Is Your Stage Dressed to Kill?

March 25, 2014

Is your stage dressed to kill?

Let’s change the word “stage” in the title of this post to “curriculum vitae”. A one size fits all curriculum vitae no longer makes the cut when you apply for a job. Recruiters and other people assessing your curriculum vitae tend to be very busy. Their workload can be such that they don’t have the time to fully read your curriculum vitae. In less than 30 seconds they decide where your CV goes…….You need to prepare for that “treatment”. Time and time again. So, how do you do that?
One way I explain this to my clients is by comparing a curriculum vitae to a stage:

Setting the stage for Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is quite different from preparing for the spectacular show KOOZA by Cirque du Soleil. If you want the audience (recruiters, HR people and other staffing folks) to see what’s on stage (your CV), you need proper lighting. While there may be more props (content) present on the stage, you need to balance the stage design and select what the audience will see. You can do this by using spotlights. So, you need to carefully arrange your props (write your content) in such a way that they will fulfill the expectations your audience has (match the requirements for the job you’re applying for). You then use spotlights (keywords) to highlight relevant props (parts of your career history) so that they align with what the audience is expecting. At the same time, you dim the lights on props that have no function in what goes on on stage. You want the audience to recognize the stage design so that the audience is drawn into the performance the minute the curtain opens.
In other words, you expand and summarize sections of your work history as appropriate for the job you are applying for and make sure that relevant keywords are in place to facilitate scanning of your CV so that you will make the cut and get an invitation for a job interview. That way, your stage will be dressed to kill.
If your “general” CV is the theme, you write a variation every time you apply for a job. Theme and variations has worked well in music for hundreds of years, it will work equally well for your curriculum vitae.