We know these are tough and challenging times, but I can't help feeling that some of you are not doing yourself justice. So it is a bit of a rant this month, I am afraid.
Now I know that most of you would not argue if I said this was quite a competitive job market. I know equally that many of you would love to move on into that ideal opportunity.
However, I am seeing an increasing number of CV's and applications landing on my desk or into my e-mail box that are - how shall I put this? - embarrassing. I am seeing too many documents littered with spelling mistakes, badly laid out and above all clearly never looked at objectively since you started your first job in 1973 and have merely added each new job on ever since.
I have covered how to write an effective CV on quite a number of occasions, but this goes way beyond laying out a document in the optimum way. Many CV's I get have had very little work done on them at all and should never have left your PC.
Your CV could be the most important document you will ever prepare in your life - if it gets you through the door to your dream job, it will probably have more effect upon you personally and upon your family than anything else you have ever done (other than getting married and having kids of course).
And many who complain about being unlucky in the job market don’t do much to improve their chances. When you were growing up did any of your friends complain how unlucky they were in love? But when you looked at them, you knew it wasn’t luck. I look at CVs like that.
Let me talk specifics. A few basic spellings first of all:
I only mention these because spelling errors are unforgiveable. Spell Check is pretty good nowadays and there is no excuse for failing to press that all-important button before you publish a document.
- Curriculum Vitae is the correct spelling (it is Latin for "the course or the path of your life" if you wanted to know.)
- Dealer Principal - not Principle, which is all about morals. Some would say the two don't go together.
- Guy Liddall, not Liddle or Liddell and certainly not LiDL.
The spelling of my name does not matter, but it tells me that you cannot be bothered to check. If you are addressing an application, you have to take the time to make sure you get the recipient’s name correct as well as the address.
I’ve started my rant so I’ll finish. There is one word that I just hate. I reckon it only ever gets used in this context, when submitting a CV. But I have never “perused” anything, I am not certain that anybody has done much “perusing” since the 1790s. In everyday speech you would never use it, so why does every third letter offer me a "CV for my perusal”? I am tempted to write back and "assure you of my best attention at all times" which is just as lazy and unoriginal.
This is a tough career market. You need to invest some time in your own personal marketing and the way you present yourself.