I have been at this office for many years. The work is exciting, the promotions have been periodic and in general the progression of my career graph here has been very successful. Now saturated with this workplace, I thought I would apply for a new job.
Understandably, it’s been years since I had to hand in a CV so I asked them – my friends, younger colleagues, smarter family members, an advisory committee of sorts.
“It’s all changed” they told me- my friends, family, colleagues and even the online ‘How to write a CV/resume’ and ‘how to write the best job application’ etc. websites.
They told me that the main thing was the length of the CV. No one had time to read through my years of experience, noteworthy projects that I had conceived and managed, research papers published, training workshops conducted at conferences, my first class education itself would take up several lines then my internships at world class institutions.
“Just one side of A4” they said, “No longer than that.” So I sat down to concentrate on this piece of A4 paper. It didn’t look very big or accommodating to me. Half my brain was needlessly whirling information like only 500 words, that’s about 50 lines, maybe a few more can be squeezed in with a smaller font size. But the font size should not be too small. Legible. The other part of my brain was all bluff and bluster, “500 words? That’s going to be nothing to sum up 2 decades of sterling work! How small can the font be?” “But it can’t be more than A4, just looks unprofessional, trying too hard, waffling on….” the advisory committee butted helpfully into my thoughts.
So I started as advised on this modern CV.
Name: Shouldn’t matter, as long as it wasn’t anything rude or sensational.
Age: Shouldn’t matter, unless specified in the advert or if the job demands it. If not, it’s discrimination.
Sex: Should be irrelevant. If not, it’s discrimination. (Although I had a secret hankering to write ‘yes, please’).
Location: Shouldn’t make a difference since the job is online and telecommute has been specified in the advert.
Time zone: Shouldn’t make a difference as the vacancy is open to applicants worldwide. So now, if they fuss about it, it’s discrimination.
Photo: Shouldn’t matter what you look like. You should be judged on your skills not by your looks, that would be discrimination.
When I asked them how to present my many qualifications, they said “Put in a link to your online professional profile.”
When I asked them how to summarise my various roles and responsibilities, they said “Put in a link to your current company’s personnel profile.”
When I asked how I could present my list of published papers and other publications, they said “Put in a link to your online professional organisations and publications profile.”
And so I did.
Name: Something something
Age: Over 18 years
Photo: Picture of a stick figure drawn by my son.
Then I had 3 links listed one below the other and 3 referees, who would be named only upon request.
That was 15 lines, in a font as small as I dared to use and the best part of the A4 page was still empty.
For the first time in my working life, I felt as if I should have done much more in my career spanning 2 decades.