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CV again - shadows of echoes of memories of songs — LiveJournal
j4
j4
CV again
Okay, you're all sick of this by now, but MY JOURNAL, MY WHINGES, okay? (Love me, love my neuroses.)

Updated and enhanced CV here. (It's in Word format, sorry, because I can't format it nicely in plain text and I'm lazy.) Katherine, I haven't turned every negative into a positive, but I've turned it all into neutral-statements-with-positive-sounding-verbs-in ... will that do as a compromise? :-)

I've also added Positions of Responsibility and Other Information -- thanks to emperor for providing grown-up sounding headings. I think those sections of my CV both read a bit crap, though, so again, suggestions welcomed.

...

Currently wondering whether to apply for this job with the IWF. I know I could do it, but a) can I convince them that I could do it, and b) do I want to work for the IWF? Not sure.

Update: Yeah, yeah, CV now there with correctly-typed name, ph34r my l337 computing skillz. :-}

Current Mood: brain-overloaded
Now playing: Alison Krauss: "It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference"

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(Deleted comment)
j4 From: j4 Date: November 3rd, 2003 01:24 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: 404

"I have considerable skills in computing, which unfortunately do not extend to TYPING BLOODY FILENAMES CORRECTLY."

*d'oh*

Should be fixed now.
(Deleted comment)
j4 From: j4 Date: November 3rd, 2003 02:11 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: 404

Length -- yeah, I know, that's one reason why I didn't want to put more info in, but now I have done (because everybody said to) and now it's too long. :-( See comments in response to jiggery_pokery re formatting.

Another CV-writing tip I picked up somewhere is to shove Education down the list; put it below Work Experience, because it's less recent than the jobs and thus fits with the general reverse chronological order of a CV.

Hmmm. The thing is, not all my work experience is more recent than my education, and I sort of think of qualifications as Things I Have (like name/address/etc.) rather than Things I've Done. If you see what I mean. (Okay, that's a post-hoc rationalisation of a general feeling that That's Where It Belongs, but I think it's roughly why I think it belong there, IYSWIM.)

And then where does voluntary work come? I think it just risks getting very messy if I shuffle it around too much. :-/

Confused now. Thank you for advice though.
jiggery_pokery From: jiggery_pokery Date: November 3rd, 2003 01:50 pm (UTC) (Link)

Well, I think it's ace, and I hope potential employers would do so too. :-) (Interesting to learn a couple of things about you which I didn't know before!)

I would smush the "Education" and "Qualifications" sections together - just list the educational establishments you went to next to what you earned there.

I would try very hard to get this down to two pages, largely by playing with the font and the line gaps. There's also the trick that you don't need to head it "Curriculum Vitae", because it's obvious what it is - just head it with your name in centred block capitals instead. This is one of three things I can remember from the Careers Service, with the other two being stupid body language tricks. :-)

Caveat: I'm probably trying to turn your CV into mine and mine may not necessarily be all that good.
j4 From: j4 Date: November 3rd, 2003 02:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, I think it's ace, and I hope potential employers would do so too.

Thank you!

(Interesting to learn a couple of things about you which I didn't know before!)

Now wondering what you didn't know...

I would smush the "Education" and "Qualifications" sections together - just list the educational establishments you went to next to what you earned there.

That's a good idea (and would probably help bringing it down to two pages), but I can't work out how to do it nicely and keep all the information in there...

I would try very hard to get this down to two pages, largely by playing with the font and the line gaps.

I don't really want to change the font if I can help it -- I like TNR, I think it looks smart, I know it comes out okay on my cruddy printer, I think anything bigger would look like green crayon and anything smaller would really strain people's eyes. Line gaps I could fix, I suppose, but the more of that kind of faffing I put in, the more danger it'll all break when I change it from Mac format to PC format to send it to people.

There's also the trick that you don't need to head it "Curriculum Vitae", because it's obvious what it is - just head it with your name in centred block capitals instead.

Good point. :-)

This is one of three things I can remember from the Careers Service, with the other two being stupid body language tricks.

Ooh, go on, what were the stupid body language tricks?

Caveat: I'm probably trying to turn your CV into mine and mine may not necessarily be all that good.

To be honest any suggestions are good, because part of the problem with my CV is it feels really stale because I wrote it all aeons ago and have barely done anything with my life in the last three years. :-(
jiggery_pokery From: jiggery_pokery Date: November 3rd, 2003 02:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Now wondering what you didn't know...

That you got a 1st and that you were female co-chair of LGBSoc for a year. Impressive and responsible IMHO.

Ooh, go on, what were the stupid body language tricks?

1) The "professional" gaze is focusing directly on someone's forehead, in between their eyes and a little further up; the "intimate" gaze is focusing directly at their nose.

2) If you are using your finger or a pencil to point something out, like moving down a sheet of paper which someone else is reading, then lift the finger or pencil up, they will follow it and you can choose what they look at next. (Unless they've been told that they will, when they'll think about it and won't follow it.)

