Thursday, 5 March 2015

Pilgrimage for a job - CVs and Resumes

We are probably halfway on our collective mission of finding a job. Today we get our pen and paper ready, clean that keyboard stained with strawberry jam and toast crumbles, and face the future. From where we stand now we can still see what we are leaving behind, but the doors we need to get our feet on will only open if we use the right keys.

CVs and Resumes, What job websites to trust, What companies to look for, What roles to seek, How to apply professionally, What to say in an interview, Final considerations, and the like. I am summarising these in a self-teaching process. 

Writing a CV or Resume is hard word. It is the document that will describe us to the world out there, and as a sniper aiming for that crucial shot, if you get it right you just did your work, if you get it wrong you will jeopardise the whole operation. I don't want to endanger my job application process just because my CV is not at its best. This is where the game gets real, my friends. One thing is to discuss the unhealthy state of academia, the future of industry or even theorising on where can we take our professional dreams. Another completely different level is to pitch to others who don't even know they need us that we are the real deal, we are what they are looking for and no others can do the job like we can.

To start with let's clarify something here; CVs and Resumes are not one and the same thing. CV (Curriculum Vitae) is "an in-depth document that can be laid out over two or more pages" containing "a high level of detail about your achievements", covering from education to publications and awards obtained [1]. A CV is organised on a timeframe template, it is static (very important differing feature) and should be accompanied by a cover letter (a letter providing additional info job seekers may ask for). Contrarily to the former, a Resume is 1 page-concise, even more straightforward, showing only the outstandings of your profile, adaptable to every position and not static like a CV, does not respect a chronological time frame and should be versatile.

UK is more about CVs, Europe even has an available CV format that I have used in the past and took me nowhere so I wouldn't even try and advertise it here (actually I find it lengthy and infected with decoys). US and Canada really dig the resume, at least that is what Jorgen Sundberg, the author of the incredible page where I found this information, tells us. Bear in mind that first impression counts a lot!

Short tips for a good CV. A lot of people say a lot of stuff, I will keep it simple but never stupid. Bruce Fong [2] tell us about a few things you can do to produce an interesting CV:

- Always focus on why you are good for the role you're seeking,
- Abolish anything irrelevant for the role you are applying to.
- Keep it to a maximum of two A4 pages.
- Each word and each section should work as sincere baiting.
- When talking about important things that do not directly relate to the role, explain what you've gained from such experiences that can actually be used in the role.
-  Use one sentence for outlining the project, one sentence for describing it and another for the positive outcome.

I only disagree with Bruce in one little aspect, i.e., faking it. If you don't like the position don't drive yourself to a miserable existence, just don't apply for the sake of both you and your employer.

If you are still confused to what you should include, just follow Science Docs Inc.'s Dr. Wernette [3] advise on what...

Headings in a CV usually include:

Headings in a Resume usually include:

Overall, you have to keep in mind that what recruiters want to see in your CV/Resume is what the Cheeky Scientist so well states in [4], i.e., "carefully craft your industry resume for each and every person you give it to". Mind these facts:

Fact 1) You have 5 to 7 seconds for your CV to catch their attention.
Fact 2) Organisation is Key.
Fact 3) Curated headlines get 80% of their review time.
Fact 4) PhDs should create a special, separate resume for recruiters only (recruiters want to know what methodologies you've worked with, instruments, certifications and tests you've undergone).
Fact 5) Create two resumes - 1) Industry resumes should be results-oriented, but 2) the Recruiters want a methods/instruments resume.
Fact 6) Adapt your resume to each and every position you apply to.
Fact 7) Always use the exact keywords mentioned in the job posting in the visual center (brief summary on the top of your resume/CV).
Fact 8) Ego does not operate well in resumes. Highlight what they want to see not what you are proud of.
Fact 9) Following up means being followed after.

And by all means avoid common mistakes that will basically determine your premature death in the job application war. Here are some "few" mistakes Dora Farkas highlight as very common [5] and a few more I found online [6]:

Mistake 1) Typos and Grammatical errors in CVs throw them to the abyss bin.
Mistake 2) Absence of a cover letter. A cover letter allows the recruiter to go deep if necessary. On your cover letter show that you've researched the company, researched the role and researched the recruiter.
Mistake 3) Generic resumes reveal generic candidates. Tailor to need and audience.
Mistake 4) No job description keywords, no job. Most of the time resumes are searched by Keywords; you miss them they miss you.
Mistake 5) Paragraphs are stupid. Use bullet-points and same font.
Mistake 6) Highlight duties, not accomplishments.
Mistake 7) Every sentence should get you a job, avoid nonsense and time wasting wording.
Mistake 8) Absence of Generic Objective. A generic objective is a summary on the top of your CV/Resume of what you are looking for and what you have to offer.
Mistake 9) Applying for something you are clearly not qualified for. Remember up there where I disagreed with Bruce Fong? I still do. I must insist, stop wasting yours and other people's time. But one thing is not being qualified at all and another thing is not having all qualifications. No one is perfect!
Mistake 10) Using an unprofessional-sounding email address. I know a guy whose email was something like
Mistake 11) Lying. Running a mile doesn't make you a marathon-runner.
Mistake 12) Chronological order? No! Reverse chronological order is the norm.
Mistake 13) Using "Curriculum Vitae" as a heading rather than your name.
Mistake 14) No page numbers, overusing bold and italics. In an attempt to make everything meaningful you will be tacky and diverting.

[1] Undercover recruiter, CVs VS. Resume - the difference and when to use which, [], last visited on the 5th of March 2015, last update unknown. 

[2] 1 really great trick for writing a great CV, All in networking, [], last visited on the 5th of March 2015, last update unknown.

[3] Resume or Curriculum Vitae, Science Docs Incorporated, [], last visited on the 5th of Marcjh 2015, last update unknown.

[4] What recruiters want to see on a PhD's resume, Cheeky Scientist, [], last visited on the 5th of March 2015, last update unknown.

[5] The 12 deadliest resume mistakes that repel employers, Finish your thesis with Dora, [], last visited on the 5th of March 2015, last update on the 5th of October 2014.

[6] Academic CVs: 10 irritating mistakes, The Guardian - Higher Education Network blog [], last visited on the 5th of March, last update on the 1st of November 2013.

Post image kindly taken from Advanse International, Resume VS. CV VS. BIO-DATA, [].

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