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Work In Progress: When a CV tells a story
By DANIELLE BERKOWITZ
11/13/2012
A good CV, like a good story, shows that the main character has grown over time.
 
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Storytelling is one of the oldest art forms. Stories create connections between people across time and space. Perhaps what makes Israel such an important place are the stories about it that have come down to us through time. Storytelling is also a powerful tool during the job search. Job seekers must tell themselves a coherent story about where they have been, what they have done and where they are going. The most important tool a job seeker has to tell recruiters that story is the CV.

Although a CV is not written like a conventional story, it must have many of the same components. A CV should have a beginning, middle and an end. It should have a unified theme and  show development over time. Making a CV carefully crafted to speak to the target audience is important. In Israel, recruiters expect to see a targeted career in a narrow field making the unified theme even more important.

Beginning, middle, end


CVs should be written in reverse chronological order. It may be helpful to start at the end and work backwards. An objective statement that speaks to the recruiter, the company and the specific job title should be thought of as the conclusion even though it appears as a single concise sentence at the top of the CV. Each part of the CV should then support this conclusion. At the beginning, under education, include courses, clubs or societies that show interest and involvement in the field or skills relevant to the job description. In the middle, focus on responsibilities and projects that demonstrate experience that correlate between the past job and the target. This is most important for the last job, especially if its titles do not match the title for the job being applied for. 

Unified theme


Allowing the objective statement and the target job to guide the information included in the CV forms a clear and unified theme. That theme should be obvious throughout each piece of the story, education, previous jobs, volunteer work, courses and projects.

For example, a sales position requires not only proven experience selling, but also the ability to create and deliver presentations, the ability to maintain relationships with clients and respond to a client’s needs. A customer relations position clearly demonstrates the ability to respond to client needs and does not need explanation. On the other hand,an account management position may include sales presentations but it is not clear from the job title, therefore it should be explicitly stated as a function of the position. By using the target job to serve as a unifying theme for each part of the story and keeping in mind that a recruiter cannot guess at particular job functions, a CV will make a cohesive statement to its audience. It can also help to make a divergent career path more directed, which is expected by Israeli recruiters.

Development over time

Stories have an arc that tells of change and character development. One indication of character development in a CV is change in job titles. As one progresses in thier career or through a company, job titles often indicate seniority. However, this is not always the case. Another way to show development in a CV is through the number and gravity of responsibilities.

Taking on more tasks or projects, managing group projects or managing a larger team can all indicate maturity. A good CV, like a good story, shows that the main character has grown over time.

By using all of the elements of a good story to write a CV, the job seeker tells a story to the recruiter. This gives the recruiter the opportunity to connect with the job seeker, because people connect through stories. A well told story shows the recruiter that the job seeker is focused, organized, thoughtful and dedicated. Doesn’t that sound like it has a happy ending?

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