Deja CV...The Feeling That You Have Been Here Before

By David Smith

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Seeing Double….?

Having reviewed a GREAT number of CVs in my time [if you are a recruiter reading this, you may well share my pain,] I often get the distinct feeling that I have read this CV before, certain words, phrases and other terminology that keeps cropping up  in CVs.

A phenomenon known in the trade [well it should be] as Deja CV, a feeling which causes the reader to stop in his or her tracks, scratch his or her head and then dismiss this feeling as ‘probably a lack of sleep…’

What contributes to this?

I must not use the same words….I must not use the same words….I must not use the same words...

There are lots of reasons why this occurs; here are a few to bear in mind, and also, how to address this if you feel that your CV is giving recruiters a sense of having been here before.

Clichés:  From one ‘Hard Working Team Player’ to another.  I get a little bit disappointed when I keep reading these ‘off-the-peg,’ and quite frankly, meaningless phrases.  They lost any originality circa 1987.  Actually, these tired old space-fillers can be superfluous unless you back them up with examples within your CV.

Repetition:  This is quite a toughy!  If you have been doing the same job for a number of years, it is really hard to keep your syntax varied and not to keep using the same descriptive words and such like.  Especially is this true of someone who is a Contractor – perhaps moving once, twice or more in a year.  This brings to mind a job I did for a Contract Welder… brace yourself – 31 pages!  Lots of repetition, due to the fact that he had moved around…a lot!  Purely the nature of his work.  Getting around this is not just a case of reaching for the Thesaurus, otherwise your CV could move from being less Deja and more Roget!  A skills-based document may be the way to go.

Templates:  There are some fantastic online resources, with excellent suggestions for content and layout - even some with suggestions of the wording you can use.  Sounds good!? If you decide to use this avenue, you may not be alone.  All it takes is for a handful of applicants to use the same template [a definite possibility in the current climate] and the recruiter could start seeing a pattern, which is why you should [if possible] always have a bespoke document, tailored to the vacancy you are applying for.

Applying for multiple jobs with the same recruiter…using the same CV:  I have only one thing to say about whether or not you should be doing this.  Don’t, just don’t!

If you are not having the success or responses you would like to see from your CV.  Try reading it through again in the light of this advice.  If you are a bit short of time, feel free to send your CV to me for a free appraisal.

As ususal, I really appreciate any feedback - you will find me on Twitter @Careervisa

Image: Grant Rambojun

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