Author Topic: Creating a CV  (Read 1246 times)

valkyrie

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Creating a CV
« on: June 23, 2020, 03:43:02 pm »
It looks like I'm going to be needing an up to date CV in the near future. It's a long time since I last had to write one and I hate doing it - never know what format to use or what info to include. Anyone got any recommendations for good sites/tools/templates to make the process less painful?
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citoyen

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Re: Creating a CV
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2020, 04:07:43 pm »
The only advice I would give is keep it all on a single side of A4.

There are a few exceptions to this rule - eg if you're in academia, which seems to require several pages of qualifications and publications. But generally, one page is enough for most people. It's a summary of your career, not your answer to David Copperfield.

Re: Creating a CV
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2020, 04:13:12 pm »
Write your own.

Templates and downloaded ones tend to stick out and not in a good way, you have a side of A4 to demonstrate your personality as well as your ability, you don't want it to look the same as someone else. If you need inspiration then look at various templates but use the bits you like from each and do your best to create one that is personal.
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Jaded

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Re: Creating a CV
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2020, 04:19:58 pm »
You should collect together a list of your experiences, your achievements and your skills.

This forms the basis for any CV that you put out there.

Then, when you apply to a job you pick the skills, experiences and achievements that best fit the job you are applying for, and best demonstrate that you can do it. You can list these under the jobs that you have done, if relevant.

Career history is more important than education or computer skills. It should come right near the beginning.

Fundamentally, never forget that the recruiting company is looking for someone that fits their needs. If your CV (and application letter) doesn't match their needs, you probably won't get any further.
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Re: Creating a CV
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2020, 04:22:29 pm »
The only advice I would give is keep it all on a single side of A4.


^^^ This. Edit down and edit down till it works. If you are of a Certain Age, education level is all that is needed.

Then, write a cover letter that shows you are interested the company and that your  skills fit the job. Be enthusiastic and use positive voice throughout.

You need to (a) get through the CV selection process and (b) show yourself as different from others to get shortlisted

Good luck with it all.

Re: Creating a CV
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2020, 05:19:15 pm »
And yet when I made a CV for one of my Open University engineering modules (Professional development in engineering or somesuch) the tutor marked me down for putting work experience first and academic stuff second.

Needless to say I ignored him when it came to actually using said CV for applying to jobs.

But yeah, keep it succinct and relevent and accept that for a lot of jobs they'll ask for a CV but then also require you to duplicate everything on there on their own application website/app.
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ian

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Re: Creating a CV
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2020, 05:23:30 pm »
It probably depends on field, but as said, one page of A4. Clean and easy to read. White space is your powerful ally. And don't cheat by using a 4pt font. Fewer words are better. Margins, line and paragraph spacing, bullet points.

Put the important stuff at the top. That's the headline. What you'd be bringing and why. The prove it with some relevant experience. This should be pitched to support the headline, not just a list of places you've worked. These are sub-headlines, not essays. Don't lie unless you're really good at it.

No one starts reading at the bottom, yet the number of CVs I see that run in chronological order from the past to the present (sometimes, it seems from the point of their conception onwards and detailing each meal that they've had since birth).

If you have a degree, I don't care what your GCSE and A level grades are. I don't care what achievement badges you got in the Brownies. It's super-fun to know that your hobbies include reading books and watching movies, please don't tell me more unless it's relevant to the application.

I mostly don't recruit these days, but I must have seen a million CVs. Best to assume that the person looking at them doesn't want to be looking at them and will dedicate far more time to enumerating all the things they'd rather be doing than contemplating your petition for employment. You need to eek your way into their limited attention.

