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Resumé writing – BOFH style

CV or not CV? That is the question...

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Security for virtualized datacentres

Episode 19 BOFH 2003: Episode 19

"Uh, hello..." one of the helldesk wannabes burbles as he advances cautiously into Mission Control.

"Mmmm," the PFY answers calmly.

"I was just wondering if you guys could give me some pointers for my CV."

"?"

"Oh, right! I'm applying for a technical role and just wanted some tips on how to put my resumé together to give me a better chance at getting the job!"

"I see," I respond, leaping into the conversation once I sense blood in the water... "Well, lets see... How to make your CV the one they look at..."

"Well, there's the obvious things..." the PFY chips in.

"Yes?" the wannabe asks eagerly.

"Well a lot of CVs suffer from being far too short. What can you learn about someone in two or three pages? I mean there's barely enough room to list all your primary school grades, let alone the rest of your qualifications?"

"Primary school grades? Really?"

"Oh yes, I don't know how many times I've seen them left out of a CV. You see you can tell a lot about a person's character by how well they did in primary school, which subjects and what scores. I mean people cram their CV with tertiary qualifications when every real employer knows those scores are only there to get a job.

"I prefer that the person leaves out any history of tertiary education," the PFY adds.

"Really, because this book I have about writing the best resumé says that--"

"That would be a book written by a person NOT in a technical role? Written to make money out of people wanting technical roles?"

"I..."

"As opposed to a couple of people who've employed countless people in technical roles?"

"Yes, I suppose you're right."

"So anyway, another obvious thing is you want your CV to stand out from the others."

"Yes!"

"So print it on pink paper."

"PINK?"

"Yes - it won't get lost and it will stand out from the others."

"But isn't pink a little... well... effeminate?"

"NOT if you mention 'Shagging a different bird every night' in your Hobbies and Interests," I counter.

"Shagging a different bird every night?"

"Yes, you're right, KNOBBING a different bird every night."

"Really? Isn't that a bit non-PC?"

"Yep, but you're after a technical role now, which is predominantly male dominated, so you want to appear to be one of the lads."

"Oh, I see. What else?"

"Well you'd better put down drinking as a hobby too."

"Right, anything else?"

"Well," the PFY says, "one thing I do like to see on a CV is a photo - and not one of those tiny passport jobbies, I mean a real photo, full page. There was one on a CV recently which was absolutely inspired."

"Really?"

"Yeah, the guy was a long distance runner and so he had a full page photo of him in running gear crossing the finish line in a race. You play sport?"

"No."

"Good answer - you're after a technical role after all. Which reminds me, put down 'watching TV' as a hobby too - employers like to know that they'll find their employees at home if they have to be called out after hours.

"Got any hobbies?"

"No... I used to play D&D when I was a kid..."

"Bloody fantastic. Put it in as a hobby, and have a photo of you in D&D gear as the cover page. A wizard or something."

"Really? I thought just a normal photo of me in a suit..."

"Which they'll see you in at interview time. You're trying to establish a character that people will remember - right?"

"Right!"

"How far did you get with D&D?"

"I was a 17th level Mage with a +10 Wand of Lightning!" he blurts, unable to suppress the pride.

"Right - list that in your acheivements. Oh, and put a 'Bronze lifesaving award' in too."

"Won't they check?"

"How? Anyway, if it ever came down to it, a bronze lifesaving award only means you're skilled enought to rescue someone from a handbasin, so it won't matter."

"But what if they find out?"

"No one ever checks qualifications! So while you're at it slap in some fake certifications - like MCSE, MCSA, CCNA, etc - no one really knows what they mean. If you're asked at the interview just say you didn't bring the certificates because they're framed."

"Uh-huh."

"Oh, and best to keep it informal too. So in the covering letter, don't be using things like 'Dear Sir' and 'Yours Sincerely'."

"No?"

"No! Use things like 'H3y Dud3z!!!!!' and 'LaT3R l33tR!'"

"Oh. OK."

"Well, I think that should think cover it."

"You missed out criminal record," the PFY adds.

"Oh, right. Put in something like 'breaking and entering' or 'theft as a servant' a couple of years back."

"WHY?!?!" the wannabe gasps.

"Look," the PFY says quietly, glancing around in case we're being listened to. "Occasionally, technical roles call for a little bit of the old thud and blunder - say you need to check out a user's workstation off the record - or maybe they'll want you to wander over to competitors site and uplift some information - at night. They want someone who isn't a career criminal, but who does know how to handle the black-ops, so to speak."

"Riiiight," he burbles, seeing himself as the James Bond of the technical world. "Thanks, I'll get right onto it!"

... Three days later ....

"Morning," the Boss burbles, trundling into the office with benevolence on full beam. "I've just managed to fill that technical role in R&D, and I believe you two were instrumental in helping him with that fantastic CV of his..."

Sigh.

I think I'd like to be killed now please... ®

BOFH is copyright © 1995-2003, Simon Travaglia. Don't mess with his rights.

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