A few students have been bugging me about CVs, resumes, and the general pain-in-the-ass that is trying to get a meaningful job after graduation. Considering how much hot air is being generated by academe on the topic of degrees and employability in the importance of getting a (good) job, it should come as no surprise just how little is actually done in practical terms to advise and help students in the dark arts of self publicity and targeted job search. In fact, the mere mention of terms like that will send most earnest academics scurrying for cover behind some dusty tome which only they know how to locate in the library.
I’m very happy to report that I begin by saying: forget most of what you have learned in relation to creating dull as dishwater CVs, and start thinking about your fashion sense and your online footprint a lot. I’m not a great believer in telling people to worry incessantly about their appearance or their online privacy, but what you look like and what you leave behind online says a lot about you.
I suggested recently to a grade A student that they should get out and network more instead of obsessing over pointless details on their CV (likely never to be read), and they had a sweet but misplaced notion about ‘how false’ networking is. Doubtless they were thinking of those ghastly corporate dinners where everyone despises each other while smiling and making meaningless small talk over canapés. Huh. In the real world networking consists of getting drunk in trendy Hoxton bars with the right people who, if you’re lucky, think you’re interesting and cool enough for them to be seen with. This applies to many ‘sectors’ not just media and money. How do you explain that to a classroom of undergraduates? Impossible.
My first initiative if I were to start any real world employment experience workshops would be to take everyone to Hoxton and give them the task of ‘make connections with 3 interesting people by the end of the evening’, asking for cards, phone numbers and one memorable anecdote recalled from each one. It’d be a start. I’d also test on names of organic and european beers.