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CV Hell: Son of CV rides again - shadows of echoes of memories of songs — LiveJournal
CV Hell: Son of CV rides again
Yes, j4 is still whinging about jobs.

I phoned the University Temporary Employment Services (i.e. cam.ac.uk temp agency) and, obviously, they want me to send them a CV. And now I'm having a crisis of confidence to the effect that my CV is too crap to send to anybody.

My current CV looks like this, only it usually looks a bit neater since I've just hastily converted it from Word format to text-only so that people won't whine at me about not being able to see it in Lynx or on their Palm. 8-) I've got several interviews with this CV (usually accompanied by a covering letter or application form), so it can't be utterly hopeless, but.

Should I:

a) send this CV off, and stop dithering?
b) make a few changes (suggestions welcome!)?
c) rewrite it completely tonight and send it off tomorrow?

[Sorry, not a real poll, because I can't be arsed.]

Current Mood: stressed

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keirf From: keirf Date: November 3rd, 2003 07:52 am (UTC) (Link)
rbarclay From: rbarclay Date: November 3rd, 2003 07:56 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't know about habits in .uk. but around here I'd give more detail on the specific tools involved in the various jobs (OSs, applications, development tools etc). Especially agencies seem to just love being able to 'grep -i unix' the accumulated CVs.
emperor From: emperor Date: November 3rd, 2003 08:01 am (UTC) (Link)
I'd be tempted to add a section saying what skills you have, I do something like this in my CV (PS/PDF available at: http://www.pick.ucam.org/~mcv21/#CV ). Otherwise, it seems good to me.
j4 From: j4 Date: November 3rd, 2003 08:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! Your CV looks good...
emperor From: emperor Date: November 3rd, 2003 08:45 am (UTC) (Link)
It's LaTeX, using the currvita.sty package, which you can get from CTAN
j4 From: j4 Date: November 3rd, 2003 08:58 am (UTC) (Link)
I was thinking more of the content, actually... :)

I don't think the effort it would take me to learn LaTeX would be effort well spent, to be honest, given that I can make a CV look smart in Word and most of the people I'm applying to are non-techy so ask for Word format anyway (if I'm sending a CV by email, I mean). But thanks for the tip anyway.
brrm From: brrm Date: November 3rd, 2003 09:14 am (UTC) (Link)
I send (sent, oops) mine in PDF form if I want to appear less Microsofty (I wrote it in Word). OSX lets me just 'print to PDF', 'fraid I can't remember if OS9 does this (sad that something I once knew backwards is fading in my memory. I miss it). I could convert yours to PDF if you like.
Making everything line up to a vertical line down the page (hopefully this is obvious in my CV) is a handy tip that the Oxford Careers person gave me for making it look spiffier with minimal effort. Also, I hear you can just email them your CV (being an Ox graduate) and they will run their eye over it.

(Deleted comment)
j4 From: j4 Date: November 3rd, 2003 08:27 am (UTC) (Link)
We tend to assume (and the wider world may do so as well) that if you don't write much about your current employment then you must hate your job, and you've applied for our vacancy not because you particularly want it, but because you're desperate to get out of what you're doing.

Well, the immediate need is for a CV to send to a temp agency... IME people don't apply to temp agencies because they desperately want to do temp work for the rest of their lives, they apply to temp agencies because they need short-term work! :) I already left my full-time job, because I did hate it; my "current employment" is only freelance work (for the same company, though).

Will try to put a bit more info about the current job though. The problem is it's not very clearly defined what my role is, and I end up getting into a lot of explanation. The thing is, they hired me as an editorial assistant, then I learned Perl and since then I've been an editorial assistant who writes Perl for them, and as such I scuppered all my chances of promotion and got stuck reinventing the same wheel multiple times while they went on about how great it was that they could get me to write code yet they didn't have to pay me as much as they'd pay a software engineer. Hrmph. So I quit (thinking I had another job lined up), and that fell through, and I came back here as a freelancer, and have been stuck here ever since (that was about 6 months ago, dear god, HALF A YEAR of my LIFE wasted).

From: scat0324 Date: November 3rd, 2003 09:52 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm no good at this either. But stick (Oxon) after B.A. Hons.

or maybe not, if there's a reason you've left it off.
jiggery_pokery From: jiggery_pokery Date: November 3rd, 2003 09:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Sometimes I wonder that Oxford (and specifically ox.*)'s cultural anti-Microsoft bias has led us into ethically/generically desirable but culturally/financially disadvantageous habits. For instance, I maintain my CV in Word but am always a little bit reluctant to send it off when people don't explicitly say "in Word format" on the grounds that sending in Word when people don't like Word would appear to be a terrible faux pas. Yet you know as well as I do how many people have Word and how much, very broadly, people actually like the package.

b) I would consider rewriting the Employment and Work Experience section so that the important entries had a load of bullet points, each with an eye-catching action verb. This probably means I've been hanging around Careers Services too long. I'll also ditto the "skills section" comments other people have been making: even if the skills aren't terribly relevant (and, these days, Office skills almost always are) then you can always say "I have demonstrated an ability to pick up new skills rapidly" and/or "I have demonstrated a commitment to picking up new skills".

Mind you, I'm one to talk on this front in my situation. :-/ A large part of the reason why I'm putting off finishing my 250 hours of paid work is that when I finish the contract I can no longer put "April 2003 to date" for "current employment" on my CV. Not good.
From: kaet Date: November 3rd, 2003 11:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, I'd employ you!

I'm afraid I'm not very good with these things. I don't know the first thing about HR and my pedantary skills are but week. But though, for these reasons and many, many others, I'll probably never be in a position to do so, it seems to me from your CV like you'd be a useful person to have around, particularly at a Uni. All your work has been academic/learning related, and lots has been text related, and you can do html (might be worth mentioning this, I can't remember if you do), and perl; useful person to have about. They might want you, so that if for example, in some floaty humanities department wanted to put some battered old documents or students' theses on the webternet, you could do the processing, and generate indexing Dublin-Core stylee. It's more important, in situations like that, that you know which side your circumflexes are buttered than the exact purpose of </funky>, but you do need to have proved yourself capable of technical competence, which you have, even to a cynical employer, both at QueStrop and with your personal webpages and stuff.
bjh21 From: bjh21 Date: November 3rd, 2003 11:59 am (UTC) (Link)
For feeding to a temp agency it looks fine. There are a few things that strike me about it, though (as someone who's never had a useful CV in his life -- take my comments with appropriate amounts of salt):
  • You seem to be uncertain whether you prefer four-digit years and named months or two-digit years and numbered months. This makes matching up the "education" and "work" sections hard.
  • I'd be inclined to go for "voluntary work" rather than "unpaid work experience" for the choir job.
  • Were some of the jobs overlapping with your degree part-time? I'd be inclined to indicate that somehow in the heading for the relevant jobs.
  • You seem to be uncertain whether to describe jobs in full sentences or not. This makes it read a bit oddly.
  • Listing all your GCSEs and the Ladybird work experience feels slightly school-leaverish to me, but I'm no expert.
  • Perhaps the heading for each job should include the job title or similar (make it up if necessary).
  • Given the number of years ProQuest covers, I'd expect slightly more words. There are at least some buzzwords missing -- SGML, MARC, and Unix come to mind, and that's just from your news postings.
  • "Being responsible for" in the ProQuest blurb seems superfluous.
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