Qualifications and experience don't always stand out. That's generally tick-box stuff, if you're recruiting, you know what you want and HR in any big company will be screening on that basis. So it's a case of standing out. A well-laid-out CV will catch my eye, clear articulation will ensure I read it. I want to see an ability to communicate and express ideas clearly, concisely, and relevantly. One which, of course, that I never bring to my posts here. But I'm the boss, so ner-ner.
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Re: Creating a CV
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2020, 05:41:14 pm »
Another idea, optional but I quite like it especially with younger applicants, is a short strapline at the top: "A skilled, experienced and motivated widget wrangler, focussed on excellence" or whatever.

Mrs Pingu

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Re: Creating a CV
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2020, 06:12:55 pm »
Sorry to hear that. No more tequila building trips in the current climate I guess.

If you have a degree, I don't care what your GCSE and A level grades are. I don't care what achievement badges you got in the Brownies. It's super-fun to know that your hobbies include reading books and watching movies, please don't tell me more unless it's relevant to the application.

I mostly don't recruit these days, but I must have seen a million CVs. Best to assume that the person looking at them doesn't want to be looking at them and will dedicate far more time to enumerating all the things they'd rather be doing than contemplating your petition for employment. You need to eek your way into their limited attention.


You also need to balance the one off against the other. Don't get the wrong sort of attention that will see you filed under 'B'.
I saw some right crackers recently. One of them even informed me what the pet name of their guitar was.... I expect it's quite difficult to differentiate between 'endearingly eccentric' and 'complete weirdo' on paper.
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ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Creating a CV
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2020, 06:41:29 pm »
Most people seem to put 'like reading books and watching movies' which is nice and I agree, they're very good things to be doing, that's what I do, as I have no interesting hobbies and I'm quite a dull person. But I'm not sure where I am supposed to file this knowledge. I do spend a lot of time thinking I'm an undeaded redheaded vampire with meal-planning issues. I wouldn't put this on a CV*. It's quite possible that I am an undeaded redheaded vampire with meal-planning issues who thinks she's a mid-level salary drone. Though, honestly, she could do better.

There's the gurningly trying-hard stuff too. My hobby is breeding octopuses while flying helicopters. Upside down. OK, I would interview this person. Who doesn't want to know how octopuses, well, do it (if you're interested, I know). But they're usually not that interesting. Besides, the interview is where you're supposed to weed out potential work-place psychopaths, although all evidence would tend to suggest it's not very successful.

*I've not admittedly, written a CV in the last two decades, I got this job because I knew the owners of the company and they said, here, have a job. Then they got acquired by a bigger company that got acquired by a bigger company, that got sold off as a smaller company, and I clung on. So I'm not really qualified for anything. Which, I suspect, you already all know.
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Re: Creating a CV
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2020, 06:53:58 pm »
Depending on your background don’t dismiss Linked In as a more detailed “CV” online presence as well. If you are in a non professional career then feel free to ignore this.  But that’s where I update my experience etc whilst it’s fresh. Then I can pick and choose from “the source” if putting a particular CV together.

You can then always include a link to your online CV at the bottom of a more traditional paper CV, should you choose to.

Re: Creating a CV
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2020, 07:37:17 pm »
There's the gurningly trying-hard stuff too. My hobby is breeding octopuses while flying helicopters. Upside down. OK, I would interview this person.

The problem with that is when the potential psychopath turns out to do the best interview.  :facepalm:


Jaded

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Re: Creating a CV
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2020, 11:01:17 pm »
ian earlier said something like don’t lie unless you are good at lying.

He’s right, especially if I am interviewing. I pick on things in the CV, obscure things, like “I like taking photographs”, and I ask questions...

It is unfortunately surprising how many times candidates are unable to back up statements on CVS.
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fd3

Re: Creating a CV
« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2020, 11:36:03 pm »
I think the "abstract" at the start is a good plan, tailor to the job ofc.
I would say jobs first, then education/training.  IMM a long list of training courses suggests you're either trying too hard or have a thing about recording 2-day training events; much better to describe next to job/course what you learnt/did that is relevant to job.
In other interests I would avoid the "enjoy listening to music, films, socialising and reading" as that's basically saying "I'm not a fucking psycho who just sits and stares at the walls of an evening".  Better to put in things that are specific and you have history with (e.g. season ticket holder, yacf member, CAMRA member, etc.).
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Re: Creating a CV
« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2020, 09:09:21 am »
If you're applying to large organisations or via agencies, expect them to scan your CV and use algorithms to find key words and filter the 100's of applications they get mercilessly using a dumb computer.  In short, you need to optimise your CV for search engine.

