September 14th, 2021 | Perfect CV and Why It Is NOT Perfect For You: Marissa Mayer's Story.

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Hiccups In The Professional Development Plan: When We Follow The Wrong Role Model While Drafting Our CV.

Some time ago, in the recent history of the recruitment industry, a discussion upon the CV of Marissa Mayer flared up. Back then, she was the CEO and the President of Yahoo! And a former executive, usability leader, and key spokeswoman for Google.

At some point, Marissa publicized her resume in 2016, which was soon critically assessed in public by a number of experts in the recruitment industry. (starring Rosa Elisabeth Vergas and Bruce M. Anderson) To some, her resume was impeccable and became an inspiration for millions of professionals active in the job market. To others, it lacked strategy and structure, and could never become a part of a viable professional development strategy.

The template of Mayer’s CV was soon copied and adopted by millions of job seekers around the globe, who made this pitch a part of their professional development plan. However, what is the truth about this CV? If you copy the template, will you skyrocket your career and land jobs in a blink of an eye? Or perhaps, it’s quite the opposite: your application will get drowned in the pile of other applications and become invisible in the job market?

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If I Copy Marissa Mayer’s CV Template, Will I Be Repetitive In The Job Market? Or Perhaps, It Will Give Me More Career Options?

Well, it seems that there is a pitfall in following Marissa Mayers pitch. And, it is NOT just about the fact that many professionals chose to use this template. In fact, the recruitment industry is quite conservative. It doesn’t matter whether your application documents are innovative in form, or whether they are visually impressive. Of course, in some areas of the job market, such as marketing or design, it is beneficial to stand out when it comes to formatting CVs. However, in most circumstances, a clean and aesthetic CV is good enough. It is all about the content.

And, the content is the whole issue here. But, to better understand why Marissa Mayer’s CV template is NOT good for you, we need to first talk about who Marissa Mayer is.

On Marissa Mayer’s Professional Curriculum.

Firstly, Marissa is far from being yet another job hunter. She first graduated from Stanford University, where she studied symbolic systems, which combined Computer Science, Philosophy, Cognitive Psychology, and Linguistics.

Then, she started her professional career in 1999 as… the twentieth employee of Google where she was coding and managing small teams. She was soon promoted to a Product Manager and then to the head of Consumer Web Products in the company. She also actively contributed to Google’s flagship AdWords algorithm.

In 2002, she started a mentoring program within Google, in essence, the Associate Product Manager program. Each year, she embarked a large group of junior employees onto a two-year program, where they had extra assignments and evening classes with the intention to work on their career paths and become future leaders. She played crucial roles in many of Google’s key initiatives, including Gmail, Google Search, Google Images, Google News, Google Maps, Google Books, Google Toolbar, and iGoogle.

In 2005, she was promoted to the Vice President of Search Products and User Experience. While working at Google, she was still serving as an academic teacher at Stanford. In 2012, she started her service as the CEO and President of Yahoo! In 2017, she left the company and established Sunshine Labs (previously, Lumi Labs) with her ex-colleague. The company is focused on applying Artificial Intelligence to consumer products.

So, Why Is Marissa Mayer’s CV Not Applicable to Your Career Development?

Well, Marissa Mayer is clearly famous. Her publicized and broadly discussed CV comes from the times when she worked as the CEO and President of Yahoo!. As such, she was a well-known figure — if not a role model! — to all hiring managers working in the IT industry in the Bay Area. If someone like Marissa Mayer ever came to the job interview, the company management would learn her story and prepare for the interview — and not the other way around as it typically is!

And this is what Mayer’s CV clearly reflects. Firstly, her CV misses crucial pieces of information about her prior achievements and professional skills. She doesn’t need to mention any of it as she has a status of a star—but you do! Secondly, she takes a specific tone in her CV. Namely, some elements of her pitch are absolutely unnecessary and can serve as a clear example of humble bragging. If you copy her style, your application will land in a dustbin in no time.

Let’s get more into detail.

What Marissa Mayer’s CV Misses.

There is the whole list of things!

