A New Zealand Curriculum Vitae (Common Misconceptions Cleared Up!)
If you are reading this, great! You have come to the right place. No more listening to incorrect info from well-meaning friends and family about what to include in your CV.
"Yes mum, I know I am 'well presented' and have a 'good sense of humour', but those are not attributes that are going to win me this role! I have to be able to prove I can do the job!"
In an effort to clear up some common misconceptions around CVs in New Zealand, we have compiled some statements that we hear a lot from our clients/the general public around what makes a great NZ CV.
"YOU NEED A PHOTO ON YOUR CV"
No. You don’t. Headshot photos are very common, even expected, in the USA and Europe, but here in New Zealand, you don’t need to include a photograph/professional headshot. In saying this, due to the rise of social media and professional networking sites such as LinkedIn, where a photo is visible to everyone in your network, you are more than welcome to include a headshot on your NZ paper/electronic CV. (If they’re going to look you up on LinkedIn anyway, why not?)
TOP TIP: If you do decide to include a photo, make sure it is a professional headshot, not an informal shot where you have cropped someone beside you out, or are holding a beer…(Oh and you can be smiling – its not a passport photo, or a mug shot!)
"YOUR CV SHOULD BE NO LONGER THAN 2-3 PAGES"
Fact! Yes, employers don’t have all day to read your entire life history. Anything more than three pages is too many! (And we don’t mean three pages printed double sided) If you can’t say what you need to say on 2-3 pages, then it might be time to consider talking to a professional CV writer. We are experts at including everything succinctly and clearly so employers don’t fall asleep or worse still – they ignore your application all together because they cant see what they need to see at first glance. Don’t be shy about sending your CV through for a free quote if it is a small novel. We have seen it ALL!
"A CV AND A RESUME ARE THE SAME THINGS"
Hmm… Not really. Technically a resume is a one-page overview of your expertise and experience, whereas a CV is a longer, more detailed, evidence-based document (2-3 pages long, as mentioned above). Again, In Europe and the USA, resumes are much for commonly used. Rightly or wrongly, us Kiwi’s tend to like to get a good overview before we decide to get you in for an interview. We don’t just want to see where you have worked; we need to see information that demonstrates that you can do the job (such as projects you championed, or achievements you attained). A simple record of your professional timeline just won’t cut it.
"YOU NEED TO MENTION PERSONAL INFORMATION"
Yes and No… You do need to include your address, contact phone number/s, email address, and LinkedIn page link shortcut, BUT you do not need to include ANYTHING about your age, race, gender, medical history, marital status, number of children etc. It is unprofessional, and quite frankly, totally unnecessary. We often see client CVs that mention things such as ‘non-smoker’, ‘excellent health’, ‘married for 17 years’, ‘3 children’… These might be merits in life (to some people) but are not things to include on your CV, as they add nothing beneficial regarding your professional expertise or ability to do a job. You are welcome to include extracurricular activities such as ‘Swim Coach for XYZ School’, and ‘Treasurer on XYZ committee’ – as these help to show you are an active, multi-dimensional member of your local community, and that you make time for voluntary work outside of your job etc. but leave the ‘good sense of humour’ and ‘non-smoking’ stuff far, far away in the ‘dating profile’ category!
"YOUR CV SHOULDN’T HAVE COLOUR"
Untrue! We don’t think you should go overboard and turn it into an art project, but subtle use of colour can help catch an employer’s eye and ensure you stand out from the sea of black, white and boring on their desk. Your CV is a sales tool, like a well-crafted website is for a business. (And you don’t go to a beautifully made, modern, company website and say: ‘Wow, this is really unprofessional – so colourful…’) So, add 1-2 colours tastefully and reap the eye-catching benefits.
"YOU DON’T NEED TO INCLUDE YOUR ADDRESS"
Wrong! As an ex-recruiter, if we got an application with no address, we would have to assume the person was overseas/based out of town, and was not immediately able to start work locally. If you are concerned about privacy, feel free to include the suburb and the city, or a local PO box, so people have at least an idea of where you are based.
f you have questions that have not been covered here, please get in touch to ask us. We would be more than happy to help you out with your NZ CV queries.
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