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After reading the book of Seth Godin, Purple Cow…several ideas and thoughts came to my mind. In this book, Seth Godin explains that companies need to be remarkable to be successful nowadays…beforehand companies could create boring products and put a lot of ads on TV, and that was pretty much it! And It was working well!
Now the audience is more demanding, has less time and the number of choice is bigger…so you need to be remarkable to get noticed. You need to create a purple cow (because all the “normal” cows are white, black or brown but not purple…) to be remarkable. You also need to be focused on a niche and not selling everything to everyone. You need to focus your money and work on a small niche of sneezers or early adopters who will spread the word.
For the CV it is the same.
A cv is a 2D document made of a boring listing of duties and responsibilities. As a recruiter, I have seen hundreds of CVs, I can tell you, it is all the same. And those that are noticed are not noticed for the right reasons (fantasy font, colors, funny pictures). And even if we need to follow certain rules, people forget that CVs are here to show skills and demonstrate them ie prove your skills. They put a job description of their current job on their CV instead of putting figures or quoting some successful case studies.
But back in the days, you just needed to send a CV and it was working well… I do remember my father telling me he just sent a written CV by mail and got 2 interviews the following week (in the 70s). The number of educated people using CVs was quite low, the word to mouth technique was widespread. So the CV was a very efficient tool.
Now it does not work so much. The number of people with degrees and education background has exploded over the past decade, and everybody uses a CV whether you are a banker or a plumber. The consequence of that is that Recruiters are inundated with CVs. Every time a recruiter puts a job ad, he receives hundreds of CVs from all over the world. So he has less time to scout every CV and your possibilities of standing out are quite reduced.
When I was recruiting, the button I was using more on my keyboard was “delete”! So the CV is not anymore an efficient tool, it is quite boring to read. It is a “normal” cow, you won’t be remarkable just using a CV.
The other lesson from this book is that you need to focus when elaborating your CV. You can’t only put everything you have done and hope for the best…you need to be specific and find a niche or a market to stand out. If you put generic things without giving any life to your CV it will be even worse. If you want your CV to look less ineffective and boring, you need to put some life on your CV ie figures, your trademark, your speciality, for example I specialized in coaching financial executives.
But please give some life to your CV, and obviously always respecting the basic rules. And you need to know who is going to be your target to customise your CV accordingly. Just one word for the CV: focus, focus, focus!
I will come back to the CV and why so many CVs are just not well written. So if the CV is boring and ineffective, what should you do? There are different options to promote you without even using a CV. But it will the subject of another post!!