“Please can you look at my CV?” is the phrase that careers consultants hear the most, and if we aren’t careful we’ll think “Oh no, not that again” – but it’s worth considering why it’s the most prevalent question.
It could be that that’s the only thing our clients think we do – it’s not, so maybe we need to work harder on messaging.
I think that’s not the main reason though – I think that the CV is the easy focus of attention, or the safe way to broach a wider discussion, or even a procrastination – it is the line of least resistance that at least feels like we are doing something.
I’ll explain: a CV isn’t just a recruitment document, it’s the story of our professional lives so far, so it’s the fulcrum of so many questions, such as: –
“How do I make sense of that story?”
“What does it tell me about what I should do next?”
“How will others view it?”
“What is my personal brand, my elevator pitch?”
“How can I express myself in writing?”
“It’s a necessary document, so I might as well start there hadn’t I?”
This is all a blessing for the careers consultant, because the CV initiates a conversation, which can lead to deeper considerations. Without the CV those conversations might never happen, and working on the CV can be the focal point of our progress towards resolving those deeper considerations.
The trick though is to maintain a focus away from using the CV where possible, because, for many, CVs are inextricably linked to applications for advertised vacancies, and firing off applications for advertised vacancies is often the worst possible way to approach a job search. Why? That’s a topic for another day.