How Not To Write a CV

Working in a company that specialises in paper-free solutions has gotten me into quite a lot of situations. One notably awkward one, which I experience more times than I care to admit is explaining to people that because my job description includes the word “paper-less” doesn’t mean I know all about paper.

It is odd how many people think that because I work in a company with the term “paper-free” in their slogan it automatically means I am a master of all things paper. Yet I cannot count how many times I’ve heard “I need help writing my CV, and since you work in that ‘paper-free’ company I thought you’d be the best person for the-” Hold it right there!
Is it a completely ridiculous notion to believe that because someone works with paper doesn’t mean that they can write? I do not manufacture CV’s or Résumés. Fortunately, I do know some things to avoid when writing your Curriculum Vitae.
So here is some simple advice from a non-CV-writer to you.

Put down skills you have, not skills you want to have:

I have seen much too many instances where people write down abilities that they wish to learn rather than the ones that they have learnt. You do not write that you speak French at an intermediately level then start taking a French course. You take the course first then you put it on your CV, not theo other way around.

Never underestimate the power of a cover letter:

People spend a fraction of the time on their cover letter than they do on their CV. For many, yes they know it is important, but what you many not know is that for some companies, the cover letter is just as important as the CV. Show that you know about the company that you are applying to, your interest and what you could offer them, it really is an ideal way to demonstrate a little bit of your character.

Be organized, structured yet flexible:

There is no easy way to explain this, as I am aware of the irony in the contradiction in the statement. Know that you are going to be employed (if you are employed) for a particular skill, but once in a while you will have to do something that is not covered in your job description. Predict what this could be and get good at it, so that if the time comes, and that time may never come, your employer could see what a valuable asset you are to the company. 
This does not mean that you should go be a jack-of-all-trades, as those are not very well received in any industry, but rather, a jack-of-two-trades. Show that in your CV, yes you’re good at this one thing, but if need be, you can do other things as well, without getting confused.

So there you have it. Good Luck!

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