February 25, 2004

We return to our quest in progress…

And find our heroine hunched over a computer, neglecting her other work.

Today I was emailing my mom, and I mentioned in passing a few things I'd done to prepare for the move, to which she replied, also in passing, "Well, I think it would be important to have a job and a place to stay all lined up before heading out if at all possible." Which neatly demonstrates that my mother's preferred literary device is understatement. My parents have expressed, several times, their entirely justified concerns over the job situation. Specifically, the part where I move to foreign country without having one. I've tried laughing it off with a gay, "Where's your sense of adventure?" to which they replied, "We pawned it to pay the vig on your student loans, you ungrateful Large Private University graduate, you." These conversations leave me heartsick and guilty, because I realize, deep down, that they're right on the merits, but I can't seem to overcome the irrational feeling that if I don't do something drastic now, I'm gonna wake up a 30-something paralegal in slightly nicer apartment with a vastly larger collection of regrets….

So, I've been trying to do something practical to alleviate the situation --- took the entirety of adolescence and then some, but I've begun to realize that "moping about" and "alleviating" are, in fact, different things --- namely, learning how to write a C.V. (the European version of a resume, for any Merkins that are reading), so I can hit the ground running and start applying for jobs immediately when I get there, or even a little before I leave.

I was very concerned about writing a C.V. The only profession in which they're widely used here is academia, especially the sciences, and so the only ones I've seen have an Education section which contains a doctorate, and includes a six-page list of published works stapled to the back.

Now that I've read a bit about them, the only thing I'm really worried about is the education section; I don't think my pretty good American G.P.A. is going to convey much, and over there it seems customary to include your grades on the universal school-leaving exams, which we don't have. Other than that, paragraphs like these two

"We are not concerned with standard CV's, those boring grey documents which exude nothing but the lack of imagination of the writer. What we aim for is the 'Killer CV' that goes straight for the jugular and screams out to the reader.

By combining razor sharp content that is clear, concise and instantly accessible with striking layout that adheres to the tried and tested conventions of CV writing, you will be half way to getting the perfect job."

have convinced me that CVs are pretty much exactly like resumes, bullet points, action verbs, and all. "Turn your C.V. from a cud-chewer to a vampire bat! Grab your future employer by the throat and slurp up a salary increase! Learn how to disguise your basically pedestrian qualities and practically universal general office skills, or, Selling the Brand That Is You! Go get 'em, tiger! Er, bat!"

Well, maybe not exactly like. For some reason, (possibly a lack of non-discriminatory hiring policies, or sexual-harassment suits) some people seem inclined to put things like marital status and nationality on CVs. And almost everyone puts their driving record, including points. Which seems really, really odd. I keep imagining something like this:

"Congratulations, Mr. Jones."

"Have I got the job?"

"Your qualifications were excellent."

"Thank you."

"You have demonstrated leadership skills, time-management skills, zeal, determination, and a native ingenuity which has led to increased productivity at every turn in your career."

"You're very kind to say so."

"Our inquires to your former places of employment were answered with nothing but praise, from both your superiors and your subordinates."

"I don't know what to say."

"You are loyal, thrifty, brave and true. You are modest, generous, and kind. You give off a natural, fresh scent which delights all whom you encounter."

"Well, gee, I…that's very nice to hear."

"It gives me pleasure merely to state it. But."

A pregnant pause.

"Though your qualifications were in other respects excellent --- nay, perfect --- due to your inability to parallel park, we must, regretfully, decline to offer you a position as our executive vice-president. Good day, Mr. Jones. Good day."

Posted by Diablevert at February 25, 2004 02:27 AM

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