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Transferable Skills- Fact or Fiction?

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Samantha Lee
Samantha Lee
London is calling, and in order to keep at least one New Year’s Resolution and get a job in the general vicinity, (learning French and joining a Zumba class going the way of lycra bike shorts), I spent my weekend trying to figure out if I have any transferable skills.
Having spent four years in the same job and albeit loving it to pieces, I came to the conclusion my C.V. should probably be dusted off and reviewed, considering I got my current job with only a couple of years experience and a fervent promise to work 10 hour days on any day Bones wasn’t on.
Updating one’s C.V. is for me akin to enduring the Shortland Street ad which is currently having Saw II leanings- painful, with a vague sense of unease and the sneaking suspicion it will either all go horribly wrong or be surprisingly worth it in the end.
I have had to figure out what I’m good at, which is frustrating because I have spent the last couple of years being happily oblivious to being good at anything, lest someone realise I’m good at something and give me more things to do on a daily basis.
I have had to seek out verbal references, which is not so easy when you’ve basically just told your boss that working for him is not fulfilling enough and, by the way, could he please endorse you to another prospective employer? (Happily, I’ve worked with my boss long enough that this was translated into a genuine cry for help on my part.)
I have had to register with recruitment agencies, all of whom seem to have recruitment agents with name like Candice, Janice, Beatrice (okay, I made that one up, needed another “ice”) - all of whom seem to need a comprehensive guide to me yesterday, and some sort of indication of where I’m going to be living (most likely someone’s couch and/or hot water cupboard, which I’m surely any employer will be delighted to learn.)
I took photos, which for me is especially bad as I have never mastered either the perky blond, blue eyed go-getter-happy-gaze, the sucked-in-cheeks-head-to-the-right-eyes-to-the-front-god-I’m-hot pose, or the straight-on-I’m-such-a-professional-and-have-never-laughed-not-even-when-Charlie-Sheen-said-he-had-tiger-blood stare.
I ended up with the Jesus-god-is-this-over-with-yet manic grin, which I dare say would encourage people to file pre-emptive restraining orders if I hadn’t then been told it’s apparently not the ‘done thing’ to include a photo on one’s C.V.
How do you do it? Seek has many helpful hints, such as not including ones long and fulfilling career with the Girl Guides (don’t forget to buy their cookies this month).
Ensuring that you put relevant information is a plus- so being able to work an EFTPOS machine probably doesn’t count if you are applying to be a sandwich board holder- however, experienced hitch hikers will probably be at an advantage here due to being able to hold up large signs for extended periods of time.
Including appropriate personal details is an excellent idea too- so not including a dodgy sounding email or a phone number with a voicemail message including “Yeah...nah. I’ll call you back.” Gender, age, marital status, ethnicity, religion or health are not usually included on applications either as they can make your C.V. look dated and this information is not relevant to one’s ability to do the job.
The other thing is, apparently presentation is key. I thought I was relatively prepared with mine, until my flatmate pointed out Victorian Let font is possibly not the way to go. Also ensuring punctuation, correct spelling and spaces between words are relatively common is apparently a key factor.
Motivation is definitely a factor in successful C.V. execution. My problem this weekend was that I had frequent stops to decide if the dress I bought off Trade Me was too small or if it was just my arms were too big; to debate whether the moon really is super or just, y’know, large; to check if the nuclear reactors in Japan are still melting (is this a state that can reverse? What ice cream do you know that has ever stopped this process?).
There was also a twelve item only shopping trip which ended up at sixteen items, which then led to a lengthy discussion on whether or not this qualified us for the Wendy’s smoothie reward of staying under budget.
My point is, good things take time, but if one wants to get a job fairly soon after ones last payment goes through, one should not allow too many distractions.
I now have a C.V., verbal references and some jobs to apply for- now I think the final thing needed here, is luck.

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