And there you have it ladies and gentlemen; Christmas has been and gone for another year. Blink and you miss it I find, but I also took it as an opportunity to take a bit of time off from the manic writing and job hunting.
Without going into detail, Christmas this year involved everything you expect a traditional British Christmas to include: from excessive eating and drinking, fun times with friends and family, relaxing time with friends and family, dramas, arguments, tears, crap telly and indigestion. All in all it was spot on where everyone seemed to enjoy the gifts I'd picked out (especially the parents - tickets to see England/Wales at the Six Nations, they better be!) so I had a nice, glowing feeling that my early Christmas shopping paid off. Winner.
Back to the Big Smoke yesterday though and I've thrown myself back into the rat race and searching out jobs or more freelance opportunities. Cast your minds back to before Crimbo and I excitedly blogged about a freelance job I may have bagged for an Urban Gardening site. Well, there's to be a meeting set up in the new year for that and then hopefully it will be all systems go!
Over the holidays I also took advantage of a free CV review service through a job site I'm signed up to. I had a very nice man called Jim ring me up and he basically pointed out that my CV wasn't very good. To be honest I think I'd kind of guessed that due to the lack of interviews I'd been getting, but hearing it out loud has given me a bit of a kick up the arse and today I've spent around four hours rewriting the bastard thing to improve it.
Although I'm a writer (or I like to think I am), penning a CV is the most difficult fucking thing ever. It's one of those too many cooks in the kitchen type of things and there's no right or wrong way of doing it. At least with a feature on foot woes, or sexy games to play with condoms (both of which I've written in the past) you know where you stand. Sadly with CVs it often leads to poor individuals - like myself - going round in circles umming and arhing as to whether things should be put in boxes or not, or whether to detail every little skill you learnt from your last job or not.
Jim said not. To both of those things. And he should know because he's a professional that will try to charge you £200 to rewrite your CV. Daft really, because how can they think people who need to rewrite their CV will be successfully working in a high enough paid job to be able to spare that kind of money on rewriting something?
Anyway, I got told I needed to advertise myself more. Apparently a recruiter will look at your CV for an average of 10 seconds, so you have all of three sentences to hook them in. Pressure many! Simply saying I had 'refreshing and original ideas' wasn't enough in this day and age. Too cliched. The key is to put all your practical skills, training and qualifications in these first three Personal Profile sentences. This site was massively helpful too and if you're trying to piece together your CV for the new year, whether you're a writer or not, there are lots of useful tips about how to cut to the chase and prostitute yourself to within an inch of your life to get that interview.
That, and I think statistics are a good idea. Stats are good because they show evidence of what you've done, changed or achieved. Even if it's saying, 'I managed to double the traffic to the website,' or whatever, it sounds impressive because you've proved how positively your work can pay off. I ripped that one off my boyfriend...
Unfortunately a CV is one of those documents you'll never quite get finished or stop picking away at. If you're out there trying to tweak yours then I feel your pain and only hope this may have helped you out a little bit. I think I've read so many advice sites or opinions on the right or wrong way to write a CV that my head is now swimming. Guess the only proof to see how well the changes have helped will be in the pudding...which is of course a metaphor for interviews in this case!