If you’re looking for a job, chances are your CV is one of your most-read documents. Becky’s realised she’s neglected hers for too long…
Recently I had (and blogged about) an appointment with a local careers service, set to help me on my merry way to work when I’m ready, and a mandatory part of my benefits. For what it’s worth I think these services are BRILLIANT, especially for employment-illiterate people such as myself. A class on job interviews? Yes please! Unemployment may show no signs of slowing, particularly for us spring chickens, but someone SOMEWHERE is trying to help, which is nice.
At the end of my last appointment I was asked to bring in, amongst other things, a copy of my CV. This should be easy but no, no it’s not. My beloved desktop has recently passed away, two weeks shy of its eleventh birthday, and no amount of scouring my external hard drives will produce a coherent, relevant CV dated after 2010, because it would appear I place far more importance on backing up iTunes over potential employment.
So I thought I should start again, redo the whole thing. I set an afternoon aside to rifle through my drawers looking for GCSE and A-level certificates, a quick Google to find a layout I liked that wasn’t too informal, it was going to be SUCH a productive afternoon. Except it wasn’t. Because I had no idea where to start and I still don’t.
We already know I’m a procrastinator by nature but it was about time I finally got on with it. The problem is, and maybe I’m alone, but any writing work I’ve had since leaving school has never actually required a CV. I have somehow gotten by until almost 24 (it’s my birthday soon, someone can write me a CV as a present if they like) without having to show anyone my half-arsed attempt at selling myself. I don’t know how I’ve done it, and whilst I’m not exactly proud of it…there’s something to be said about ‘winging’ it all the time, right? Right? No, I think I’m just good at talking myself out of things.
Having not really had much real, paid work, I was worried that potential employers would look at my CV and think all sorts of (wrong) things about me. Incapable of ACTUALLY holding down a job? Secretly has really rich parents and can afford a life of work experience and blogging? Or, you know, the truth… talking about my M.E. An adviser at the job centre said I had a “surprisingly” full CV but that doesn’t mean much when it comes to writing down what I’m capable of. It’d look something like this.
- Making tea and coffee for everyone, spookily good at remembering quantities of sugar and strength of milk per cup.
- Fitting girls into bras correctly (even by eye) and giving them really good cleavages (I blog about lingerie, and that is a legitimate skill I’ll have you know).
- Blogging. SO. MUCH. BLOGGING.
How does one get those skills down on paper as transferable, relevant talents? I don’t know! I’ll tell you when I work it out.
The thing is, I recently found out that you don’t have to tell ANYONE your work was for free. Obviously it’d be nice to have received some pennies for our work, but we didn’t. That sucks but now your CV doesn’t have to have a fit-to-burst work experience/intern/volunteer section. Obviously if you WERE on work experience, don’t lie about that. Even I know that doesn’t get you anywhere. But all that blogging I’ve done in exchange for some free stuff here and there? THAT’S EMPLOYMENT. I don’t know about anyone else, but to me this is an absolute revelation and now my CV will be a much more even affair. I anticipate it will, anyway, when I get round to writing the thing.
It’s still a minefield. The blank Word document is looking at me guiltily and all I can do is look at amazing creative CVs and wonder why I can’t bake a CV and send it to people, or attach it to puppies and kittens and send them on their way. That’d work, surely?
If I manage to get through it alive maybe I’ll blog about how to turn a CV of nothing-ness into something passable. I can give hope to those, like me, who maybe feel their substandard employment history is holding them back, yet really we all stand a bloody good chance, as good as anyone. Maybe. I have a feeling you’re going to be waiting a long time for that one.