Avoid Adding Tent Poles Of The Same Height

There’s a lot of rubbish spouted about how to write a winning CV. Some of the worst advice I ever got was at University, but that’s not a surprise.

A CV has to sell you and where you want to be. There’s no point in dwelling on successes of four or five years ago unless they are incredibly relevant or very high end. What are you doing NOW? What are you offering a company looking forward and how are your skills going to be useful to them?

I posted up on another blog site the other day about how it’s okay to be awesome most of the time. This is one of these times. Your CV has to make potential employers want you. You’re up against probably hundreds of other people. What is it that makes you stand out? Why are you awesome and why are you going to be an asset to the company you’ve applied to? Be ruthless and sing your praises.

Linked in posted up a useful article last week ‘The #1 Career Mistake Capable People Make‘. It likened a badly constructed CV to a tent with too many poles of equal height. Bear with me – it does make sense.

The advice is to have limited skills that stand out. Make it easy for employers you’re targeting to see your strong points. Don’t have a lot of mediocre skills that don’t make you stand out from all the other applicants. Make it obvious what you are good at and what you want so that when you reach interview stage you can talk confidently and passionately about what you can do. Make it clear what your tallest tent poles are.

I applied this to a marketing course I went on a couple of weeks back. There’s no point in targeting everyone. Aim at your ideal customer and go get them. It’s just the same with job applications.

The Disciplined Pursuit of Less‘ runs along similar lines and shows how you can declutter your skill set. But it also reminds you that ‘success is a catalyst for failure’. A scary thought. When you’re at the top the only way is down. So try to pace yourself and keep your sights high but realistic. You will have to climb ladders and sometimes you might have to go down before you can go up again. It’s the nature of the beast.


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