Re: Creating a CV
« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2020, 09:17:52 am »
The only advice I would give is keep it all on a single side of A4.

There are a few exceptions to this rule - eg if you're in academia, which seems to require several pages of qualifications and publications. But generally, one page is enough for most people. It's a summary of your career, not your answer to David Copperfield.

Please don't do this, unless you are a 20 year old who has had one job.

I (well, until we slowed down on recruiting) evaluate and recruit 3-4 people a year. That means evaluating 20-30 CVs a time and interviewing usually 3 per position.

One page CVs are useless. Give no idea of a person's career.

Front page needs to have personal details plus contact details. DO include phone number, email address and house address.

Also put on front page a summary of your skills. A bullet list is fine, make sure that the relevant skills are at the top (if you are applying for a C++ programming job and you are a C++  programmer, put 'Experienced C++ programmer as the first item). In any programming or technical job, add experience of planning methodologies, particularly Agile.

If you have a degree, state that in the personal details under 'education'.

List your career, most recent first. General dates (don't need to be to the day), job title, very brief statement of duties or role description. If you were employed by somewhere for a long time (10years or so), describe progression in the company but keep it brief.

Having a linked in profile helps a lot.


Don'ts
Put your age. If you are very young, it counts against you. If you are over 45, it counts against you. Just leave it off.
Don't give a long rambling description of your life (I enjoy reading books, looking after my children, I am a proactive team member ...  just don't put this sort of stuff in there). If you have interesting hobbies, maybe state them but be brief. Try to sound interesting. If you have a hobby relevant to the job posting, mention it.
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citoyen

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Re: Creating a CV
« Reply #16 on: June 24, 2020, 09:37:28 am »
One page CVs are useless. Give no idea of a person's career.

That may depend on your area. I did acknowledge that there are exceptions to the rule, eg academia.

Certainly in my line of work, longer than one page is unnecessary, and I reckon the rule holds true for most people.

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Creating a CV
« Reply #17 on: June 24, 2020, 09:39:47 am »
I would suggest you are an outlier, I've never heard of anyone who wants multi-page CVs. If there's additional back-up material we'll ask for it. If your life requires more than a page, I reckon it's the sort of giddy excitement that requires a memoir. Anyone that has worked dozens of places, I'd worry about. One thing everyone looks at is tenure, a long list of jobs with a few months at each is a red flag if it's recent – it's certain going to bring up question at interview, if things get that far. But then, if you're 50, I'm not especially interested about what part-time jobs you did as a student.

Everything gets pre-screened anyway, probably by the recruitment agencies we use, and once again by HR. No CV ever arrives on my subdeck desk without molestation. For all I know, they throw the best CVs away, it would explain a few things.
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citoyen

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Re: Creating a CV
« Reply #18 on: June 24, 2020, 09:46:42 am »
For all I know, they throw the best CVs away, it would explain a few things.

This definitely happens and is a source of great frustration. We have a 'talent acquisition' person, who thinks he knows better than me the detailed requirements of the position I'm recruiting for... FFS.


ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Creating a CV
« Reply #19 on: June 24, 2020, 10:00:10 am »
I would love to see the unadulterated pile for any position, but they don't share, it's 'company policy.' They're supposed to follow the requirements you send, but there's plenty of room for interpretation, and really HR* are the least qualified to do any kind of interpretation. I've met lots of people – good people, the best people – who have pointed out oh, I applied for...  and didn't hear back and despite them being ideally qualified and the sort of candidate I'd kill for, I never bloody saw their CV. I've also had the conversation you should have applied for, you'd have been great to receive the but I did!

