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Archive for April, 2014

The Real You – A New Kind Of CV

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014










Fed up of touting the same old CV? Do you have that nagging feeling that your CV doesn’t really stand out from the crowd?

Would you like to communicate on paper who you are both on the page and off the page?

I know I do. Recently I went through an arduous application process followed by a rigorous assessment process for coaches required for a top level-coaching list.

The profiles of all the successful coaches were then collated into a booklet from which leaders could then select coaches of their choice.

When I began leafing through the booklet it soon became apparent how skilled and qualified all of us were. Each profile contained impressive lists of qualifications and training along with lists of companies and organizations we had all worked for. It was a polished list of what we had done but nowhere did we communicate who we are and what stands out about us behind all of the accomplishments and achievements. To be honest if photographs were removed from each page we would all read like carbon copies of each other or perhaps it the words are best captured by the poet Hafiz, “The idiot’s warehouse is full of merchandise.”

Take my own profile. Missing was any real evidence of my life lessons earned through a number of life challenges including overcoming childhood sexual abuse which held real evidence of my early demonstration of resilience and compassionate leadership.

Missing were real life examples of how and where I have led both in the workplace and in my personal life.

Missing were the three years of dedicated long distance running that held off a major descent into depression.

Missing were the daily acts of everyday courage and bravery that filled up an ordinary  life.

These major omissions got me thinking. I went into my archives and pulled out two paper documents where I have made steps to communicate more of the real me on paper.

The first document is what I refer to, as my Unconventional CV. You’ll find a copy tucked away on the About Jackee page on my website click here to download a copy of my Unconventional CV

An Unconventional CV is created by using all the letters of the alphabet to summarize an overview of your personal passions and interests, the things that make your heart sing, the activities that signal when you’re in a flow, the things you’re good or have gotten better at.

An Unconventional CV is juicy. It speaks to the important lessons you’ve learned about life and living, it names some of the subtle and significance differences you’ve made over the years to others. Your job is to find the precise words that give examples of any of the above and then place them in order based on the letter of the alphabet they begin with from A right down to Z.

Much of the information contained in my Unconventional CV is scattered throughout the pages of my journals but much of what I have documented in those notebooks has very much remained hidden from public view. My Unconventional CV has been hidden on my website for the last year but whenever I’ve shared it people have loved the idea of what it speaks to.

By the way I was inspired to create this kind of CV from an article I read in Liat (a Caribbean airline) magazine on a flight to Barbados about three years ago, a reminder to be open to ideas from a range of unexpected sources.

Click here to view a copy of my Unconventional CV and use as a guide to create your own.

The second CV I’d like to introduce you to is a Courage CV. This CV has a more specific remit. The Courage CV creatively communicates evidence of your own bravery, courage and moments of vulnerability (I believe episodes of vulnerability are gateways to evidence of hidden and overlooked strengths), evidence of risk taking, breaking the rules, going out on a limb or making a stand for what you believe in. Your Courage CV should show the real road you have travelled and what kind of journey you’ve had that includes the messes.

In what might sometimes look like a mess is actually a message waiting to be conveyed that has a punch, that feels alive because it’s without the mask, the polish and the neat around the edges self we present to the world that result in safe and sterile messages about who we are.

My courage CV tells the story of my love of trees, the wild and my hunger for nature. It speaks of my courage to speak my truth as a child and a teenager, which has served me well in many instances in my adult life. It speaks of my love of books and reading which has fed a creative and imaginative mind that has a knack for creating courses and workshop with depth, feeling and passion behind what goes into them.

What would your Courage CV include? Why not use the above criteria and create your own Courage CV? I like to use large sheets of paper and plot examples of courage, bravery and vulnerability moments in my life in the form of timelines. Use markers and coloured pens to bring the whole process to life. What would your Unconventional or Courage CV look like as a collage, a series of photographs or even a piece of artwork?

Even if you don’t send out paper versions in the first round of job applications these are great documents to create for your own personal use. You’ll be more connected to an interview panel when you speak through the voice of your Unconventional or Courage CV. The panel won’t even need to see either in it’s paper form (but of course they can) but they’ll need to feel it in the words and stories you share to illustrate the above.

In her book Fierce Leadership click here to order a copy of Fierce Leadership author Susan Scott suggests that to conduct a smart heart interview, begin with a general question. “Tell us about yourself. What would you like us to know about who you are, where you’ve been, where you are now and where you’re headed?” Having a Unconventional or Courage CV will ensure you’re well prepared to answer these kinds of questions at interviews which more and more companies are interested in asking and finding out about you at the hiring stage.

Sometimes your own personal shift will come about from actually seeing the content you’ve generated in black and white or colour print on the page, all in one place. But there’s also more to take in here. Both CV’s capture evidence of your emotional intelligence. Scott quotes Daniel Goleman in Fierce Leadership and saying that, “ As a leader moves up an organization, up to 90 percent of their success lie in emotional intelligence.” In other words nine out of ten executives who derail do so because they lack emotional competencies! There’s no wastage in you producing CV’s of this kind.

Place your CV’s in a visible spot as a constant reminder so you don’t forget the positive qualities and strengths that make you uniquely who you are.

Or how about turning them into manifestos or ways of introducing yourself online, in person or to new partners and collaborators as well as new audiences. More on this go to Alexandra Franzen’s website who has a great list of templates for manifestos and writing about yourself in a more wholehearted, right brained way click:

Remember both CV’s are intended to communicate the authentic and real you on paper.

We’d love to publish examples of your Unconventional and Courage CV ‘s on the blog as inspiration for others to do the same.

Please send your text as pdf files with a photo to and we promise to publish your examples on our blog and tweet to our Twitter and LinkedIn followers.

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How To Stand Out From The Crowd?

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

A week or so ago I was down in Devon on a week’s writing retreat when I decided to do an impromptu interview with Sharon Jennings.

Sharon is a lecturer in Social Work at Goldsmith University and our conversation covered some excellent ground around the value and benefits of reflective practice across a range of professions not just coaching or therapy.

We found we had a lot in common although working in different professions (me in coaching and supervision and Sharon in social work and health care) there was such an overlap between the benefits engaging in reflective practice offered our work and our practice. This was also extended to the benefits managers and leaders would gain from across industries and professions.

We talked about:

  • Why reflective practice makes a difference to our productivity and standards in our professions?
  • Tips on how to engage with making the best use of a reflective learning journal
  • How to use a reflective learning journal to track progress and development
  • How to harness the information contained in your reflective notes
  • why looking back on what you’ve written is important

I’m a real advocate of reflective practice and I think this quote from Kim Stafford from her book, The Pen and the Bell, really captures in one the value that embedding a reflective practice brings to our work as coaches, supervisors and writers and just about every profession there is, ” a violin played everyday will keep the vibrations of the music in it’s body, even while lying still and silent. If it is not played everyday, the vibrations dissipate and the wood grows lifeless.”

If you can get past the bed in the background which I forget to fade out and the bad hair day I was having I think there is some really useful stuff here.

Let me know your thoughts.

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