CV Weasel Words

My daughter rang me up about half an hour ago. She was filling in her UCAS application and she was asking for some information about what her mother’s occupation is. Not that she doesn’t know very well what her Mum does but everything that is in her job title and description doesn’t fit the UCAS profiles. We came up with something but it isn’t as precise as it could be because UCAS has its own ideas about how the world is. We spoke about CVs in general and what you have to put in them and how you do it. It’s been a long time since I did one and I always hated it, even when it got me an interview and a job. So I was looking for some advice online. I suspected what I was stepping into, but I hadn’t realised how much worse it it is now than it was only a few years ago.

I came across this – not the most egregious example and I apologise if I appear to be picking on the person concerned. I am not. I despise all the advice of this nature and the system that promotes and sustains it. I am sure her intent was pure and good.


“Changing CVs

Mrs Mills says it is important that applicants put modesty aside and show self-confidence in their CV.

“If you are not confident about your skills and abilities then why should an employer have faith in you,” she says.”


And there in a nutshell is what has gone wrong with British employers, employment practices and business in the UK.

Nothing about ability note – just as long as you are confident in yourself. You might be a dribbling moron but as long as you can make a noisy self obsessed case for yourself you get the prize.

You see it’s a lot easier to pick a screaming weasel out of a box than to actually do some work yourself, think about what you want the person in the role you are advertising to be and do some reading, research and interviewing of candidates relevant to that specification.

No – PICK ME!!! – is what gets you noticed.


And why do we wonder when we get ‘customer care’ departments that don’t, ‘delivery teams’ that can’t, and managers who fail? Because we are optimising business for the gloss, the glitter and no substance.

I have an enormous contempt for the obsession with badly thought out, but elaborately marketed, HR personality testing that demand thousands of pounds to tell you the bleeding obvious that teams need more than just a bunch of top psychopath predators to produce results.

They don’t put it quite like that of course and make up all sorts of names for imaginary ‘personality types’ like ‘completer/finishers’ or ‘Ghengis Khan’ managers or ‘innovative wazaks’.

What they mean is you need people who have a mix of skills and attitudes otherwise you compound your errors and spend all your time ‘blue skying’ or infighting for power and not actually doing the job. And in that respect they do tell us something useful – but you don’t need to pay more than about a tenner to read any sensible book on team building – or go and talk to a member of the armed services for free.

So you need to get someone who can think about the problem from a different perspective, someone who can be critical of the plans and someone to remind everyone that the aim is to make and sell rulers not revolutionise the Euclidian desktop space environment vis a vis mensuration mechanics. And some people to write it down and tell management, workers and customers what the hell is going on (and for God’s sake don’t tell the finance director or he/she’ll stop everything. Then someone to DO IT!

So what do HR do? Get a consultancy firm to do the recruitment. And what do they do? Apply whatever fashionable bollocks is currently in vogue and wait for some shouty, preened idiot to turn up and pretend they are a genius. They then make up some dribble to wrap the candy coated buffoon in and trouser the fee. Leaving the business to realise they have yet another loud mouthed twit who can read and copy the latest ‘how to land a job’ plan and pass it off as their own.

Meanwhile they thoughtful, intelligent but honest perfect fit for the job types don’t even get an interview.

And we wonder why French business employs people who work significantly shorter hours than their UK counterparts but are massively more productive than UK businesses?

It’s one of your own dribbly guru sayings people!


Yet we let management experts produce so much of this fluff and guff that even when they accidentally produce a correct answer we can’t dig it out from the background screaming.


Do some work.

Think about it.

And for God’s sake look for quality not noise.

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