Why, according to Oscar Wilde, you probably won’t be successful in writing your own CV

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009 - CV Writing, Employment, Job Application, Professional CV, tutorial


Oscar Wilde and CV Writing


A quick way I enjoy learning long term lessons in life is that of reading quotations. Quotes for me mean that I can quickly get a glimpse of a life lesson from someone with an experienced perspective, who as often they are admired by both their peers of the time, as well as scholars and the general public now, I know that the tests of time have shown this to be good advice.

One of my top three favourite quotes – and appropriate for St Patrick’s day, as it involves two Irish men – comes from a social meeting between playwright George Bernard Shaw, the then Prince of Wales, and playwright Oscar Wilde.

Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw

While at a party in London, George Bernard Shaw and the Prince of Wales stood talking. Into the room in a rush comes Oscar Wilde, who swiftly passes the pair.

“Come and join the join Prince of Wales Wilde and I in conversation, Wilde” says George Bernard Shaw.

“Sorry” says Wilde continuing on his fast walk unabated, “I’m far too busy and there are already far, far too many people in the conversation.”

Perplexed by the answer, and the social rejection of a British citizen to the heir apparent, Shaw says “Oscar, what do you mean?”

Wilde stops in his steps, turns to the pair, and says:

“Well, there’s the you you think you are, the you he thinks you are, and the actual you.

Multiplied by two is six people, and that’s far, far too many for a decent conversation.”

Wilde and CV Writing

The most difficult thing to achieve with regards yourself and your own career when compiling your own CV, is to take an independent perspective. Add to this the changed employment scene since you last looked for a job, and the difficulty is multiplied.

If you could look at a job advert through the employers eyes, you would soon see whether you had the functional skills required, rather than trying to over sell in the CV you assembled over the past week, from a template you download off of the internet. You may also miss skills that the job asks for that you may have forgotten that you have.

Much as though you should always own your own CV, it is hence often easier and quicker for someone with an independent perspective to review your skills against the job advert, and create a better chance of you getting interviewed with the CV they create. Add in the fact they are a professional, know some additional tactics to give you and even better chance to get that dream job, and – you won’t have to rely on finding a four leaf clover!

Happy St Patrick’s day, and Good Luck!

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