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 choices 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.
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, they are 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 i.e. 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.
The good old days:
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.
The cut-throat situation of today:
Now it does not work so much. The number of people with degrees and strong educational backgrounds 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 posts 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.
Please don’t give them a reason to delete your CV:
When I was recruiting, the button I was using more than anything on my keyboard was “delete”! So the CV is no longer an efficient tool, it is quite boring to read. It is a “normal” cow, you won’t be remarkable just using a CV.
The key is focus:
The other lesson from this book is that you need to focus on when elaborating on 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 specialty, for example, I specialized in coaching European 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 customize your CV accordingly. Just one word for the CV: focus, focus, focus!
Author: Laurent Brouat