Ambiguity in CVs – is it helping?

Everyone at Big Cloud took a psychometric test recently.

For the first time, I agreed with the feedback it produced. In summary, I like to work in a team environment, that is less rule-bound, where I can feel free to suggest innovations and where I’m able to think quickly and strategically. No surprises, Big Cloud and recruitment suit me well. I struggle to work alone, I don’t (so easily) follow all of the rules, I’m impatient and can be too assertive with people that like to take their time and work methodically. Turns out I have to have an equal amount of bad points to keep equilibrium and prevent the universe from tearing apart.

I then read a candidate CV after lunch. She started (as many people do) by stating that she ‘thrives in a team environment’ but ‘also works well alone’. This got me thinking. My psychometric test would lead me to write ‘I love working in a team, I’m less inclined to work alone for long periods’. Maybe the candidate was telling the truth. The likely scenario is that the candidate felt obliged to address something with enough vagueness that it would appeal to more readers.

So, this got me thinking even more. There are lots of statements on CV’s that are ambiguous. Many people don’t want to define themselves enough that it may rule them out of some opportunities.

My advice is to stop doing this. The logic is that you want to have the chance to hear about more opportunities so that you can decide to pursue them or not. In reality, you’re wasting time. If you can consciously write a very straight-forward ‘About Me’ section, you will be approached for more things that actually have the potential to suit you. A good CV answers questions, it doesn’t force the reader to ask them.

I’d recommend taking a psychometric test if you can. Maybe you could dig out an old one you did in the past. If not, sit down with someone that will be honest and go through your traits. Write down your likes and dislikes (that relate to work, not all situations in life!). Profile yourself honestly and put it at the top of your CV. More importantly still, make sure you think about this in your interviews.

I believe your future interactions with HR, recruiters and hiring managers will be more rewarding. I believe you’ll get jobs that suit you better. Maybe you’ll never move to another job, but I still believe that this exercise will help you to understand what you love about your current role, like me with Big Cloud.



Jack Cartlidge, Senior Consultant



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