CV Writing: worst ever?

Monday, March 22nd, 2010 - Blog, CV Writing, CV Writing Service

CV Writing: worst ever?

Worst Latte Art Etching Ever

As a Recruiter and Professional CV Writer, I am often asked what is the worst CV you have ever seen?

I think before answering this question, as anyone who approaches me with the need for CV Help clearly recognises that it is bad, and hence they ask for help. Hence some of the technically “worst” I have ever seen can not be publicly disclosed, as the owning job seeker recognise that it wasn’t working, and hence found some help from us.

However, the following examples all come form my day job of being a recruiter. These people either didn’t recognise how bad their CV was, or just didn’t care. In either case, they failed to get our advertised job, and probably many more afterwards!

CV Writing: measurement

Which brings me to the main point of this post: measure your job search success, or lack of it. Whether you decide to write your own CV or seek the help of a professional, the key to success is measurement.

The key tipping point measure for me when chatting to job seekers is that of job application to telephone interview ratio:

  • If its less than 1 in 20, then there is a clear problem and hence cure
  • If its better than 1 in 5, then there is probably not a lot I or any other Professional CV Writer can help you with
  • In between, and its either structural or tactical.

But if you do not measure your job search success, then expect to end up in the pile of “thank you for your application,” or in the Worst CV history books.

Worst Ever CV?

Graham, a job search coach, asks: As a hiring manager or recruiter, what was the worst CV that you ever laid eyes on and why? The worst I have ever seen and this was years ago, was hand written in pencil. Through shear pity, I was compelled to read on. It was pitiful, needless to say, but it for some reason humbled me and I felt momentarily compassionate for this person who seemed to be trying. I know you are asking, “did you hire this person”…no of course not, I didn’t. But it was certainly an unforgettable CV.

In answer:
I’ve seen the pencil one – and yes they are humbling.

A friend had a copycat, who copied his (ie: the hiring manager’s) career history and achievements.They had worked together at a previous company, and this job applicant had simply “copied” the hiring manager’s CV! My friend thought about calling him, but in the end wrote a quick note to HR to ask them to deal, and in return himself stole the best of the phrases from his reworked CV.

But the best as I would consider worst was from a lady. I knew it was bad because a researcher started laughing, and just couldn’t stop laughing. She beckoned me over with a red face, still laughing, and handed me the CV.

Line3 was the answer. It took us about 15mins before we read past line3, and her skills were excellent, but on line3 was her eMail address. I won’t detail what her email address was, but lets they say she must have thought of sex constantly with more than one person!

Some times, things which you may place in a draft CV, you miss when they are placed in the final version. Always have it read through by at least three people, or use a CV review service.

Good Luck!


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