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I went to Harvard.
I am an IT wizard.
I am a 747 pilot.
I am a cardiac surgeon.
You get it? You’re hired
Try to sing that if it helps you to remember this – but this is the No. 1 rule to CV writing.
Answer the question in the mind of the reader: SO WHAT?
I know this may sound rude to some of you but you decide if you want to be hired or not. You need the job, not me. So what? That is what the reader asks when he reads your history. He will call you for an interview only and only if he understands how all that you have mentioned, can help him to achieve his aims.
Remember hiring managers are interested in themselves, in their own goals – both organizational as well as personal and they are looking around to see who can help them achieve their goals. And incidentally in case that makes you believe that all hiring managers are selfish sw…. remember that is exactly your focus – your benefit.
So 9 – things to remember when writing your CV?
1. Speak the truth in the CV because you’ll have to live by it. But calling an ass ‘a transportation system’ is allowed. Decide if you are a rabbit or a monkey. Don’t apply for a tree climbing job if you are the former. No amount of positive thinking will get you up a tree if you are not capable of climbing.
2. Put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager and try to understand his world. Speak to someone like him, if you can so that you will get an idea of what they are looking for.
3. Then see if you can position your CV to attract their interest.
4. Your CV is not a record of your life. It is bait for the hirer to swallow. It is an invitation for them to call you. It must speak to them. It’s not for you. It’s for them.
5. All hiring managers read only one page of the CV – the first. They have a deep seated reluctance to turn the page. So whatever you write from Page 2 onwards will remain in a pristine unread condition. So why write it?
6. The CV is your face. Make it as simple, uncomplicated, neat, correct and impactful as you can. Spelling and grammar mistakes are inexcusable and give a clear message about your thoroughness and professionalism. If you can’t even show it on your CV, what hope of showing it in practice if you are hired?
7. There is no such thing as one standard CV for all jobs. Apart from your name, everything else must change to speak to the reader. So feel free to highlight details of your experience which will make sense to the reader in their context.
8. Jargon, clichés and suchlike are a good way to ensure that your CV hits the bottom of the garbage can with great alacrity. Remember that the hiring manager has heard and read it all – and reading it again is boring while shredding it is fun.
9. Numbers speak louder than words – so use them. We are conditioned to believing numbers. ‘3 – ways to succeed’ sounds more impactful than, ‘Some ways to succeed.’ 9 – things to remember sounds better than – Some things to remember.
Okay, so that is enough advice about how to write a good CV. Now write it. Then read it aloud. Show it to someone else. And be prepared to delete and re-write it, maybe 10,000 times.
After all, if you don’t have a job yet, you may as well spend time polishing your CV.