How An Imperfect CV Could Make You The Perfect Candidate

photo: happily grey


Sometimes I see mistakes on a CV that make me sigh. One of those is glossing over relevant experience in favor of something else. In terms of editorial work, I like to see lots of writing experience at the top (especially voluntary!) even if it’s only on your own blog. But I do know that everyone needs to make a living, so I’ll look at the other jobs you’ve been doing and what skills you’ve picked up, too. Often people think if their CV is a disappointment if it isn’t polished and if you haven’t been doing what you love since you were 16 years old.

Wrong. This TED talk by Regina Hartley explains why the best hire might not be the best CV.

“We call A “the Silver Spoon,” the one who clearly had advantages and was destined for success. And we call B “the Scrapper,” the one who had to fight against tremendous odds to get to the same point. You just heard a human resources director refer to people as Silver Spoons and Scrappers –“

While it may not be politically correct, it shows that every CV she receives fits into two distinct piles, and over the years she has learned a lot about each type of person behind the CV. “I’ve learned something about people whose experiences read like a patchwork quilt, that makes me stop and fully consider them before tossing their resumes away. A series of odd jobs may indicate inconsistency, lack of focus, unpredictability. Or it may signal a committed struggle against obstacles.”

She came from an adverse background and acknowledges that the ‘Silver Spoon’ CVs work incredibly hard to get to where they are, but also doesn’t think you should hire them all the time. “Take this resume. This guy’s parents give him up for adoption. He never finishes college. He job-hops quite a bit, goes on a sojourn to India for a year, and to top it off, he has dyslexia. Would you hire this guy? His name is Steve Jobs.”

So, if your CV is patchworked and has some gaps, you might just be the right person for the job!

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