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Does Your CV have great CV?

I was once asked to deliver a talk to some undergraduates on “How to Ace the Interview”. I told the person who asked me to do it that I don’t focus on “Acing the interview” but I focus on “Acing Yourself”. I think the undergrads liked the talk, and there was a line of students afterwards asking me follow-on questions relating to interviews, how to present themselves and so forth. I don’t think the University faculty liked my approach, though, because they never called me back for a similar talk. That did not change the way I see interviews, or in this case, CVs.

The first CV is Curriculum Vitae; the second, Civic Virtue. Curriculum Vitae is the story of your life, a description of your journey and how you got here. Usually used when applying for a job or some position in some organization. Civic Virtue is morality or a standard of righteous behaviour in relationship to a citizen’s involvement in society. It is about how well you treat yourself and others. Curriculum Vitae is a historical record. Civic Virtue is your life movie you are making each and every day, and it is a movie for all the world to see.

Most people, at least, people who are eager to get jobs which pay well, put in a lot of effort to ensure that if their Curriculum Vitae were to be in the news, they would have much to brag about and nothing to be ashamed of, similar to how their resumes and cover letters would be written. Many get help ensuring that what is positive gets enhanced and what is negative gets expunged or else put in as better light as possible. Embellishments are not at all uncommon here!

What if your Curriculum Vitae had some dark episodes that you would rather have blotted out but can’t? What would you do, join the Foreign Legion, which was a mercenary outfit known for accepting both the actual and perceived scum of society and offering them a clean slate to start life afresh, like a “reset” button? How would you deal with that? Would you include it and let the rest of your Curriculum Vitae show how you have since progressed from there? How would someone who had served a prison sentence for some crime or misdemeanour do it? I say tell the truth, including how you are still a work-in-progress, as all of us are, and that you are COMMITTED to being a work-in-progress.


It is actually far easier to work on establishing, sustaining and growing our Civic Virtue. Are people eager to engage with you? Do you give them a sense of confidence by you both walking your talk and talking your walk? I once had a former Boss remark to my then current Boss that I “…don’t give trouble…” Perhaps unfortunately, that former Boss of mine didn’t tell that current Boss that I wouldn’t stand for nonsense and would actively work to improve things as I saw fit, and I still do. Not every Boss appreciates that.

How is YOUR CV, your Curriculum Vitae? Are you stressing about it? How about working on your other CV, your Civic Virtue, instead? You’ll get much more out of it!

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