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Interview with a CVampire – 6 tips when applying for a job

November 19, 2012

We all know applying for a job can be scary.

There’s a lot on the line.  Time, money, energy and in the case of my latest interviewee… your neck.

See, last week I managed to get some one-on-one time with a manager who is known around the traps as, ‘The CVampire’, due to their appetite for fresh CVs, which they suck the nutrients from, leaving only a withered husk devoid of any ability to secure employment.

Only the juiciest CVs make it through their clutches unscathed.  I understand they keep these CVs as a sort of strange psychic link to the newly/almost employed, although that is only lunchroom gossip. I’m unable to give any details on this person, apart from the obvious… they work in IT, don’t venture out during the day and constantly consume sugary drinks to offset their cravings for fresh blood.

With everything I’d heard, I was reluctant to ask the hard questions about their preferred appetite for CVs.  However, armed with a mock CV, and having removed any trace of a real CV from my person, with not even a business card on me, I set about trying to uncover some trade secrets.

After a short wait in a strangely well-lit reception area, an assistant led me into their office. “Hi *******, thanks for taking the time to chat,” I say, shaking their cold, clammy hand.

Without a response, ******* raises their head as if sniffing the air.

Undaunted I press forward. “Do you mind if I call you *******?”

“Of course not.”

Great, we’re in a conversation I tell myself. I’m not just the next meal, but an esteemed guest. I hope.

******* continues; “I can’t stand being addressed by some sort of default title, it’s so impersonal. My name isn’t sir/madam, sir, madam or to-whom-it-may-concern.  I have a name, people should ring and find out what it is if they have to. Anyway, I appreciate you addressing me by my name.”

“I always tell my clients to address their cover letters to the right person,” I respond. “Glad to hear you agree.”

Always address a CVampire by name.  Forget the myths you’ve heard. Using a a CVampire’s real name won’t cause them to combust or turn into a bat.

With the conversation on the right track, I press on for some more CV insights. “I’m redoing some CV information on our website, bringing it up to the 21st century if you will.  If you could take a quick look at this CV and cover letter and tell me what you think?”

I could swear that *******’s nostrils flare slightly as they lean over their desk to delicately take the CV from my hands, but it’s hard to tell with my own quivering

“No hobbies or interest in your CV.  Are you a robot?  I want to know you’re human.  What do you like?”

“Me?”

“You.”

“I like… turtles?”

“Great.  You like turtles. Now I at least have a conversation starter, without having to ask you what you like, because that was kind of awkward wasn’t it?”

“Yeah, I guess.”

“Also, your cover letter has NOTHING to do with the role advertised.  Did you even read the ad or the job description?  If I can’t link your cover letter to the job then I’m going to… err… bin it, because I’m not sure you read the description.  It reads like a cover letter you sent out in bulk.”

At this point I’m nervous, but in the quest to attain job hunting knowledge, I push on.  “Umm, this is just a mock letter I wrote to try to get an idea of what employers want from a CV and cover letter.”

“Ahh, I see.”  Like a cat realising the mouse is finally dead, *******’s mood seems to deflate at this point.

“Is there anything else in that letter that really doesn’t make the cut?” I ask.

“Well, straight away I can see you’re using the wrong language setting. It’s ‘organise’, not ‘organize’.  I applaud you for running the ABC spellchecker, it’s more than some people do, but for crying out loud – proofread your CV.”

“Right.”

“And ALWAYS have someone else read over it.  Why would anyone think they don’t need editing.”

“Of course.”

*******’s eyes suddenly dart down the page, back to me, and then back again, before slowly rising to a large stapler on the desk.

“Comic sans.  I’ll kill anyone using it before I hire them,” they drawl, before erupting in a fit of laughter.  I strain a laugh and tilt my head back, careful not to show too much jugular.

“Unless I’m advertising for a kindy teacher,” they continue, “In which case, comic sans; YOU’RE HIRED!  Oh, and no clipart borders, you’d be surprised how often I see those.”

“Oh clipart…” I chuckle, “So terrible…”

“Terrible.  Such a subjective term,” ******* mutters.

Having relaxed somewhat over the course of the interview, my mind immediately casts back to the rumours I’d heard. It was time to leave.

“Hey, well, there’s some great stuff here and I’ve really learnt a lot.  I’ll definitely pass this along to our readers on the blog.”

“Oh,” ******* exclaimed. “Don’t take my advice too seriously… it’s a bit… bloodless.  A few mistakes never hurt anyone.”

“Right,” I responded, imagining stacks of CVs floating around in the sixth circle of CV purgatory. “If I’ve got anymore CV questions I’ll be in touch.”

“Of course.  Just make sure you send me the hard copies. In calibri font. It’s to my taste.”

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