up over how to enhance their CV and I have booked 2nd, 3rd and even 4th appointments for concerned clients who want to change a minor detail thinking that this will improve their chances of gaining an interview when in fact they are over analyzing. The truth is employers are not looking for a paragraph of information that is recycled over and over by almost every applicant. If you have something amazing about your self or a unique selling point then add it in but if not don’t use up valuable space with forgettable poetry. I have received very positive feedback from varied employers about CV’s I have developed for my clients most of which do not have a personal profile at all but begin with Key Skills. Accurate factual skills that are relevant to the job in which they are applying.
    CV’s need to get back to basics and be smart, factual and accurate. Why would you want to tell an employer that you are punctual and reliable? This is surely a basic expectation. Its like selling a car and identifying its main selling point as having 4 wheels! Its what is expected not an added bonus!!
    However there are stills some advisers who are still insisting on profiles for clients which go on about how trustworthy they are. Until everyone sings from the same hymn sheet we may still have this divide about what is important and what is not. However lets face it employers are more and more turning to application forms as a method to recruit. Even the vast number of retailers require online application forms instead of dropping in a CV to the local store. How much life is there in a CV in the 21st Century?

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