Tim Hudson | 27 August 2021
Make sure you list your work history in reverse-chronological order (most recent first). Track everything you do whilst employed. LinkedIn is great for this, you can add sections to employment, add hackathons you've competed in and certificates you hold. The main thing is that you have a record somewhere of everything you've worked on relative to your domain and when you did it. All the work projects, all the courses, all the team-building exercises, everything. It helps you in the long run.
To break this section down, I’ve outlined the key concepts:
Company: the full name of the company and preferably the team you worked on – if it's just one project, maybe put the position you held alongside the company.
Tenure: how long were you employed here? Bear in mind, one of the biggest killers to a CV is rubbish tenure. If you've been employed at places for short periods, it doesn't always look great. Even within the contracting space, so if you have a legit reason for leaving that place, you can always list it underneath as "reason for leaving".
Location: what city did you work in, or were you remote?
Projects: list every project you worked on throughout the time at all the companies you've been employed at. If you contributed towards something, list it, if you were the only person in the company working on it, list it. Employers like to see where you've been using your skills
Position: what position did you hold in each of these projects? It's not uncommon that you'll be promoted if you stay somewhere for long enough. Maybe you made it to lead engineer and led a small team? Maybe you started out as an intern and worked your way you. Make it clear.
Technologies: what technologies did you use on these projects. This is often where CV's get caught out, so make sure it matches your skills section. If you say you've used React for four years, but it only shows as two years on your skills section, that's going to stand out like Donald Trump at a World Peace Conference.
There is no need to go as far back as kindergarten here. I think it's safe to assume that if you went to university, you did well at school. Maybe you've done some courses that are relevant to your position and by all means add them in, but we don't need to know about the first aid course you did in 2005.
Here's a simple method to lay out your education:
Name of the establishment
Name of the course you studied
How long you were there for
The result you recieved.
I would largely say this is optional, but it's nice to have and does give the reader a positive impression. It can also save some time when it comes to reference checks.
Here’s how to layout your references:
Name of the referee
Contact phone number and email
Where they worked with you
Their relationship to you.
Try not to go with any crazy fonts. Sure, they look cool, but people are weird, and some fonts hurt my brain. I'm sure it's the same for other people. Calibri, Ariel, you don't need an amazing font to make your CV stand out.
Evenly distributing your content across the CV is visually pleasing. Make sure it's spaced evenly between each section and job title, etc. and keep the text at a consistent size. Headings should be bigger, dates for tenure can be smaller, but as long as it's consistent, that's good. Think of HTML headers H1-H6.
Make sure any tables of content are even.
Try not to cram too much information into one space. It's not true what they say about a single-page CV. I'd rather read a 6-page CV easily, than a 1-page CV painfully, but if your content does fit on one page with ease, go nuts.
Digital CV's – I actually think this is becoming more and more common. Just bear in mind that a lot of companies use portals to view candidates, and these portals often require a PDF or Word document upload.
In terms of adding an artistic approach to your CV, absolutely fine, go to town on that CV. I'm all for colour and creativity, but I've definitely disregarded CVs because there's too much going on.
Everybody loves bullet points.
Avoid getting too personal. There's a whole interview designated for culture, save your Pub-Quiz accolades for that.
Explain your rubbish tenure. Did you have a 6-month gap between roles? Why?
Check, double-check and triple-check for grammar. Got a Grammar-Nazi friend? Their only use on planet earth is to check documents. I should have probably done the same for this document.
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