Often the first thing people tell me about their job search is how frustrated they are that their CV isn’t working for them.
They’ve taken advice and sometimes spent money to come up with what they think is the perfect CV, which will stand them head and shoulders above the competition and land them the perfect job. Moreover, if this first masterpiece doesn’t work, they’ll fine tune or tweak their CV, producing version after version in the vain hope that the last change or amendment will be the final piece of the puzzle.
I’ve seen this firsthand as a former professional recruiter, too many times to mention.
Despite what you may read elsewhere or what you’ve come to believe, there is no such thing as a perfect CV and here are 3 reasons why:
- A perfect CV has nothing to do with you; instead the perception of perfection belongs to the reader. When applying for positions online, while you are likely to have clues as to what’s important in a job you’ve seen advertised, it’s much harder to know the reader and get inside their head.
- Most recruiters and employers are bombarded with responses to their adverts. They simply don’t have the time to read your CV from start to finish – they scan read instead and if nothing stands out instantly you might not make the shortlist, even thought you could have the best experience for the position.
- Your competition – the other people competing for the job you want will more than likely have similar skills and experience to you. Trying to stand out through your CV, while sometimes possible, is often extremely difficult. It begs the question, that if everyone else is relying on his or her version of a perfect CV, what could you be doing differently?
Despite the huge emphasis on the power of the CV, it’s a misconception to think that your CV alone will get you a job – I can promise you it won’t.
What matters more is what you choose to believe about the job market and your position in it, what and how you think, and also the proactive action you’re prepared to take.
I recently finished working with one of my private clients – a highly skilled and experienced individual in his chosen profession. Having been on the job market for many months, he had become despondent and frustrated – like many in his position, he couldn’t understand why his CV wasn’t working for him.
In actual fact, it wasn’t his CV that was holding him back. With inaccurate beliefs about the job market at his level, he was missing opportunities, which existed all around him – he just couldn’t see them.
Through a process of self-evaluation, he uncovered his blind spots and started to observe the job market in a completely different way.
Instead of copying his competition as if a blueprint for success, he took different and proactive action to uncover opportunities in line with a clearly defined goal and time horizon. Diligently working to a plan he opened more doors, got in front of more decision makers and ultimately secured the job he was seeking.
Don’t get me wrong, having a good CV is essential, but shouldn’t be your sole focus when entering the job market – there are far more important things for you to be doing, to stand out and get hired.