It’s all about knowing your audience.
There are a lot of stereotypes out there but be very cautious about including things on your CV that would only interest a few people and might put more off.
You may find a few people out there who fit the stereotype but are they the people recruiting and more importantly are they the people shortlisting?
Warning stereotype alert….
You know that Bob in IT is the biggest Tolkein fan and is a fluent Elvish speaker, it might amuse him to see your proficiency in Elvish on your CV. BUT…
What if Bob’s PA is shortlisting for him? Has Bob listed Elivish in his criteria or was he actually looking for someone fluent in Linux and C+. Bob’s PA sees your passion for Klingon and thinks you are not taking the job seriously!
If the job is working for Games Workshop and they want a Tolkein blogger to promote a new Lord of the Rings based game, then perhaps this skill would be a great addition and would definitely show your passion and understanding of the genre! (as long as you have the other skills!)
Read the job description!
Many jobs will specify clearly what they are looking for, listing desirable and essential skills, attributes and knowledge. These jobs are the holy grail when it comes to making applications. You can’t go too far wrong, it’s all spelt out for you.
On the other had there are some jobs where it is left you your imagination what they might be looking for. What they expect is that you will do your research and have an understanding of the role and the sector. Your will make your own list of criteria and your application will be based on a sound understanding of what is required for the job.
I don’t know what they are looking for?
I’d be a bit worried about applying for a job where I didn’t have a clue what they wanted. If it sounded interesting though I’d start doing some research…
- Is there a website that explains what that role involves? Try the prospects website it has job descriptions for hundreds of jobs and lists both typical work activities, entry requirements and skills.
- Can I find similar jobs with other companies where they do give a full job description. Check vacancy sources for this profession, company websites, vacancy sites, journals, newspapers etc
- Is there a person listed on the vacancy for informal enquiries? If there is ring them and ask a few questions. You will be saving yourself and them a lot of time if you are not suitable. And if you are suitable it shows initiative and you will be remembered as one of the few who bothered to ring up.
- Do I know anyone who does this? Use your networks, ask friends, family, mentors , someone usually knows somebody who works in…
So now you have a list of the requirements for the job. Make sure you give strong evidence on your CV for the required skills and don’t waste space talking about skills that are not remotely relevant.
But shouldn’t they see my personality in my CV?
The CV should be a statement of facts. The way you write about them may allow some of your personality to leak out but be carefull. Keep it businesslike – if they think the skills and experience you have fit their profile they will have a chance to meet you at interview.
Activities and interests certainly say something about you and can be useful to demonstrate skills you have developed outside employment and study. But be sensible you don’t need to list ALL the activities you enjoy, think about what the person reading it might think, they may stereotype you !
Keep the focus on the skills you gained and if by chance you do meet someone with similar interests that’s a bonus.