We apparently have some sort of 'AI assessment' process for CVs that they made a big fuss about a year or two back. I don't doubt for a moment it's a group of people in a sweaty office somewhere in India and some half-arsed keyword extraction software.

The moral of that story is that, if you know the position, be sure to send a copy of your CV to the person responsible and don't just rely on the official route.

*yes, also badged as 'talent acquisition' and 'business partners.'
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Jaded

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Re: Creating a CV
« Reply #20 on: June 24, 2020, 10:12:28 am »
Slightly off-topic, but the Personnel Director of an important manufacturing co was visiting a tough inner-city estate in my city, and was told by the group of residents that they really struggled to get jobs. He said he thought that his company didn't get any applications from this housing estate, but he'd investigate.

HR were first-sifting applications from the postcodes in the estate.

It was quite discriminatory practice and it ended there...
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Re: Creating a CV
« Reply #21 on: June 24, 2020, 10:49:28 am »
Everything gets pre-screened anyway, probably by the recruitment agencies we use, and once again by HR. No CV ever arrives on my subdeck desk without molestation. For all I know, they throw the best CVs away, it would explain a few things.
Definitely.  The agency looks for key words because they don't know the subject, HR again looks for key words but probably things like the dreaded "team player"; so only if the CV of the fantastically suitable candidate contains these key words will you even get to see the CV.  Fortunately I retired early 10 years ago, but that was a source of annoyance to me for 20 years before that.  Fortunately most of the jobs I took in that time were through recommendation.

A one sheet CV contains nothing of use in my fields (Electronics/Avionics/Certification). 30 years ago we were told that the front sheet should contain personal and educational and skills information preceded by a short (3 or 4 line max) precis of experience relevant to the job you are applying for.  After that listing companies and jobs are in reverse chronological order with detailing much reduced for the old ones.  In my case, 2 sides of A4 to cover several companies and 40 years.

Without this level of information, how could I conduct an interview, by which I mean a proper technical interview not a modern namby pamby HR interview consisting of questions such as "describe  a situation when"  -"how would you react if ". which look for that dreaded "team player" instead of somebody capable of original thought.

Re: Creating a CV
« Reply #22 on: June 24, 2020, 11:03:25 am »
What tatanab said.

Certainly it will vary according to employment sector.

CVs coming to me get screened by recruitment agency, then my manager.

For someone with experience, applying for IT/technology  jobs, personal details plus skills will take up most of the first page.
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fboab

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Re: Creating a CV
« Reply #23 on: June 24, 2020, 11:19:01 am »
Just make sure your CV is tailored for the job you're going for. It's demoralising how many CVs I see don't reference enough things the job spec asks for.

One job I even highlighted the relevant skills in my employment history so they didn't even have to read the full (concise, natch) paragraphs.

Good luck. There's going to be a lot of folks in your boat. We've just hired someone whose start date is currently woolly while they wait to hear about redundancy. There isn't a single appropriate vacancy for me locally, when I got this job 12 months ago there were half a dozen good opportunities and another half dozen possibles.
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ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Creating a CV
« Reply #24 on: June 24, 2020, 11:22:05 am »
I think this explains my inbox. Technical people really can't communicate succinctly or clearly. Honestly, I'm pretty sure some of them are passing it through Google Translate a couple of times before hitting send.

My super-exciting product platform has about 65 technical people across five squads, and I'm quite sure they hate me every time I say, that's nice, what actually does it mean without using those words. They double hate me because I make them use 'plain language' and often use the phrase tell me precisely what you mean. I occasionally feel the knitting needles stab deep into the little ian doll they've constructed. Well, I think it's me, it could just be a stuffed hamster. They're not good at crafts either. Imagine I'm stupid, I tell them. It's not like it should be a stretch. No imagination.
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