Upgrade your CV
No matter what plans you have for your next step, assignment or job, having a great CV is crucial to getting there. Here at The House of Appril we see lots of really good resumes during the week, but unfortunately also some that could do with some extra attention. Oftentimes, we see CV’s that are on the right track, but could benefit from a couple of really easy hacks. Even as an experienced ‘CV writer’ you can use these hacks. How? In this blog you can read all about hacking your CV. Use them, you only got one chance to make a great first impression.
Ask for help
If you have been working on your resume for a while, it is easy to miss some really obvious ‘mistakes’. A fresh look from a friend is helpful to spot the details that need improving. Not only to spot factual, or spelling mistakes but also to spot a clumsy lay out, or important details about yourself that you forgot to mention.
Write about where you want to be
Does your CV still match your dreams and ambitions, and is it up-to-date? Sometimes it is good to think about the titles and jargon that you use? For example: if you want to work towards getting a ‘Lead’ position, but you don’t have that experience yet, it is worth taking a close look at previous projects and your role in them. That way you might be able to point at occasions where you took the lead or saw opportunities no one else did at the time.
It is also a good idea to use job titles that show your ambition like: ”Senior app developer with lead ambition”. This way you show where your ambitions lay.
Make a basic Curriculum Vitae with your personal details and educational background, but tailor other details to the company and position you are applying for. Complimentary to this, use the same jargon in your motivation letter as the company uses in their vacancy text. This shows that you understand the position, took the time to read the vacancy carefully and that you are enthusiastic about the position.
Let’s get practical
- Start with your title, name and address/ contact details
- Put your name in the header of your CV. This makes it easy for HR to pick you out of the pile
- Use a ‘grown-up’ email address ( Tommy.email@example.com rather than firstname.lastname@example.org )
- Use hyperlinks in your resume, this encourages recruiters to take a look at your blog or social media channels
- If you have any good references, be sure to mention them. Don’t forget contact your referees beforehand
CV With or without picture?
Should you put a picture of yourself on your resume? We find that a CV including a photo is the most commonly used nowadays. A simple portrait is fine for this, no need to make a formal passport-like picture. On the other hand, don’t be too casual either: party-pics are definitely a no-go.
Something we don’t see often in CV’s, but that is really important: get personal! Introduce yourself in a few, punchy, sentences. Talk about your way of working, what you find important in your job. What it is that drives you, or what your thoughts on teamwork are. Keep it to 5 sentences and you’re guaranteed to leave a great first impression if you do this well.
Experience and education
Use reverse chronology in this part. Start with your most recent job and work your way back. Mention the name of your employer, start and end-date and the precise position that you held with a short description of your responsibilities.
Mentioning your skills and specific knowledge on your resume helps you to stand out from the crowd. Mention specific programming languages that you know, or other types of skills that might help you be successful in the position that you are applying for.
Last, but not least
Make your CV easy to read and ‘scan through’. Use (sub) headers, a logical build-up and a layout that is easy on the eyes. Fortunately, most of the CVS’s that we read already have this.
‘Don’ts’ when writing a resume
- TMI: too much information. Don’t make your CV any longer than 2 pages
- Leaving Gaps in your CV. Always try to explain any gaps that you might have. Did you take a gap-year or a sabbatical? Mention it!
- Forgetting educational history. Always mention the degrees and certificates you acquired
- Being too hasty. After writing, put your document aside and come back to it the next day. This clears your mind and helps you spot errors and general points of improvement
- Forgetting your personal introduction. Always write one!
- A sloppy layout
- Going solo. Always have your resume checked by a second pair of fresh eyes
If you work in tech (like most of our readers do) don’t forget to mention your Github account. It is a good opportunity to show off what you are capable of and what kind of programmer you are.