Have you ever thought that shopping and writing your CV have something in common?—
—I didn’t either, until two things happened to me this past week which made me think that these two activities – life necessities that they are – could be compared.
The first happened when I got in a CV for proofreading and was having an initial look at it.
What jumped out at me was the excess items that appeared in the skills section. The writer had put down that they a) were fluent in six languages, b) were skilled in a dozen different IT-related areas, and c) skilled in an equal number of marketing-related areas. All of this before even graduating from university.
The second happened the same day, when I was reading an article about how to curb shopping urges (you know, the ones that make you do crazy things like spend half of your paycheck before you even get it).
As in 3 ways, to be precise, ones you might call the ‘3 Ps’: postpone, prepare, ponder
Just as we might be tempted to buy what we might want but don’t need when we’re out/online shopping, we can also be tempted to write what we think the reader (f.ex. hiring manager) wants to read when applying for a job.
You know what to do with temptation, right? Resist it! Don’t (buy or) write anything until you:
Postpone: Have what you just know is a hot idea to write under your Skills section? Give yourself a cooling off period while you think it through. Do you really want to write down that you’re highly skilled in a dozen different areas? Take the time to delete that dozen down to 3 that you feel truly confident about doing.
Prepare: A lot of shopping is done on emotion, and a lot of CV exaggeration is, too. Take a good look inside yourself before even starting to write. What emotion is driving you now? Anxiety? Fear of looking incompetent? Something else? Recognize that you might have a tendency to overdo your ‘skills budgeting’ and adjust your writing accordingly.
Ponder: Just as you should keep track of your buying patterns to become more self-aware, so should you look at your CV writing patterns to see if you can make adjustments to it. Do you include a one-day course under Education? Do you use trendy clichés to describe yourself (‘disruptor’, ‘rock star’ and ‘ninja’ seem to be on the CV quite a bit these days). Again, think it through and keep in mind that the emotional high you might get from padding your CV with this linguistic extravagance won’t last very long. Because after you submit it for a job application, you’ll come down from your high, crashing and burning with worry that what you wrote on that document just isn’t the real you.
Is this easy? No. Worth it? Absolutely.
Wait a minute – am I talking about shopping or writing your CV? Well, both, I guess.
Don’t overshop and don’t overwrite – curb your urge and enjoy the results that a little self-control will bring you.