I’ll start by apologising for the slightly misleading title. I should probably add, ‘it’s not what you think’ in parentheses, but there is still some truth in the title.
I’ve recently been made redundant. Despite that classic response of self-pity, there is comfort in knowing I’m not the only one. There are around two and a half million people out of work in the UK and a few of you are probably part of that figure too.
At the top of my to-do list is finding a job. Just below that, apart from ‘make a new to-do list’ (a daily but thinly veiled attempt at order in my life), is to dust off the old CV and inject some life into my job applications.
So here’s the conundrum. How can we, the unemployed, sell ourselves through a CV while maintaining integrity? The obvious answer is to be honest. But in reality, when it comes to self-evaluation, honesty can be a grey area. This is especially the case for those of us early on in our careers with little experience and even less opportunity to break into the ever elusive field of our choice.
There’s always the temptation to get creative, to jazz up the CV. My earlier drafts for copywriting positions may or may not have included phrases such as razor-sharp wordsmith and instigator of eye-popping, awe-inspiring copy. Besides the obvious problem of sounding like a wrestler, other issues start arising. It’s easy to be misleading or economical with the truth (see title of post). We begin to blur the line between truth and wishful thinking, especially when it comes to past roles and experience.
Although I’m yet to find a biblical verse that addresses writing CVs, I’ve found plenty on integrity. Philippians 4:8 says: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
It’s unlikely Paul specifically had job applications in mind when writing this. Even so, it’s a pretty good check-list for writing CVs. I don’t really have a concrete answer for maintaining integrity in job applications. However, if an application is true, honourable, just, and any of the other qualities listed above, then it’s definitely headed in the right direction.