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May 2017


Don’t be lazy, Its time you wrote your CV

800 371 Kamal Karanth

In a world of uncertainty, we don’t know when we will need our CV to be ready next. Yes, there is LinkedIn for the socially active ones, but how many update it? The majority of LinkedIn profiles describe their tenure with past employers with just designations. It’s an irony that we spend very little time to describe ourselves. In the world where self-projection is considered a potent weapon.

The last time I wrote a resumé ‘peacefully’ was 22 years ago. Then, I was just out of college and did not worry about what needs to be in a resumé, added to the fact that the contents did not exceed a page. Recently when one of my prospective investors asked me to send a one-pager about myself, I realised life had come full circle. One page is all that matters. Anything more than that is information overload, nobody is going to read beyond that, so don’t waste your time writing long resumés. I am not kidding; the average time a recruiter takes to read a resumé is less than a minute. Not that the recruiters have got BOTS power; just that they are mandated to look for things they need, not what you want to convey — precisely the reason resume reading and matching should soon be done by machines.

Would we still need resumés for the future? I reckon yes. The medium we use to depict ourselves may change, but we would still need to talk about our past. As much as hiring is done keeping the future potential in mind we still need an indicator of the past. That’s where a resumé is a great starting point. When did you last write your resumé for a job? I wrote mine eight years ago but struggled with the content as I wasn’t sure what my next employer wanted to see. In my view, the resumé writing in the current context is flawed as

  • More often we start by editing our last resumé or copy/paste from similar-looking profiles of others, as we attend to our CV only when a recruiter calls us.
  • We outsource it to so-called professionals for a fee, either because we are lazy or we can afford it
  • The average length of resumés for working professionals today is about three long pages. We add all the details of our life and work and make it too long for it to hold anybody’s interest,

If it’s your resumé why won’t you spend a couple of hours to write a page on your own from the scratch? The best person who could describe you adequately is only you? Yes, there are some nuances, but they are all common sense rather than rocket science.

CV Making Tips

We thought LinkedIn would eliminate resumés. It hasn’t, yet, though it has given them a different dimension. We have pundits telling us that digital resumés are here, video resumés are the future, but I think the standard one-pager is an important part of your description. I know LinkedIn does some justice to profiles, but it also ‘curtails’ your creativity to a certain extent. Video CVs will not work for many of us who are camera-shy and may become discriminatory in many ways, just like if adding your photo to the resumé enhances or diminishes it based on who is seeing it. So, what’s the secret to resumé writing in the future?

  • Write your one-pager resumés once a year.
  • Make them short and precise, be consistent with what you have on LinkedIn. Some employers have all the time in the world to see both.
  • Your achievements are more important than your job description which is easy to reference check later. Yes, the product, technologies are important to mention, but you will know that better.
  • It’s your resumé, not your employer’s, so don’t waste time detailing what they do. If you are working for not so famous organisations, just mention their URL for people to click on if they want to know more.


Despite all the rhetoric above let me state this: There is nothing like working hard and making an impact on your organisation. The good word spreads and you will get calls from people who will be in awe of you. Subsequently when they meet you the reference and reputation get the better of you than the contents of the CV sent before that. Your own career track record in the form of assurance and confidence will take care of the interview needs.

We don’t need our CV when we are at the peak of our success. Most often we prepare our CV when we are not performing or out of favour with our current employer. If you haven’t got a reputation or a track record, then you will always need a well-written CV, this can be your passport every two years or so when your employer finds you out!

Resumes are a chance to make your own statement, every time you copy it , its like posing in front of somebody else’s car!

Reference Check-The Fault in our Systems!

800 371 Kamal Karanth
Our referees are usually friends, past bosses who will swear by our name. They could be people who are committed to us about positive feedback. So, how can you be sure about the reference check of your next hire when this nexus is at work. Even the LinkedIn recommendations are a cosy club of mutual interests. I recommend ‘you’ and in turn ‘you’ recommend ‘me’. How on earth can we trust a tangle like that?

Time Gap

Recently I got a text from a friendly competitor CEO. He wanted to check about my ex-colleague whom we wanted to hire. Off course, she had forewarned me about this call and I was sort of prepared for this conversation. I quickly realised that I wasn’t doing justice to the faith her prospective employer had put in me. Furthermore, I wasn’t feeling sure whether I was loyal to her trust in me about a positive reference. No’ she wasn’t an underperforming colleague nor had she crossed our loyalty boundaries.  Just that the role she had worked with me and the current role she was being considered were distantly different. She last worked with me about 10 years ago.

I am sure she must have developed/changed in a decade. I tried to be honest and restricted my reference to the time and role she worked with me. But, I realized that her new employer was looking for something more like an assurance. This, I couldn’t provide as the role was new and there was a considerable time gap. I am of a belief that the core of a person cannot change with time, but then people do acquire or lose skills(age?) over a period too. So, then how close can we get to providing fair reference checks for both parties involved? Probably never!

One Bad Apple

Reference checks are only ‘one’ of the many parts of assessing a person while hiring. In a long career beyond integrity, all other things related to an individual are contextual and debatable. Last week one of my friends called me to give thumbs up after his last round of interviews with the VCs. A week later the VCs told the promoter that they discovered that his exit from his ex-employer was not smooth. After 5 meetings with various stakeholders, he was rejected because somebody whom the VCs knew thought differently about him. 10 plus hours of interviewing, assessing were discarded just becoz amongst his 4 previous employers one had cast a doubt. There are two sides to any story but in the hiring process, only one side of the story is relevant.

Reference Check Process Complexity

Multiple reasons :