The words Curriculum Vitae (CV) take its origin from Latin and literally mean “the course of one’s life.”A CV or résumé is a marketing communication tool. Imagine the CV as being a brochure that will list the benefits of a particular service. The service being your time, talent and skills! When writing a CV, look at it from your employers’ point of view. Would you stand out against the competition (the other candidates)? In what way, can you meet your employers’ needs? What value addition can you bring to the organization? You’ve to ask these questions when writing your CV or curriculum vitae.
I read somewhere that CV is just like “toothpaste commercial” that means that an average employment manager devotes about the same amount of time to scanning a CV that most television viewers spend watching a commercial designed to sell toothpaste about 30 seconds. But rather than advertising the features and benefits of toothpaste, a CV is designed to advertise the accomplishments and track record of its author- that’s, you.
Think for a moment about the concept of marketing. Marketing means taking a careful look at the needs of a certain segment of consumers and finding a way to satisfy those needs. A CV is, fundamentally, a marketing tool. The consumer is the employment manager or the person in the company who makes the hiring decisions. The needs of that consumer are the requirements of the position he or she’s trying to fill. You’re the product, and your qualifications for that job are the way in which you’ll meet that employer’s needs. CV is your first form of advertising. Another way to understand what a CV should be is to look at what it shouldn’t be. Obviously, if it’s a marketing tool, it’s not a chronicling of everything you’ve ever done or experienced with no regard for how that list meets an employer’s needs.
A CV, then, isn’t your entire life story, because your entire life couldn’t possibly be relevant to the requirements of a single job. If you want anyone to read it, it’s obviously not a cluttered, wordy, unreadable mess. And most important, it’s never a work of fiction, full of exaggerations, inaccuracies, or just pure fabrications.
The fact of the matter is: An average candidate with a stronger CV gets better results than a superior candidate with a mediocre CV.
CV scripting is a serious business. It shouldn’t be taken casually or unceremoniously. Instead, one must have the passion and obsession to write and maintain a stunning and striking CV. You must derive the pleasure when you’re scripting it. Pleasure because it’s all about you; it’s more like venturing out your own self and exploring every inch of your personality, a rediscovery indeed. This piece of paper is a description of who you are, where you’ve been, where you have contributed, where you have acquired you education, what your belief systems are, what stands possible and what appears impossible for you, what’s difficult and what’s challenging for you, what holds you back, what puts you off and what inspires you, what your motivators and your inhibitors are, what your skills-set is, what your mind-set is, what your strengths are and what your hiccups are, your ambitions and aspirations, your dreams and your career goals. Since it all relates to you, it’s only YOU who can and should write your brochure. The designing and embellishment part of the CV can be left to others but as far as the content is concerned, as far as the real stuff is concerned, it’s your basic and fundamental job.
My observation is that graduates take low interest in writing their own CVs. For them, it’s often not more than a monotonous, tedious and boring task. Writing a compelling, convincing and captivating CV shouldn’t be taken as something like filling an income tax return pro forma. This activity rather must be loved, enjoyed, cherished and treasured.
Selling yourself depends on getting noticed, standing apart and being different from everybody else. If at the outset you’re represented only by your CV and your CV looks like everybody else’s CV, then you look like everybody else.
(Ashraf Chaudhry can be reached at email@example.com)