There is, without doubt, a definite art to writing a CV. Writing a powerful CV is about making an impact on the reader and subtly portraying your attitude and vision for the job you are applying for.
Qualifications, past experience and company history are all important but your attitude and how you portray yourself is equally and possibly even more important. Your attitude is crucial to your overall job-hunting success and is reflected by the words you use in your CV.
Employers are not looking for a ‘perfect’ candidate because there is no such thing. They are looking for a stable, reliable, realistic, positive, visionary candidate who wants a long-term future, a candidate who gives the employer more reason to say ‘yes’ to him/her than ‘no’, a candidate who will add value to the company and not one who brings all his/ her baggage and problems with him/her.
The secret is knowing how to avoid negative attitudes and how to portray yourself MORE positively both in the CV and at the interview so that you receive the best package for yourself.
To make things a bit clearer, the typical types of attitude and states of mind that put employers off are listed below:
1. The opportunist attitude The opportunist person has no real commitment to an employer and is liable to move on when his/her mood or requirements change. Do you have an opportunist attitude? Do you get bored easily? What are you looking for? Is it money, a car, increased responsibility?
Action: Decide what you want from your career in the long and short term and make sure you focus on these
2. The angry attitude The angry person talks in terms of how the previous company should have rewarded him or how others should have behaved. Do you have an angry attitude? Do you start looking for jobs when you feel that you are being overlooked at work? Do you feel angry when faced with the following situations: you notice that your colleagues and subordinates are being promoted and you are not, even though you think you should be? you don’t get the credit that you deserve for a project? Do you feel your career is not moving as fast as it should be?
Action: If you feel you have been unfairly treated talk to your boss and try to sort it out. You don’t want to carry this disappointment with you for the rest of your career as it could grow in size with time. If the case comes up at an interview, it is much better to talk about personality clashes rather than in terms of what you ought to or should have gained.
3. The desperate attitude Employers are proud of their company/business and want to employ people who hold similar values. Desperate interviewees are those people who see their own needs and situation as far more important than those of the employer. Do you have a desperate attitude? Are you short of money and out of work? Are you threatened with redundancy? Are you unsure of what you want to do but willing to give any job a try?
Action: You may find that a temporary job may ease the financial burden and pressures. You must stress your positive attributes and skills rather than saying that you will do anything, as this comes across as too weak.
4. The half-hearted attitude Half-hearted people give themselves away because they lack stability, conviction and stamina. Employers get the impression that everything is too much effort and that they just can’t be bothered. Do you have a half-hearted attitude? Are you easily disappointed and take knocks too personally? Do you need time to heal and lick your wounds after you have been rejected? Do you give up at the first hurdle? Or do you see it as a learning process, find out the reasons you weren’t selected and work on the tips you have been given? Does your job hunt lose momentum and then you spend time feeling guilty that nothing is happening on the job front?
Action: Work out why you are giving up. Do you really want this job?
5. The emotionally unstable attitude Employers want assurances that you can and will do the job. An employer would be concerned if you have suffered any personal or emotional problems that could affect your work performance. Do you have an emotionally unstable attitude? Perhaps you have just experienced a bereavement or been through a messy divorce? If divorced or separated, briefly explain the circumstances if these add to your case.
Action: If asked about the event, don’t fall into the trap of giving the employer all the detail. He/she is not interested in this, only that you have sorted yourself out. An employer doesn’t want to employ all your problems as well, as he/she has enough of his/her own.
6. The know-it-all attitude A know-it-all person doesn’t endear others to his/her way of thinking. They are so wrapped up in their own self-importance and how brilliantly they have performed in the past that their attitude invites others to put them down or see fault in them. Of course, employers are interested in your previous experience but only as long as it is put in the context of their needs. Do you have a know-it-all attitude? Do you talk about your previous experience and assume you will do the same thing in your new role regardless? Are you open to new ideas? Do you see another person’s needs and point of view?
Action: Talk in terms of the prospective employer’s needs and relate your experience to these needs.
7. The irrational attitude Irrational people give themselves away because they lack self-confidence. When asked about certain subjects, their argument falls apart and then they have an even bigger problem. Do you have an irrational attitude? Are you under-qualified for the job you are applying for? Are you perhaps setting your sights far too high for where you are at the moment? Are you reaching for standards that you can’t possibly achieve right now and therefore you will always fail? Or are you applying for jobs for which you are overqualified and therefore not giving yourself a chance to reach your full potential
Action: Try to sort out in your own mind what you want from your career and be realistic in your approach.
8. The sloppy attitude The sloppy person either can’t be bothered to get it right or isn’t even aware that he/she is slipping up. Do you have a sloppy attitude? Do you have a good CV and interview manner? Do you have good hygiene and appearance or are you inclined to be lax in these areas? Do you take your family circumstances into your decision-making – will this career move be a good move for just you or for the whole family? Have you considered how long hours, excessive time away from home or relocating will affect you all?
Action: Identity what the problem is, and if you don’t know ask a close friend or a career adviser, or ring up the interviewer and be brave enough to ask. Try to listen to what was said and reflect upon it.
9. The non-conformist attitude Employers claim that non-conformity is an automatic reason for rejection. Candidates need to demonstrate to a prospective employer that they can and will follow basic instructions and requests. Do you have a non-conformist attitude? Are you letting yourself down because you are not submitting information that the employer is asking?
Action: Whether you like it or not, the only rule of job hunting is to do what the employer asks and do what you say you will do. You will have the chance to demonstrate your flair and originality at the interview and to assess whether you will fit in with the organisation Now take another look at your current CV. How positive is this CV of yours? Will it deliver positive or negative announcements? Let’s take a look at your CV ‘Does it make job hunting exciting?’ ‘Does it remind you of your passion for your industry/ profession?’ ‘Does it reflect your personal approach and style?’ ‘Does it make it easy to get on the interview list?’ ‘Does it promote your career purpose?’ ‘Does it make it easy for the prospective employer to assess your value?