Few weeks back, a family friend visited my home. While having a chat, he asked me about the orientation of bookshelves on the wall which are placed in diagonal, “Don’t you think it would be better if you put them next to each other?” I responded, “Yeah, may be, but I have more serious issues to have a fight with my wife.”
“As my wife takes care of home chores and our lovely baby, she spends almost all of her time at home and therefore, I believe that her choices should be given more weight than mine when it comes to home décor. After all, there is nothing right and wrong about orientation of bookshelves; it’s subjective.” I explained to him.
I see a lot of people in pursuit of perfection and excellence but they fail to understand that everything in this world is not absolute. Rather, most of the stuff is subjective and that includes, but not limited to, CV.
“10-tips to have a wonderful CV”, “5-Do’s for a sure shot successful interview”, etc.; you may have seen these eye-catching phrases on social media where people posing as gurus suggest you things that, according to them, will work for sure. As I have been in communication with recently graduated engineers, “how to make a wonderful CV?” is the question they come up with. They want to have an absolute answer as if there is a silver bullet solution to this question. An off-the-shelf response that will guarantee them a place in organization they want to work with.
The answer to this question is quite simple. No, there is no way to make a wonderful CV because when it comes to subjective matters; it’s unfair to expect absolute solutions. Of course, it must be free from grammatical errors, punctuation blunders and formatting mistakes as that part of it as absolute but should you keep it black and white or color? Should I have a smiling face or neutral expressions? Even, should I put a picture or not?
I have been on both sides of the interview table during my 10-year job career. I have switched 4 jobs and worked in different parts of the world. That too, with the teams comprising of various nationalities. This experience of diversified work cultures and peoples’ collective preferences has made me realize that embracing subjectivity is better approach than looking for perfect answers. To put it in simple words, response to your CV totally depends upon who is looking at it. For someone, a picture with smiling face transmits positive vibes whereas for others, it’s unprofessional. I don’t like CV with funky colors but may be a girl in my position would love it. The tricky part is; you have neither any idea nor any control about who is skimming through your CV.
So, I divide the CV development into two separate parts. One, I call the absolute part which contains your date of birth, contact details, relevant job experience, professional certifications, etc. You must not make any mistake with all these details for obvious reasons. The other part, I call it, the subjective part which consists of the format to be used, mentioning interests or not, putting up objective, etc. For this, there is no right or wrong. You need to do it as it seems fit. You can’t come up with a format that pleases everybody in as multicultural and diverse job market as we have today. So, don’t try to rush for absolute answers and try to embrace subjectivity. It will help you keep your nerves calm when your CV is rejected and will also keep you humble if it’s selected.
Even, this article is subjective. Some of you may like it and others won’t.
Abdullah Ansari | An electrical engineer by profession, Abdullah works in the oil and gas industry. His interests include international relations, global politics and debating. He tweets @AjebSceneHaBhai (twitter.com/ajebscenehabhai)