Monday, 4 October 2010

Selling Yourself

Since handing in my notice, along with just about everyone else at my place of work due to most of our weekenders going to University, we have been inundated with CV’s. In my last job I gained the power of reading these CV’s and having an input into eliminating the job prospects of complete strangers. I’m not going to lie; I took great pleasure in it. Who wouldn’t? You get to completely judge a member of the public you will most likely never meet again. You know how well they did at school, college or University. You know their hobbies and interests, and you can generally gain a picture of this applicant from the layout and presentation of the resume itself.

I know that makes me seem like a bit of an arse but come on, I know you all secretly agree. To be fair, it is incredibly hard to manage to successfully sell yourself on a piece of paper. It is also pretty tricky to work out how to phrase it without knowing that the person reading it would have heard it all before. With CV’s applying for job’s in retail in particular, it seems that everyone is hard-working, can work in a team as well as on their own, and everyone likes a challenge.

I’m pretty brutal when sifting through a big pile of applications, and very quick to dismiss people. That sounds bad but you’ve gotta get through them somehow! I go straight for the grades first, but the true shining moment I find the greatest to read on a CV is the hobbies and interests. What human beings decide to reveal to potential employers in order to make themselves sound like the best candidate for the job should surely be part of some kind of scientific study. Here are a few of my favourites, and keep in mind the job these people are going for is a sales assistant in a clothing store…

  • ‘I can complete a rubix cube in less than six seconds.’
  • ‘I have no formal training and no driving license’
  • ‘I often spend evenings writing letters, so I can keep in touch’ (Quite blatantly a lie but I just imagined some insane eccentric character sitting at home surrounded by paper frantically writing and licking stamps)
  • ‘I have a pet bearded dragon which I care for on a daily basis and am responsible for’ (Know where you were going with this one, but really?!)
  • One applicant decided to refer to themselves entirely in the third person. Emma was very humoured by this.
  • ‘I have slight retail experience. I also have slight forklift experience’
  • In a short list of hobbies, a young man simply put ‘Go town’ as one of his interests.

But it’s not all doom and gloom, a good CV shines out like a beacon of hope. We had one guy apply who mentioned that he took part in charity event against 40 other people and the winner was the person who could get the furthest away from London in three days without spending any money. This guy came third in the competition and got to Warsaw. Now, I had his details. I’ll be honest, I wanted to ring him. Purely to pick his brains about how he did it and where the winner made it to!

My own CV is pretty standard. Having said all these things about bad ones from other people, I myself put the wrong phone number, an old address and no date of birth on mine when I handed about fifteen out last year. Nice one Emma. 

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