Given that you've shown me yours, I want to show you mine for counterpart commentary. It's a tiny bit out of date - I ought to put in something about the local games club because quite a lot of people like to see that on CVs, plus the other interests are almost entirely old. I suppose there might be jobs where I'd mention going across to Nimbus - 2003 to run Quidditch, but very few. (Ones requiring public speaking or presentation to audiences or teaching or entertainment, at a guess.)

Tough question: are there any jobs for which you should mention the existence (even if not necessarily the URL) of your LiveJournal?
j4 From: j4 Date: November 3rd, 2003 03:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
I thought the LGBSoc one might be one of the things you didn't know (not a lot of people know that). To be honest the female co-chair didn't really have much to do when I was it, because the society was about 99% men. But I don't need to say that on my CV, and I did do some things. :-) I thought you knew I'd got a first... for all the good it's done me.

Given that you've shown me yours, I want to show you mine for counterpart commentary.

No, really, I know nothing about CVs. I can't comment! It looks fine to me!

It's a tiny bit out of date - I ought to put in something about the local games club because quite a lot of people like to see that on CVs, plus the other interests are almost entirely old.

Yeah, but then most of my CV is stuff I did before leaving university, and that's three years old now. If I took all that out there'd be nothing on my CV except ProQuest!

I suppose there might be jobs where I'd mention going across to Nimbus - 2003 to run Quidditch, but very few. (Ones requiring public speaking or presentation to audiences or teaching or entertainment, at a guess.)

Good grief, I'd definitely put that on -- it's good for general stuff like communication and confidence and stuff surely? Not to mention designing a project and seeing it through and running it and all that kind of thing. I don't know the right buzzwords to use here, but it sounds like it'd definitely be worthwhile mentioning it!

Tough question: are there any jobs for which you should mention the existence (even if not necessarily the URL) of your LiveJournal?

Nope. Easy question -- it's just nothing to do with my work. I don't attempt to hide it, but it's no more relevant to any job I'm likely to do than is, oh, I dunno, sitting in the pub talking to friends. (I've mentioned usenet once in a job application; that was for something that required local knowledge, and I mentioned cam.misc. And I didn't get the job anyway, obviously.)

I do sometimes wish I could talk about social/personal life in the "describe an occasion when you have had to use tact and diplomacy to blah blah blah" type of questions, but I get weird looks if I mention things like that. Because clearly talking to an awkward manager shows a Useful Transferable Skill, whereas talking friends down from panic attacks and episodes of violent self-harm is just, you know, weird girly shit, and nothing to do with real-life skills. <exasperated sigh>
jvvw From: jvvw Date: November 3rd, 2003 03:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
One piece of advice that a (very good) careers advisor in Oxford gave me about CVs was to use horizontal lines between sections and to use tables in Word. I think it made my CV look much much neater (I'm happy to send you or Chris a copy of my CV from when I was applying for jobs earlier this year if you want to actually see!).

I remember it took me quite a lot of effort not to put in lots of personal stuff that I was proud of or which was important to me but wouldn't help get me an interview or job. Getting it down to two pages was quite hard work :-)


j4 From: j4 Date: November 3rd, 2003 03:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
to use horizontal lines between sections and to use tables in Word

Urghh. There are some things I won't do, even to get a job.
jvvw From: jvvw Date: November 3rd, 2003 03:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not sure if you're objecting on aesthetic grounds (I mean invisible tables of course) or having to delve into horrible things in Word (in which case I'd point out that I'm hopeless with Word and I don't remember it taking me very long).

j4 From: j4 Date: November 4th, 2003 02:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
I meant aesthetic grounds, really, but (more importantly) portability grounds. Do I mean portability? Brane is tired. Being able to turn it painlessly from a Mac Word doc into a PC one, is what I mean. I find that any formatting more complicated than different fonts risks breaking horribly when you turn docs from one type of Word into another. Maybe I'm just doing it wrong. :-/


jiggery_pokery From: jiggery_pokery Date: November 3rd, 2003 03:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm happy to send you or Chris a copy of my CV from when I was applying for jobs earlier this year if you want to actually see!

Yes please! Usual address as per my profile (better still, minus the -lj part before the @).
jiggery_pokery From: jiggery_pokery Date: November 3rd, 2003 03:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Good grief, I'd definitely put that on -- it's good for general stuff like communication and confidence and stuff surely?

These things are matters of opinion and yours is as valid as anyone else's. It just seems a little... well, wacky to me. Somehow geeky good, wacky bad, y'know?

The point about helping to organise a convention overseas, international teamwork and so forth is very valid; I don't have to mention that it was a Harry Potter event on the CV and can bring it up at interview. However, the world can be very closed-minded on this issue. It's sad, really.

