Pimp My Résumé: The Lies You Can Get Away With on Your CV


Pimp My Résumé: The Lies You Can Get Away With on Your CV

Illustration: Akshita Monga

“CV forward kar de na” are the five words that set in motion every job application process in India. We love forwarding, sharing, editing, and updating our CVs all the time, it’s a national hobby. Before the era of e-mail, life was tough and job-seeking even tougher because you had to roam around with physical printouts of your résumé. But today, it has become extremely easy to let prospective employers judge your character and skill set based on a single-page MS Word document.    

Companies are bombarded with hundreds and thousands of CVs every day. The trick now is to make your CV stand out in a crowd, like Ranveer Singh at an award show. Sending your résumé is a lot like sending your “rishta”. And if there’s something we understand about sending rishtas, it is that you want to put on your best face, even if it means faking it to some extent. And that in itself is a fine art.

Drafting the perfect CV is no mean task. First and foremost you need to settle down on the layout and format, and the best way to do it is to make use of the greatest invention of our times – Ctrl C + Ctrl V. Collect a bunch of CVs from friends and do what you do on Tinder, make a quick and superficial judgement based on which one looks the best. Boom, you’re good to go.

Every CV begins with personal details like your name, address, and your e-mail. But the last thing you want to do is draw attention toward your e-mail address – arav_lovehunter69@hotmail.com or sweepea_17@yahoo.co.in – that you created when you were in school. It is recommended to let the email address be vanilla and reserve your creativity for the other areas of the CV. It takes three weeks to get an Aadhaar card and about three minutes to create a new Gmail id. Teen minute… shaayad tumhaare zindagi ke sabse khaas teen minute.

The next part of the CV is on its way to extinction faster than the Black Rhino. It is called the “Objective” statement, where people channelise their inner Shashi Tharoor and string together fancy-sounding adjectives and adverbs to form a sentence that vaguely conveys you’re a dedicated person. Words like “driven”, “motivated”, “accomplished”, and “focused” must be sprinkled around in the same way Sanjeev Kapoor adds namak swadanusar to every dish.

If you graduated from Lovely Professional University, save yourself the shame and mention it as LP University. Ambiguity is better than embarrassment.

One of the more important parts of the CV that draws a lot of attention is your educational qualification, where you try to window dress 15 years of misery within five minutes with Times New Roman. Avoid mentioning academic qualifications because we are not in 1997, and every seventh person in the world now scores 95 per cent in their Class 10 examination. However, if this is all you have, one must go all in.

Professional qualifications must be arranged in a table in the descending order from your most recent achievement to your graduate-degree scores and not vice versa, even though the temptation is irresistible. This method puts your lower scores at the top of the table and your impressive B.Com percentage languishes at the bottom. But here’s the thing, scoring well in B.Com is a lot like owning a mobile phone, everyone has done it and it’s not special anymore. If you graduated from Lovely Professional University, save yourself the shame and mention it as LP University. Ambiguity is better than embarrassment. Remember, these small hacks go a long way in helping your CV climb up the pile.

They say experience cannot be taught, but a not-so-wise man said it can be certainly created out of thin air for the purpose of writing a CV. Lying is a terrible idea (unless you’re Donald Trump) because work experience is something people are quizzed about the most. The best one can do within the realms of ethics and morality is to arrange work experience in an order that suits you. In India, we don’t believe in time-out and cooling off periods, everyone is expected to be a robot and work 24X7 so they can earn more than Sharma ji ka ladka. Modi ji can head off to Europe tour every fourth week, but if there’s a huge gap between two jobs, be damn sure you’ll be questioned about it. It’s probably wise to hide these “dark moments” somewhere in the bottom like the fine print of an insurance policy.

The last section of the CV is one employees are most excited about, and employers the least – hobbies and extracurricular activities. In this section, the don’ts need to be kept in mind more than the dos. Guys, Microsoft Office is not a skill set and if you studied French for two years in junior college and want to pass that off as a language you “speak”, be prepared with at least five phrases. Or at least know how to pronounce Les Miserables.

The harmless lies one can get away with is mentioning how you played volleyball for your district at the U-16 level, because apart from you, nobody really cares about it. Having mentions of charity and NGO-related work is quite healthy, it is the dating equivalent of uploading a picture with a puppy.   

Once you’re done with the CV, it’s time to once again use the power of copy paste to draft the cover letter. As you’re about to write the subject of your mail, you are left puzzled. The only way out is googling the most important question of them all: What is the difference between a CV and a cover letter?