Things you (wish you) could put on your CV
by Robyn Kirk
I turned 24 this year. I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid, I imagined at this point in my life I’d be married with children, know how to change a car tire and have all the mysteries of life solved.
Life hasn’t quite reached that point for me just yet.
I haven’t been able to keep a fish alive so far, much less another human being. I’ve found out that cars are scary, expensive death machines that I have a tendency to cause extensive damage to (sorry mom and dad, that wall really did just jump out in front of me). And while I do spend time pondering the great mysteries of life, the universe and everything, I’d be much prouder of myself if I could first solve the mystery of how to successfully wear matching socks day after day after day.
I guess growing up is a process, something that happens step by step between all the mistakes.
For me, the next big scary step is finding a job – my honours degree is 7 months down, aforementioned mom and dad have taken care of me for ages (and may sell me on the internet if I keep asking for money), and I want to be able to say “I’m a journalist” instead of “I write for the student paper between lectures.”
The first step to getting a job? Well, technically that would be looking at the current job market, bursting into tears, and drinking your sorrows over the hopelessness of it all…
So the second step? Polishing up a good ol’ Curriculum Vitae, so that potential employers can decide if it’s you they’re looking for (helpful note: attaching a CD that plays Lionel Richie’s ‘Hello, Is It Me You’re Looking For?’ does not, contrary to perfectly solid logic, actually help sway them in this).
“Dear Miss Kirk. Thank you for your interest in our available position. However, if you stand outside our offices with speakers playing this song on repeat for another 24 hours, we will be forced to contact the authorities. Please consider your application unsuccessful.”
Writing a CV to me is like trying to win a beauty pageant – you mention the things you think people want to hear (“My wish for the future is world peace!”) and leave out the things that may cause problems (“My wish for the next few minutes is one more line of cocaine!”) or might not be relevant or helpful to the situation (“My wish for tomorrow is that I can be a contestant in another, better beauty pageant!”).
In a CV you need to sell yourself, convince some complete stranger that you’re the perfect person for the position, and show that you have all the qualifications and know-how to kick that specific job in the nads.
This means that what gets included needs to be carefully monitored and censored. You can’t list all your great achievements and skills, but only the ones that look good and will help get this job.
The downside, of course, is that the really awesome stuff you can do just isn’t mentioned. I’d love to put under my ‘special skills’ section the fact that I am a master at finding things in grocery cupboards.
There’s a whole list of things us privileged kids learnt to do at university that we would categorically deny evening knowing about to our folks: the girl I know who lists her greatest skills as “giving head and funnelling and torpedoing drinks.” Another can hand-roll a cigarette in under 10 seconds, or the guy who claims to stack the best bong ever. All useful at parties, but not something you’d want in your account.
Then there are the talents that are awesome, but completely irrelevant.
The contract lawyer who wears a suit to work every day (and probably has never experienced my crisis of the orphaned socks), who has created and illustrated an entire series of superhero comics.
The bee handler who can sink 7 pool balls in a row and then successfully pot the black any day of the week – drunk or sober.
The journalist who was probably a clown in a past life – she can make balloon animals, paint faces and lead a group of delighted 4-year-olds though the sing-along adventure (heavily featuring the Frozen soundtrack) of their lives.
Or one of the most mature, composed people I know – who, after enough alcohol, can do THIS:
She calls it the Dutty Wine. I call it the reason I’ll be buying her drinks for the rest of the year.
Thank you random Youtube ladies for being the physical representation of a legend I heard about.
And finally, there are the skills that are about as useful as a blonde in a horror movie. Not something someone would pay you for, not even something that impressive to an outsider, but things that you just feel good about being able to do.
Imitating foreign accents perfectly, or a master of the evenly-sliced onion. The dedication and stamina to watch four years’ worth of a series in a week. The creator of some of the best playlists ever heard. And not to forget the angry guy I know who has such a mean right hook that he once felled a tree with one punch (I can’t forget him, in case he comes after me).
I propose a new movement: that we not rest until it becomes professionally acceptable to include an ‘awesome skills’ section in our CVs, where we can list all these fantastic and interesting aspects of who we are.
Let those perfect, A-graded over-achievers we all knew in high school stutter out “uh… um… I once went to a party and only left at 9:30pm!” in this part of the application, while the rest of us get the chance to shine.
WARNING: all talents described in this article are factual.