How To Write A Great CV or Résumé
Courtesy of www.hark.net.au - guidance and direction
Section 3 - Hidden Messages
What are you saying about yourself by the way that you say it?
The way that you express yourself is actually sending a subliminal message along with any factual information.
I am not talking about body language or the tone of your voice - although that is one way that you send hidden messages. However, your choice of words and the way that you construct your written documents also says a great deal more about you than you may think. Whether you are writing a CV, a Résumé or letter of introduction - how you describe your capabilities is also telling a potential employer about your character and personality.
For instance, if you describe yourself as someone who takes the trouble to get things right, but then present your job application in a disorganised or sloppy manner- which will be believed? - your actions or your words?
Or, perhaps you are portraying yourself as someone with an assertive and direct manner and who would be capable of a supervisory role. If your words are full of excuses or criticisms about what you had to work with, then you aren't demonstrating that you readily accept responsibility. Rather, that you are more likely to look to someone else to resolve your problems or pass the buck on to.
There are also some things that are better left untold - anything which is derogatory to someone else or anything that indicates any form of bad relationship with anybody, no matter who was to blame. You might be a totally innocent party to someone else's misdeeds, but there will be a connection made between you and something which is a negative characteristic. You do not want to portray any possibility that "you don't get on with people", or that you are a "victim" in any way. These are negative impressions and will not enhance your employment prospects.
No matter how good you are at a particular job, employers like people who get on well with others, because they are less likely to have "employee issues" to deal with.
It is important to ensure that you only send positive messages, that reinforce what you are saying about your strengths and your capabilities.
Every sentence you write in your job application can be increased in value towards making the right impression.
You can simply state a fact or you can make the sentence work harder for you and add your personality and work values to it. The point being that you can also give a positive impression of you as a person, employee or colleague as well as the mere facts that you have qualifications and experience in a particular field.
Compare these 2 statements:
The first statement may be factual, but there is no indication of what your work ethic is - did you drag yourself in reluctantly for your shift, avoided work as much as possible and couldn't wait for the end of the day in order to "escape"? Or were you a willing worker that got on well with colleagues and customers and learned and grew on the job?
The second statement, however, says much more about your attitudes and abilities - the impression it gives is that you:
Which job applicant has already set some preferences in their favour, in the mind of the person reading their application? It may be the smallest difference, but one which might mean that your application goes through to the next round in preference to the other.
Let's look at the statements in more detail and understand the hidden messages in each component.
You can see just how much more you can get out of a couple of sentences by "value adding" with appropriate key words that represent positive characteristics or value systems.
It is similar in approach to that used by advertising, where certain concepts and values in the viewer are invoked as they read. The reviewer makes a sub-conscious connection between what is fact and what is their own judgement and comes to a conclusion which is more than the sum of the parts that you have written down.
Be careful, however, that when you are value adding your own CV or Résumé, that the end result doesn't look or sound like an advert or marketing campaign. You should aim to get your message across in a natural way and avoid anything that seems false or contrived.
Get out your latest CV or Résumé and read how you have described yourself and the jobs that you have done.
See how you can re-phrase each description, each job activity in a way that sends positive messages about your abilities. See if you can "value add" your own words.
This is a good exercise to do in pairs, especially with someone who doesn't know you very well. After you have re-written a section, get the other person to read it and tell you their first impression.