LJ: I would be tempted to mention it for jobs where writing skills would be heavily tested. On the other hand, this makes the "write what you feel like writing" / "write to impress" divide even harder to straddle. Perhaps there might be value in the concept of polishing up some LJ entries as more general writing samples.
j4 From: j4 Date: November 4th, 2003 03:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
The impression I get from the article you link to is that they're warning against people trying to make themselves look interesting by merely listing lots of weird and wacky interests. Which you wouldn't be doing; you'd be using it to highlight your amazing range of talents: organising events, organising people, designing and running games (things like "carrying a project through from planning to implementation" I think are the sort of thing you want here), communicating information, getting other people interested and enthusiastic about something (there's better buzzwords for this but that part of my brain has switched off, sorry), and so on, and so forth. I think if you include all that it probably doesn't matter if you mention the content/context.

Perhaps there might be value in the concept of polishing up some LJ entries as more general writing samples.

Personally I'd stick that kind of thing on a separate website. I have some of my writing on my website and if I wanted to impress people with my writing I'd probably add to that; bear in mind, though, that everybody else knows the WWW (and blogs) have no quality control... :-) I suspect that writing articles for a newsletter or something (even for the Harry Potter Fan Club) might carry more weight than "I write stuff, here, it's on the web". But I don't know. I don't really apply for stuff like that.

Anyway, you've had books published; you don't need to point at LJ to prove you can write!

And since I haven't managed to get a job I'm probably in no position to advise here... so feel free to ignore all this. Sigh.
rbarclay From: rbarclay Date: November 3rd, 2003 01:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
The job description reads a bit weird, especially the "person specification". Do they want an Outlook-drool or a Solaris sysadmin? Those skills usually don't come hand-in-hand, and, more importantly, are IME on very different payscales.
j4 From: j4 Date: November 3rd, 2003 03:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Do they want an Outlook-drool or a Solaris sysadmin?

No idea. I'm neither. I can use M$ stuff no problem, and I'm competent with Unix as a user -- maybe even good, I don't know; I don't really have any points of comparison except the people round here, who all wrote their own versions of Unix for the C64 when they were about 6 months old, or rewrote grep in Lego, or connected their cot to the internet, or whatever. But what I know about sysadminning would fit on the back of a postage stamp.

Those skills usually don't come hand-in-hand, and, more importantly, are IME on very different payscales.

The salary's £18-20k, which is a vast fortune as far as I'm concerned, so you certainly wouldn't catch me complaining there.
rbarclay From: rbarclay Date: November 4th, 2003 03:02 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm competent with Unix as a user -- maybe even good, I don't know; I don't really have any points of comparison except the people round here, who all wrote their own versions of Unix for the C64 when they were about 6 months old, or rewrote grep in Lego, or connected their cot to the internet, or whatever.

Heh. Exactly as I felt when I started at $ISP. And it's just screaming to be put into a .sig somehow.

The salary's £18-20k, which is a vast fortune as far as I'm concerned, so you certainly wouldn't catch me complaining there.</cite>

If the salary's really good, I'd probably phone them and give the job a try if possible. Money can compensate for some of the downsides of a job (not all of them, of course). And tracing stuff across the 'net should be interesting and instructive for a couple months, if you're new to it. Maybe there's even a sysadmin position waiting to be filled there.

But that's me, which of course you're not.
bjh21 From: bjh21 Date: November 3rd, 2003 03:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ooh, yes. That's a substantial improvement.
j4 From: j4 Date: November 3rd, 2003 03:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Except now everybody agrees it's far too long, and I can't make it any shorter without just taking stuff out, and I don't know what to take out, so now I've got one CV that I know is crap, and one that I can't use because nobody will bother reading past the first page. :-( :-(
bjh21 From: bjh21 Date: November 3rd, 2003 04:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmm. The length didn't bother me, but then the only time I've read CVs in anger it was after shortlisting, so I only had six to look at and more detail was generally good (I think most of them were longer than two pages, incidentally). I suppose the poor fool who has to look at 600 of them would have a different view. I notice, though, that the University Careers Service's CV guidance doesn't say anything much about length.

Actually, your second one does have the nice feature that the first page has most of the important stuff on it, so anyone who doesn't bother reading past the first page will end up with a reasonable impression of whether you're likely to be of any use.

angoel From: angoel Date: November 4th, 2003 01:29 am (UTC) (Link)
I've probably arrived at this CV correction thing a bit late ;), but my 2 pence are that ...

you should probably condense the three Pembroke College jobs into one in which you worked for Pembroke College.

You should move the pianist job into other interests, and turn 'I also play the piano' into 'I have played the piano, accompanying classes at the local ballet school'.

You shouldn't have the split between voluntary and involuntary work (this is a very personal opinion though - please ignore it)

You should condense the work experience placements into one heading.

I suppose I should give some sort of reasoning behind these opinions - at the moment, my first impression on reading it is that it contains everything but the kitchen sink. I think that by reducing the bits which seem repetative, you can probably make the people read the other bits that you do want them to concentrate on, and make them feel that these bits are correspondingly more important.

Beugh. I hate CVs. ;)
emperor From: emperor Date: November 4th, 2003 07:47 am (UTC) (Link)

Hm. much better (I'd have read it last night, but went to bed before you fixed the URL). My only suggestion is if you could somehow lose the fourth page (which only has about 2 lines on it), that'd be a win. Smaller font size? [it's what I did :) ]
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