Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Resume or CV - What's the difference and who cares?

Do you want to be successful, or is failure your preferred option? If you prefer the former, whether you call yours a resume (which means 'summary') or CV (which roughly translates to 'my life story'), this personal marketing tool is an essential  item in your jobsearch toolkit - but preparing it is fraught with a range of potential disasters.

 Don't worry, there is plenty of helpful information at hand. A google search today revealed that 'writing a resume' provides over 21 million results, and 'writing a CV' over 17 million. Simply google 'resume' and you can choose from almost 1 BILLION results.Yet, despite the plethora of data and advice available, it is amazing to find so many poorly written resumes/cv's around the place. It can only be assumed from this that information does not necessarily lead to knowledge or ability.

I can't tell you how many articles and books I have written myself that provide truly outstanding information which, if followed, would lead to the production of amazing resumes. Sadly, none of this seems to have lifted the quality of resumes that are sent out in the hope of getting a job interview. (For those of you who do not know about my sense of humour, please take this last paragraph with a grain of salt.)

I guess it is like anything really. If your car develops a strange sound whenever you turn a corner, you have a number of options. One, you can ignore it and hope it will go away. Two, you can take a look, perhaps undo a few nuts and bolts and see if your untrained eye can detect the source. Three, you can ask a non-mechanic-but-more-mechanically-minded-than-you friend to take a look. Four, you can read the manual or google the problem and hope to get some kind of relevant answer. Five, you can book it into the mechanic and get them to fix it, for a price.

Resumes are a bit the same. Just like a car needs to take you from one place to another, your resume needs to take you to your next job. If it doesn't get you interviews, you can simply stop applying, or just keep sending it out in the vain hope that someone will eventually like it. You might decide to do some self-analysis, and check it over and see if there is anything your untrained eye can see that is glaringly wrong with it. You might show a friend or family member, but their love for you may blind them to glaringly obvious omissions or mistakes. You might turn to one of billion websites in the hope that you will find a diagnosis there for why your resume is not working. Or, you could get a professional to take a look at it, for a fee. I know which one I recommend, but maybe as I am a professional resume writer I am a bit biased.

But let's look at it a different way: your resume is a tool, it's only purpose is to get you noticed. If you are not being noticed, or are being noticed in the wrong way, you are closing doors to many (possibly great) careers. If your resume needs work, do you procrastinate for days, weeks, months or even years? Or, do you spend hours browsing the web, or spend inordinate amounts of time drafting and redrafting your resume? Or, do you see it simply as a task to be done and forgotten.

If you want to get a great resume, think about this - what is more valuable to you - your precious time, or a few dollars?

Sorry if this sounds like a thinly disguised ad for my services. Yes of course I would love to take a look at your resume and tell you what is wrong with it, and help make it really great if you are willing to trust me to do so (thousands have, so you are not taking too great a risk here).

Whether or not you use my services, or those of another professional writer, my main message is twofold:
1) We are all good at different things, and
2) No one can be good at everything.

People often ask me if getting help from a professional will guarantee that they will get an interview. Of course it can't, but which risk are you more willing to take? To me, it's a no-brainer.

(That reminds me, I must take my car in for a service, that knock in the engine is a bit of a worry...)

I hope your resume or cv is doing its job and opening the door to your next career. Which brings us back to the beginning ... if you really want to know what the difference is between a resume and CV, I'll answer that one in my next post.