Friday, 31 August 2007

What do I put in a CV

I've been helping someone with a few pointers to help make their CV stand out. Thought I'd share my thoughts:

  • Don't show collected skills, demonstrate usage of them. Many CV's try to throw in words but don't show how the skills were used. Remember that you need to actually use a skills to have it. Keep your core skills sharp.
  • Show money savings as a result of your involvement. In the UK we often are involved in money making or saving organisations. Try to show your value add. If you don't know the real numbers, show percentages. e.g. I saved approximately 10% on build time by removing dependencies between libraries
  • Step back and try to see your CV as grids and lines and think about design and layout. There is a good article on coding horror showing that more about general website design. I think the same layout rules apply to CV writing when you want to lead the reader down the page and into areas of focus. Naturally content is important, but so is the feel of the CV.
  • Remember you have soft skills too. Think about your consultative angle (communication, leadership, negotiating). Use these words within your CV.
  • Show passion. David Intersimone wrote a blog post a while back explaining that he'd pick a person with less skills but more passion for IT than a person with more skills but less passion. The passionate employee will usually go the extra mile and usually pull more rabbits from hats. If you are passionate about IT, drop a little bit of this spice into your CV and remember a little goes a long way.
  • Walk away for a while. Leave your CV alone for a few days, print it, then sit down for a 1/2 hour and read it with renewed vigour and a fresh head. A good CV should read smoothly like a good book. Make sure that others will enjoy reading your CV.

Hope these tips are a little more off the wall than the typicals ones you see.

What do you think makes a good CV?

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