I’m onto the third paper of my Graduate Diploma qualification and we’re reading ‘What Color is Your Parachute’ by Richard (Dick) Bolles. A new version of Parachute has come out every year since 1975 which I find impressive in itself! I’ve known about the book for years but had never actually read it so better late than never.

For part of my first assignment we have to write a CV and cover letter for a fictional job. Now, working in a careers office means you do see your fair share of CV’s and even though I’m not ‘qualified’ to give advice on them I still do when students can’t wait to see the career consultant. You start to form opinions on what you consider to be a ‘good’ CV and a ‘bad’ CV based on what you’ve been told yourself and what you’ve heard your colleagues say. The thing is, everyone else will almost certainly have a different opinion to your own. How frustrating is that for job seekers? Very!

In Dick’s 2013 version of Parachute he sums this up by commenting “Some employers will like your resume, some won’t. Trouble is, you don’t know which employer likes what. That’s why many job hunters, if they use resumes, pray as they mail their resume: Please, dear God, let them be employers who like resumes in general, and may the form of my resume appeal to those employers I care about, in particular”

I had to laugh because I do think it can be that random. My lecturer even mentioned that he got a job once because his employer liked where he lived….Crazy. How do job hunters deal with this apparent randomness when trying to compose a job winning CV?  The fact is, a lot of it is down to luck and timing. You just have to decide on what form you would like to use and go with it. Do get feedback though! And from people who tend to look at CV’s on a daily basis, like a career consultant. HR officer, recruiter, manager etc. The seven people you ask to check it may have seven different opinions but listen to their advice and take on board what you think is the most relevant.  Then make it your own. Your CV, your words, your future.

My two cents worth is to read the job description and link what you have to offer to what the employer needs. That’s why there is a job description after all. Don’t simply mimic back their words, give examples of how your skills can work for them. Do what Dick says “Read over every single sentence in your resume and evaluate it by this one standard: “Will this item help to get me invited in? Or will this item seem puzzling, or off-putting, or a red flag?”

I know it’s not easy and I know how crowded the internet is with CV templates but put yourself in the mind of the employer and become judgemental of your work, don’t be precious and don’t rely on ‘oh it got me a job three years ago, it will do’ it may NOT do. Times change, employers change and so should your CV.

For those of you lucky Victoria University of Wellington students and graduates we have some great people to check your CV so check out our drop in times and come get some feedback: http://www.victoria.ac.nz/st_services/careers/About_us/hours.aspx

Oh, and read Dick’s book!  I love what I’ve read so far. If you can’t afford to buy it go to his website: http://www.jobhuntersbible.com/

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Advice, CVs, Job application

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