Author Topic: Pros can be cons  (Read 1096 times)

Badshah Mamun

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Pros can be cons
« on: June 18, 2012, 07:39:14 PM »
Pros can be cons
By Jim Bright

If you want a professional CV, choose the right person for the job, writes Jim Bright.

Jean from Greenbank writes: "In the past five months I have been unable to get to the interview stage and am becoming concerned. My CV was done professionally before I started applying for positions but I am not confident it is helping me in my endeavours.

"When I do receive some form of acknowledgement regarding a position, I have emailed back asking for the person's honest opinion of my CV, qualifications and experience as it is the only way I know of finding out if my CV is acceptable. But I am not sure if they are being honest or just trying to avoid saying anything negative."

I did not like Jean's "professionally" rewritten CV.

The first page is dominated by a large green box six centimetres wide running down the left margin. Across the top is some kind of arch/sweeping shape in the same olive shade running across the top. The two graphical features do not align (on my computer screen). It looks far from professional.

Within the olive green margin, printed in black, is a contents and contacts list for the four-page CV. A list of contents on a CV? For four pages?

I can read the poorly contrasting text on the screen but it would look horrid printed out and worse when photocopied. The rest of the first page is devoted to the words "Curriculum Vitae" in 48-point text and Jean's name (preceded by the cheesy word "introducing") in only 28-point text - the impression is that the CV format is the star and Jean gets second billing. You don't see on cinema hoardings "A film" in big letters and the title smaller.

The first page is a waste of space, difficult to read and pretentious. And it is downhill from there. The second page begins with another heading of "Curriculum Vitae" in case we've forgotten and again Jean's name gets smaller text and second billing. Her contact details are repeated and again appear in black text on a green background, making them harder to read.

The career objective looks like a paragraph but turns out to be a single 57-word sentence. It is not until the 55th word that the reader learns about Jean's objective.

It is not until page three of four that we get to the career history, which is termed "Career Profiles" - why the use of the plural? I counted 20 bullet points listing job accountabilities across the four jobs listed. There was a total of one achievement bullet. It gives the impression that Jean has achieved little, which I am sure is very unfair.

Jean's most recent job (listed on page two in yet another space-wasting list of job titles) is not included in the career history.

There are numerous other errors on the CV including listing prominently her proficiency with a computer package that was discontinued in 2004.

The CV is not emphasising Jean's achievements, it is not telling a consistent story, is not up to date and relies on graphical gimmicks, badly executed.

Jean's dilemma reflects a broader one in career development. Despite the Career Industry Council of Australia introducing minimum standards at postgraduate level for full professional entry into the industry, there are still far too many self-professed "professionals" who disregard widely available evidence of what works and what does not and prefer to draw exclusively upon their personal experience.

Nobody wishing to call themselves professional should be operating exclusively from their experience. They sell themselves short and, more importantly, can sell people like Jean short, too.

Md. Abdullah-Al-Mamun (Badshah)
Member, Skill Jobs
[email protected]