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Checking your CV - What - and Why?

Posted: 30-04-2013

I phoned a candidate this morning to ask some questions about her CV.  She got quite shirty with me,
"Are you suggesting that I have not told the truth in my CV? This is an insult!"  I understand her feeling - but regrettably the industry standard is that over 50% of what is written on CVs is not the truth - if yours is entirely truthful, I have to tell you it is the exception to the rule.  We need to check!

So what do we really need to know?
First - where you live.  We dont want to send you to an interview in Springs if you are living in Krugersdorp;  you really dont want to spend R500 per month on tolls getting to work - so give us your residential address!  And please - if you are about to move - the address you are moving to!  One lady was highly annoyed to be sent to an interview in Boksburg - but she did not tell us she was moving to Randburg!  If you are moving please tell us, if you are willing to go outside Gauteng, or even outside South Africa, tell us that too!  We will phone - or e mail you to check if there is any doubt, please be kind and respond as quickly as you can.

Second - what your qualifications are.  We need to know where you studied, the dates, the phases for which you are qualified and the major subjects in your qualification.  All the qualifications - even the ones in International Trade and Estate Agency!  And do add the extra-murals you did - sometimes the fact that you were active beyond the lecture theatre is what the employer wants to see.   If we know where you studied we can check with the institution that you were there - and that you did qualify.

Third - your full work record.  Even the things you did outside teaching - there should be no gaps in a teachers' work record, if there are we have to ask questions.  Teachers are in loco parentis to minor children - that's not a job everyone can do.  If you have gaps in your work record we need to ask you to explain them.  If your past employers say the dates of employment on your CV are not correct we have a major problem ...

Finally - referees do get checked.  Referees should be recent past employers, the name, designation, capacity in which they supervised your work, and the day time landline should all be given.  If you can not give your most recent past employer as a referee you need to explain why not.  We know that "stuff happens" and if you tell us it happened to you we will be sympathetic - but if the referee tells us about "stuff" that the applicant forgot to mention it makes a really bad impression. 

A coule of years ago a young intersen teacher sent his CV.  He gave his Principal and his HOD as references.  We phoned the Principal.  She reeled off a litany of complaints about the educator, she did not have a good word to say.  We listenned - but it sounded slightly over the top.  Then we phoned the HOD.  His story was the opposite, and somehow it had a ring of truth to it.  We decided to believe the HOD!  We sent the educator to an independent school, and the head phoned us to thank us for sending him!  Over the past two years he has done a brilliant job!  All that to say - please be careful who you give as a referee - make sure you know what they are going to say about you. 

We check your CV.  And that means that we dont accept all the CVs we are sent.  If we find that a CV is misleading we will probably discuss it with the applicant, but as soon as it is clear that he is suffering from selective memory we can do nothing further to help.  Because the kids in our schools deserve educators who they can trust, educators who do a good job, educators who have the qualifications and the skills that they claim to have.   We check CVs to find out who those people are.

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