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Why you can never get the perfect CV

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 10 Jun 2020

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The idea of getting your CV perfect can linger in your mind and leave you feeling worried about the success of your job search. It’s understandable and this is something many jobseekers spend their time fretting about, however, is the worry really worth it?

All job seekers want to find a job they love, and it’s only natural to be stressed about something you really care about. Perfection is a tough task to set for yourself though, especially when the term ‘perfect’ is subjective. The question in most people’s mind is ‘How do I get the perfect CV?’ but is there even such thing as the perfect CV? The answer to that is simply no, nothing can be perfect. Perfection to one can be seen as rubbish to another.  So, we need to stop pushing ourselves to meet an objective that we honestly cannot achieve.

Why can’t I achieve the perfect CV?

You might have already put in hours of work writing and polishing your CV and you could still feel like there is something missing or something more you can do to make it even better. You might even become slightly possessive over your CV, but you are going to have to send it off eventually!

Your CV is going to be tailored multiple times, usually for different employers. You can use information in the job description and research a company to see what they want in an employee, but you can’t physically ask the person reading it what they want. You have never met the person that will be on the receiving end, reading and ultimately, judging your CV. That person will have biases, opinions and expectations that you simply don’t know about, so what may seem perfect to you, might not be perfect to them. The point here is, you can’t please everyone, but you can try your best to make sure that the reader see’s the skills you have and understands that you have taken the time to tailor it to them. It’s impossible to please everyone, so just create something that you are proud to put your name on.

What happens when you spend too much time on your CV?

Spending too much time on a task can leave you feeling confused and sometimes deflated. If you don’t know what else to add to your CV, then the chances are it’s fine. You don’t want to over work yourself and keep worrying about something that is never going to be just right in your eyes. You can’t please everyone and over-thinking the situation isn’t going to help you get anywhere in your job search. Sometimes, if you stare at something for too long, it can turn into a jumble of letters. If you’re really worried, it might be worth getting a fresh pair of eyes to take a look at it. Get a friend or family member to read over it, give you some feedback and help you feel some peace of mind.

It might be a good idea to have a set amount of time each day to work on your CV. This can involve tailoring it for certain jobs, however, once that set amount of time is over, stop working. There are other things that should have your attention. The success of your job search doesn’t just depend on your CV, it also relies on your ability to research and prepare. You want to be ready for the next step in the application process.

What counts as tailoring my CV?

Tailoring your CV can be an important part of your job search. You should be taking the time to alter sections to fit around the job description. You want to make sure that you are showcasing your skills that are best for the job, so taking out anything that seems irrelevant to a specific role is the smart thing to do. Taking time to read over your CV before you send it is also okay, you can check for grammatical errors and make sure that your contact details are correct. But this shouldn’t take long.

Tailoring your CV is different to constantly trying to adjust it and make it just right. You can read more about tailoring your CV here.

We put too much pressure on ourselves when it comes to our CV. It’s the first thing that employers see and if it doesn’t interest them, then unfortunately that’s the end of the line for that opportunity. That’s the important thing to take away from this, it’s only the end for THAT opportunity. There are other jobs and other people that will find interest in your CV. You need to have faith in your skills and abilities and not what other people may think of your CV. It can just be bad luck sometimes, they might have read hundreds of CV’s that day, they might think your personal statement was boring or they only had time to skim over the whole document. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t work hard preparing your CV, but you shouldn’t stress over things that can’t change. It is too much pressure to put in hours of work to make sure you impress that one person. Especially when perfection is in the eyes of the beholder.