By Vlad Mackevic
[Copyright of the quotes and images used: J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros.]
The academic year is picking up speed – I bet you can feel it. Some first years are thinking about summer internships. Many second years are busy looking for work placements. The keenest and the most desperate ones seek any help they can find – and sometimes it comes from the most unexpected places.
This blog post is for all Harry Potter fans who are currently writing a CV. It turns out that some characters from this great book series can teach you quite a bit about CV writing!
Severus Snape: Precision above all!
‘You are here to learn the subtle science and exact art of potionmaking,’ he began. He spoke in barely more than a whisper, but they caught every word — like Professor McGonagall, Snape had the gift of keeping a class silent without effort. ‘As there is little foolish wand-waving here, many of you will hardly believe this is magic’.
Severus Snape, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Snape is the potions master at Hogwarts. When brewing a potion, one must be precise: measure exact amounts of substances, follow the recipe to the letter.
The same degree of precision applies to CV writing:
1. Do not start without a recipe
Visit your university careers centre and borrow a book or two on CV writing. Believe me – it will save you a lot of hassle if you spend some time learning the craft first.
2. Do not throw in vague statements that say nothing about you
- Don’t just say ‘Great communication skills’; say ‘active member and vice president of the debating society; have been working as a journalist for the university newspaper for 9 months’;
- Don’t say ‘excellent teamwork skills’; say ‘Organised and managed two study groups while preparing for exams; managed a team of students for a group essay; value added –71% mark for the group’;
Harry Potter: Play to Your Strengths!
‘Excuse me,’ growled Moody, ‘you’ve got strengths if I say you’ve got them. Think now. What are you best at?’
Harry tried to concentrate. What was he best at? Well, that was easy, really –
‘Quidditch,’ he said dully, ‘and a fat lot of help –’
‘That’s right,’ said Moody, staring at him very hard, his magical eye barely moving at all. ‘You’re a damn good flyer from what I’ve heard.’
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter is a born flyer – and he uses this strength of his to his advantage repeatedly throughout the series. Moreover, he uses every chance to develop it, spending hours in the air on his broomstick. There is a lot you can learn from him.
You must find what you’re good at professionally and start perfecting that skill. Most of the time that skill is also what you like doing most – but even if you are not good at what you like, persistence and time will make it good. Once you start working on certain skills, put the skills and the activities on your CV.
Hermione Granger: Studying can help, too!
Oh, honestly, don’t you two read?
Hermione Granger, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Hermione is the brainiest girl in the series – and her academic knowledge helps her friends get out of trouble many a time. Your academic achievements can also help you when writing a CV – they show that you take your studies seriously and you can also transform your academic progress into valuable transferrable skills. Click here to read more about it!
Gilderoy Lockhart: Do not lie – you will be found out!
‘My dear boy,’ said Lockhart, straightening up and frowning at Harry. ‘Do use your common sense. My books wouldn’t have sold half as well if people didn’t think I’d done all those things.’
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Gilderoy Lockhart is one of the most unpleasant characters in the second book of the series. He gained his riches and fame by writing books about his heroic exploits and fighting dark forces. However, when confronted with real danger, he tries to turn his tail and run. When confronted, he confesses that the credit for all those achievements actually belongs to someone else and he has simply lied in his books.
It’s not nice being found out. It is embarrassing and can lead to a very bad reputation. The last thing you want to do in your CV is lie. You can make minor achievements sound big and important, but those achievements have to be real.
Did you like this article? You can find another article about CV writing here. Vlad Mackevic’s book How to Write a CV with Little or No Work Experience is also available for FREE! Just fill in the form below.