Ahh, the Curriculum Vitae. The most reviled and painstaking 400 words in every student’s existence. Unless you belong to the entrepreneurial elite, the CV is a formality which must be followed by all those who like to eat. Loosely translated as ‘the course of life’, it seems odd that the document should be so contradictory to this description. When you imagine your life flashing before your eyes, you envision a moving tribute; an epic chronology that encompasses all the highs and lows from your first steps to your deathbed. Your course of life is not denoted by exam results, contact details and other statistics; and if it is, you are a robot.
So, why do we loathe the simple idea of glamorising our lives on paper? College demands a multitude of assignments with ungodly word counts on a weekly basis, so surely we should churn out a measly two pages with ease? No. Because this time, it’s personal. And we have no bloody clue what makes us a desirable candidate. Certain queries spring to mind: Does babysitting my little sister count as work experience? If I use Comic Sans font, will they think I am a clown? One must also learn the secret of savvy editing. For example, volunteering and general social outreach is positive, but when you resort to the Trocaire 24-hour fast you did in 2007, things start to look pretty dire.
I think the reason many of us despise the Big Sell is our innate Irishness. We are hindered by our awkward nature that prevents us from getting too big for our boots. Growing up, we did everything to avoid the cardinal sin of ‘showing off’, which gradually manifested into a sense of humility, shyness and finally, sheer embarrassment. It goes hand in hand with the inability to accept compliments. “That’s a nice top.” “Arrah shtop come here go away sure it’s only Penneys”. Likewise, we simply cannot bear to brag or even stretch the truth a little. While others may choose to sugar-coat a menial summer job as an independent money-making venture, we resort to listing individual Leaving Certificate subjects as accolades. And truthfully at that, because we live in fear of a white lie being exposed. What if an interviewer were to spring a random French aural exam on us? THE SHAME.
The harsh reality, however, is that your masterpiece might never meet the eyes of Bill Cullen. Furthermore, urban legend warns us of the employer that once took a bunch of CVs, threw half in the bin and exclaimed that he would not hire an unlucky person. So the important thing to remember is not to agonise too much over the finished product. Chances are it will never be read anyway. On that note, think twice before you embark on a career in journalism.
Oh, and do not attempt to exceed two pages. Ain’t nobody got time for that.