Thursday, 25 June 2009

What to aim for when you write your CV/Resume

This question came up recently and it's a good one:

What are you aiming for when you write your CV?

Here's one potential answer:

"I'm aiming to write my CV, dummy!"

A fair answer. It's technically correct too but it's also not the whole story. (Perhaps summed up best by the comedian who once said, "Technically correct. The worst kind of correct.")

I have asked this question a lot recently: What are you aiming for when you write your CV? (Although I do avoid asking it at parties. It's a bit of a mood killer)

[Communication - see more at Saundra's Flickr Photostream here]

If we ponder it a little more for the moment, perhaps the most common answer to this question is: "To get myself a job."

Technically correct once again. When you sit down to write your CV or Resume, the reason you do it is to get your next job or because you need a new job.

But here's where you can turn technically correct into the best kind of correct. An answer that is best for you and your career.

What about: "To get myself a job that I want."

We all know the difference between work and the work we enjoy doing. If we're searching anyway, why not look for a job that we want?

So here's one last question if you are writing your CV or Resume right now:

What are you aiming for?

All the best for now,



  1. Great advice Paul! While it probably feels like a luxury to a lot of us now to look and ask for more than a just a job, its really important to aim towards progress for self development instead of the status quo or that job we are 'supposed' to have...appreciate the reminder mate!

  2. Hey Kyle, Thanks for your comment! :)

    Aiming for a job that you want has plenty of other advantages too. You become more motivated to job search, your interest in potential employers is more genuine, people are more interested in what you have to say because you say it with conviction, you learn more about your career from each little event and encounter...

    It doesn't all happen at once of course but it starts and continues to build when we think a little harder about what we are aiming for!

  3. Nice post, Paul! So simple and yet so true. I've had many people come to my blog and say they just need a job...any job. Believe me - I understand that feeling. But when you put your resume and cover letter together, you might as well do it in a way that aims you where you want to go. If you wind up taking less than a dream job, that's fine; we've all been there. But if you at least aim yourself in the right direction, you might actually get there. Aiming in the wrong direction or no direction at all only helps insure you get more experience in the wrong direction! ;-)


  4. Thanks for your comment Ronnie Ann.

    Great to see you back again so soon! :)

    You are 100% right about 'direction of travel' too. Even if we don't get our dream job we move forward in the right direction. A direction we are aiming for!

  5. I think you're on to something (again!), Paul. As a person who reviews a great many CVs every day, I marvel at how backward looking they can be (communicating strictly data about PAST accomplishments) without really communicating what the individual is aiming for. By making this point, you create great value for people. Thanks!

  6. Hi Chris,

    Welcome back!

    You make an excellent point. The future is where we spend all of our time with a prospective employer, so why not talk some more in your CV about where you want your career to go.

    Of course a CV/Resume has to talk about the past but if it helps others to see what we're aiming for too, the outcome only gets better for everyone!

    Thanks again for your comment! :)

    All the best for now,