A Curriculum Vitae (CV or résumé) can be a very handy thing when it comes to applying for jobs and showcasing your expertise. Many people think that the usefulness of a CV stops there, but it can be a lot more useful than that. With a little tinkering, your CV can serve as an enlightening career planning tool.
I believe that in order to get to where you want to be, you must first know where you have been, where you are now, what you care about, and why you want to go to that new place. An excellent way to do this is to use a graphic CV.
Curriculum Vitae is Latin for “course of life”. I don’t know about you, but when I am representing and thinking about my life, I certainly don’t want to do it with a dull categorized list of my education and work experience. My life and my career goals are directed not only by my experiences but also by my passions – and more importantly, by the interplay between the two.
The graphic CV helps you interpret your experience and skills in a more holistic way. It gets you looking at the big picture and asking yourself some very important questions. It is an activity worth doing on a regular basis.
I chose to use a Venn diagram, but there are certainly other ways you can do it. This is what my graphic CV looks like today:
Representing myself visually in this way facilitated several realizations. The things that I have done in the past, would like to keep doing or do again, and I am passionate about (intersection of all 3 circles) are the things that define me most strongly. My real goals are found where my aspirations and my passions intersect.
But this prompted me to ask myself some important questions. Why am I not passionate about all my aspirations? Why do I not actively aspire to pursue all my passions? Why do I want to continue to pursue things like SEO when I am not passionate about them? Do these things align with my intentions and modus operandi?
What it really comes down to is defining who you are, what your real career goals should be, and what steps you need to take to get there. It comes down to challenging yourself and your own self-concept.
How do you make a graphic CV?
Step 1 – Figure out your intentions. In broad terms, what is your personal mission statement?
Step 2 – Figure out your modus operandi. How do you do what you do? What are your personal best practices and conventions?
Step 3 – In very general terms, list your activities. For example, since I am currently studying English Literature and French (among other things), I wrote “academics”.
Step 4 – Decide what you want to think about, and name your categories accordingly. You can choose as many or as few categories as you want.
Step 5 – In general terms, make a list of the things you’ve done, the things you want to do, things you think about and things that interest you.
Step 6 – Go through your list and categorize each item – each item can fit into as many or as few categories as you like.
Step 7 – Input your items into your diagram. If an item fits into multiple categories, place it at an intersection point.
Step 8 – Think about what this graphic representation says about you and your career goals. Ask tough questions. Challenge yourself.
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