It’s that time of the year when all the bright-eyed, freshly graduated candidates are looking for their first role out of university…ah, to be that young again!
It has drawn to my attention the fact that CV writing does not get taught to anyone- at any age- which is a travesty! So I’d like to take it upon myself to help out with this in my own little way and get some tips, tricks, and checklists out there to help you write a great technical CV and land your perfect role.
Because of my experience in technical, IT recruitment- particularly for developers- my advice will be targeted at this sector- IT in general, with a slant towards developer CVs; other sectors may have their own nuances that I am not qualified to advise on.
As this is a blog, I’ll give some initial need-to-know info in here, but I want to ask what you guys would like to know, to help guide me in writing a proper article on the subject- with screenshots, graphics…the whole shebang! So, tell me, what would you like to know about writing a CV to get noticed?
To start you off on the right track, here are some basic, but nevertheless, essential points to remember when writing your technical CV (at any age):
It doesn’t have to be 2 pages long. There, I said it. I don’t know where this myth has come from, but I swear that everyone gets told this at some point in their life and it’s just not true. Granted, there will be some companies or positions that stipulate particular requirements that may include how long to make your CV, but it’s only in these pre-defined circumstances that you need to keep it to 2 pages. As long as you’ve got your CV jam-packed with interesting, relevant content, most employers won’t complain at being handed a 3-4 page CV! All that said, if you hand over a 9-page marathon read, the chances are that they won’t go through it all- most employers just don’t have the time!
It’s checklist time…
Make sure that you have the following in your CV:
- That leads me nicely into my next point; don’t include skills on your CV that are no longer relevant and that you don’t want recruiters to contact you about. It is unrealistic to expect that really eager recruiter to intuitively know that you hate PL/SQL and never want to see it again when your CV implies that it’s something you’re capable with!
- A technical skills list/ matrix. As mentioned above, this should be full of relevant skills you have and want to show off. I would advise putting some context in there with it; how long you’ve used each technology, where you got the experience from (academic/ commercial/ personal project), and how good you feel you are at each (you can use a key, table or even colours for this bit).
- No gaps! Any unspecified time between employment really needs to be explained, rather than being left to the readers’ imagination.
- Include a blurb under each role you’ve had that includes detail on projects you’ve been involved with, tech you’ve used there, and any achievements you’re proud of whilst being there. Recruiters (and employers) love snappy bullet points, and people can’t always deduce key details from overly-rambly sentences, so don’t waffle…because no ones likes a waffler…so try and keep it succinct…which is a synonym for short…and that is the opposite of long…and rambly.
- For graduates, include info on your university modules that you liked and/or did well at, your dissertation and other major projects, skills you’ve picked up there, achievements you’re proud of whilst being there.
- A link to your GitHub/ portfolio/ website- every employer will love to see work that you’ve done, obviously!
- Relevant hobbies. If you are the type to tinker with the home network, mess around with Arduino or Raspberry Pi, or read lots of techie books/ blogs/ articles/ forums then let us know! I particularly like reading this section of peoples’ CVs as it gives me an insight into the type of person you are, and, to a certain extent, how passionate you are about your field. More and more employers are wising up to how your hobbies can inspire you at work, so it may just snag you that interview that you wanted!
So there we go- your very short introduction to how to write an outstanding CV for the tech world. I hope it helps 🙂
And remember; ask me questions on stuff you’d like to know about CV writing, and I’ll include it in an upcoming article!