December 11, 2011
The very first time I heard an entity called 'CV' was in the year 2005 when I got to know that a couple of companies were coming for recruitment to our campus. I was in the 5th semester and a well known coastal software company visited our college and hired 4 students. I wasnít among the 4. I was ousted in the last round. From that moment, CV and I have undergone a lot of changes, matured, faltered, and evolved. This small article would shed some light about CVís and its evolution along with mine.
I have no idea how the term Curriculum Vitae was termed and why do we call it the 'Resume'. Maybe it is a nickname given, so that it is easier to pronounce. Digging a bit deeper, I got to know that curriculum and vitae have their ancestors in Italy. Curriculum means course and vita means life. So by the words, we can guess it is the life of the person in terms of academic and professional activities. No one knows the birth year of this word, whether it is in BC or AD, no one knows who coined it- Americans or the Europeans. My first thoughts were that it was Indians who coined the term Curriculum Vitae, but then I wasnít able to find any Sanskrit roots for the word. I pride myself on knowing Sanskrit and it is listed as one of the languages known in my CV. I do not want the skill of writing Sanskrit exams in Kannada for three years in high school go hidden.
But do not be surprised if after some years the world will realize that it was in the mid fifteenth century, a young Indian called Chandra Vikas first used a letter to get a job in East India Company. This letter became famous and now is called CV named after its originators initials. A load of crap. I agree.
Anyway, back to my maturity, -Immediately after the 5 th semester, there came the 6 th semester and again there was a wide spread deliberate information leak around the college that there are at least 15 companies visiting and people with good CVís will be recruited. I was amazed that this small 2 page letter has so much importance and carried so much weight in securing a job. The job of doing a CV was outsourced to my cousin in Mumbai during one of my visits to the city of dreams. 'Donít worry Anil, You will get a job' said my cousin who himself had landed in a top MNC that year. 'But Bro, I donít know Java' I said looking at my new skill set. 'They will be impressed dude. Donít you worry'. Indeed I got a job, without any difficulty and also without knowing Java J
Anyways, this was in year 2006. My CV was 2 pages long and only a few lines were relevant and true. Today, in 2011, my CV is 4 page long, full of relevant and hard work, but not good enough to land up on job. What irony?
If I thought the pain of preparing a CV is now over, I was wrong, the very first things we had to make in our training programme was Ė Yes, you guessed it right a 'CV'. The only difference was now we had a format. People like me could no longer be creative. We had to stick to rules and adhere to fonts, size and even color. If God granted me enough guts, I would type just one sentence in my CV -'I can do any thing. If you donít believe me, give me a chance and see for yourself'. But I had to convey the same bottom-line in a very professional way.
Within the company I had 3 CVís. One which outlined my projects- complete details. Even I was shocked when I reviewed it. 'Oh my God. Did I really do all these things?' The other one was a one pager which said I am a super cool guy who could handle anything. I must say this was by far the best CV of mine. The third was a kind of recommendation to one manager to another which conveyed only one thing - Whatever technology you are working on, this guy does not know a thing about it, but he is a quick learner. Train him and make him work his arse off. I worked for three years and resigned for higher studies , a bane or a boon I donít know, but I am sure if I was still working my CV would have been longer and would convey only one thing ' Boss , I know my Stuff, You cannot find anyone better to do this job'.
One of the foremost questions when it comes to CVís is the length of the CV. In our Career Services, I was told that the ideal CV should be 2 pages long. The reasoning behind this was the employer will not have so much time to read a football field length CV. The first 20 seconds should drive the point. Moreover it will demonstrate ones ability to collate and sum up achievements in two pages. As a trained Indian student, I had the ability to elongate things and add masala to my answers and now I had to redo all my training. I had a CV which was 2 and half pages and I spent 2 and half days deciding on what to cut and what to keep. Frustrated, I finally decided to reduce the font size from 12 to 11 and change the font from Times Roman to Arial. Abracadabra. My CV was now only 2 pages and a few lines. I decided to cut out the references and typed 'Available on request'. My CV was now screenable. I was happy.
After a few interviews, in an HR review, I got a strange comment 'For a person with 4 years experience, I say your CV is a bit too brief'. I did not know what to say or do. The HR executive must thank god as I was on the other side of the telephone line. If not there would have been a paper weight sized hole just below his right eye.
Now I knew CV and its length depends on the employer. Personal experience has taught a few lessons on CV writing and I believe I can screen CVs better than that damn software which most of the recruitment agencies use. My CV has evolved from a 2 page CV to a 4 page Curriculum Vitae traversing different beliefs and styles From UK to US to Indian and from technical to fake to relevant, I believe it will remain the same for the time being as I have run out of steam to do it all over again. If anyone wants to have a look at it, please feel free to ask me. It is beautiful. J
Well, sometime things work out even without Chandra Vikasís invention. An interview in Costa coffee and joining date the next day. Well, might be a little too far fetched, but I am waiting for this to happen.
Anil D'Souza - Archives:
- All about the Magical Word 'Love'
- China - India Bhai Bhai..
- Hey Kid, do you Speak Konkani...?
- My Experience with a Broken Bone.
- Catholic Roce - Is it an Extinct Ceremony ?
- Three Hours at the Bus Station...
- Weddings then, now and in Future...