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Writing your own CV Confessions of a CV Writer

Kristie has been the Trans-Civ CV Manager for 11 years now and overseen the development of over 3000 CVs for exiting ADF Veterans.  She is an internationally Certified Practicing Resume Writer.  Below is her experience of writing about herself.

Recently I was presented with a Prince of Wales Award from the ADF.  However, as part of the Award program, I had to submit a biography of myself. It was an uncomfortable process for me, I wrote a draft five times and erased it every time. My achievements seemed trivial and boring, and I hated every moment of writing it. This is despite the fact, I spend almost all my days writing about people, I love to write, and I love words. I study other languages just for fun because I love words so much. I have dedicated my time to Bachelor and Masters degrees that required extensive research and writing skills because I found them profoundly exciting and I enjoyed writing essays and papers. Crazy but true.

However, in this case, something that would have taken me just a few hours for someone else was dragging on for weeks. I kept putting it off, because I felt I wasn't doing a good enough job. Finally, I gave a copy to my husband, and he said to me, well why haven't you mentioned when you did "this" and when you did "that". I said oh that's just the standard stuff I do every day - it’s just doing my job. And of course, he gave me the same advice I give everyone I work with.

It's tough tooting your own horn, really tough, as ADF you are taught to fit in and do an excellent job. You are expected to do this - being the best at what you do - is just par for the course. He was right, of course.

So, what I want you to know is that when you read the CV I have written for you, I need you to focus on one thing only, is it factual? If the answer is yes, but you still feel uncomfortable with it, that's okay. I want you to feel uncomfortable with it; I want you to say to me it makes me sound amazing, or I am not sure that this CV describes me. Because when it makes you feel this way - I know you are selling yourself in a way you don't know how to. It means I have given you a document you couldn't have created for yourself. When you say to me you had an interview, and you gave the examples I wrote, but they made you feel weird - I want you to know that is also great. The examples you call boring or mundane, are examples that make you shine, that reveal your transferable skills and show that you can stand out from the crowd. Just remember the ADF has high standards for its people, you are expected to go well above what is considered normal in the workplace. You do this so regularly – you actually now think it is the new normal. You have trained in one of the hardest workplaces there are.

Getting a new job is all about selling yourself, ADF people in my experience who can do this very well, are quite rare. If you feel uncomfortable, chances are because you are acquiring a new skill you haven't had before. When you are learning a new skill, it also feels strange, especially when you are coming from a career when you have felt comfortable for years, and may not have had to learn new skills, just refine the ones you already have.

Everyone feels like the transition process is tough, I won't disagree with this, even if you want to and are ready to leave. My advice: read your CV or application many many times. Make sure you believe you are as great as I say you are. Once your thoughts are in line with the CV, read it out loud to yourself so that your ears can hear it too, so that when you hear it in an interview, you are not shocked or surprised that they are talking about you.

Convincing yourself of your ability is hard, but once you have done that, convincing others is much easier.

Of course, once I could write a great Bio, I won the award. Because it is true, once you see yourself in that light, not only will you believe it, so will others.

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