1. Lack of a professional profile.

Mayer doesn’t link to any professional profile such as a LinkedIn page or a personal website. The only page she refers to is her personal blog where she talks about her own impressions about her work and shares stories from her personal life. In real-world situations, such information would not tell much to the recruiter as it does not give a clear overview of your professional history or skills. It is a type of content that famous people can place on their CV to warm up their public image rather than to demonstrate what they can do, professionally.

2. Selective choice of achievements.

She skipped all the projects she completed or was actively involved in Google. Mayer was one of the driving horses of the company for 13 years and contributed to almost all the flagship products and services, yet, she only mentioned her list of positions. 

In reality, the building blocks of your career are not your positions — these are your projects. Most companies give their employers pompous position titles today. You can become a director of the department even in a small startup where you will be working with one person under you. Position titles don’t mean anything anymore and don’t reflect your career advancement . 

Moreover, many employees today change jobs chasing after better salaries and mercilessly drop their projects halfway—which poses a huge challenge to employers. It is not the best career development strategy. The recruiter and the hiring manager want to know that you are not a quitter and that you have a long list of successfully completed projects behind your belt. If you seek more career options, you should focus on completing projects and proudly communicate them to your potential employers.

3. Lack of a list of top professional skills.

Mayer can afford to skip her professional skills from her CV as her fame and her Wikipedia page both talk in her name. She doesn’t need to talk about her skills and values, as she made billions for Google. For any hiring manager out there, these credentials are good enough.

In real-world situations, however, recruiters search for the list of hard and soft skills to figure out how you perceive yourself as a professional. Today, companies receive so many CVs per position that the documents are often prescreened with automated software. If your CV doesn’t contain keywords that are sought, you can forget about getting invited to the interview.

4. Lack of the mission statement.

Mayer introduces herself as a “Business Woman and Proud Geek.” In real-world stations, this is not enough. What is your mission as a professional? It could be a statement like this:

“Fifteen years of a professional career as a leader and a manager in sales. Experienced in building cross-cultural teams, developing projects from scratch to launch, and coaching junior staff. An adaptable professional with a proven sales record, able to work under pressure and in changing markets.”

The Spurious Elements in Marissa Mayer’s CV.

And now, let’s talk a little bit about the elements of this famous CV that are absolutely unnecessary and will likely do more harm than good in your job application process.

1. The photo.

Mayer lives and works in the US, and in this job market, placing a photo in your CV is not even acceptable. She can do it because she is a public figure and wherever she applies, the hiring manager will know her face. For “regular people,” the rules are different. You need to adjust to the local standards, and in many countries, showing your face in a CV will lead to an instant elimination.

2. The figure showing the division of your time into various areas of your life.

In practice, nobody cares how much time you spend with your children or whether or not you are into cupcakes. Your private life shouldn’t even be a matter of discussion in the job interview in the first place. The fact that Mayer puts this figure here, is an example of humble bragging. The meaning is: “I am so successful yet I still have time for everything important in life. I won my life.” To sum up, if you place such a figure in your CV, it won’t make any good impression at all.

3. Typos.

Hard to believe but this succinct and professionally looking CV contains typos, such as “Pale Alto” instead of “Palo Alto” or double space in the phrase “hard times at Yahoo!” Details of course, but for a person who works as a President of Yahoo! and whose net worth is about $600 million, it is still surprising that the formatting of a CV is not perfect.

Summary: Is Marissa Mayer’s CV Just Bad? Some Job Interview Tips.

No, it isn’t bad at all! The point is: this CV serves well to a famous person. She earned her status through taking risks and hard work. Now, she occupies a unique position in the job market where she can afford to ignore the conventional recruitment process and dictate her own terms.

However, whatever works for Marissa Mayer, won’t work for mere mortals. You need to take it into account while applying for jobs and working on your professional development strategy. Remember that it doesn’t matter all that much how your CV looks — the content is what matters, and you need to show the recruiter that you, as a professional who works on your own career path, are tailor-made for the position. And, you need to be yourself not Marissa Mayer. Good luck!

Please cite as:

Bielczyk, N. (2021, September, 14th). Perfect CV and Why It Is NOT Perfect For You: Marissa Mayer’s Story. Retrieved from

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