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Dave Russell 03/09/2017

How to Create a Great Developer CV in 11 steps


If you’re considering changing roles anytime soon, no doubt you’re in touch with recruiters and looking up jobs online. You might have even seen a few roles that caught your eye, but there’s one small thing holding you back from applying – your out of date CV and your complete lack of enthusiasm to do anything about it. And so, you find yourself with the Sunday night fear and the Monday blues, all because of a few A4 pages.

At Rockfort Recruitment, we know all too well that this is a common issue for jobseekers and it can be a huge hurdle for some people. But the good news is that we have a 11 top tips that we give to our candidates and it helps them create a great, eye catching CV in very little time. Check out our tips below:

1.     Skimmed in 30 seconds

First things first: Your CV is skimmed in 30 seconds or less either by the recruiter or by the HR manager. It does not have to be a 600 word Pultizer prize winning novel.

2.     Sell, sell, sell

Your CV is really a sales pitch that conveys quickly and clearly what you can do for the organisation. It might take a few edits to remove the fluff and padding, and to hone everything down to the most impressive elements of your career to date, but it will stand to you in the long run.

Above all else, if you can show how you would be an asset to any organisation, with some commercially minded savvy points, this will jump off the page. For example, in this Quora discussion, Leo Polovets says “my resume mentions that I sped up one of LinkedIn’s core algorithms by 200x. Even though that happened at the very beginning of my career, I would say something like 60% of interviewers ask me about that single bullet point and nothing else…people are curious and will ask you about the most interesting things on your resume.”

3.     Tailor your CV to the job description

We see this all the time – jobseekers see a job that excites them and they are in such a rush to apply that they just attach their generic / one size fits all CV, send it off and hope for the best. We hate to say it but generic CVs don’t stand out.

Instead of firing off applications immediately, email a copy of the job to yourself. Later that evening, take a good read through of the job description:

  • Highlight what is essential
  • Take note of what is ‘desirable’ or ‘a bonus’ in terms of skills and experience
  • Where do you score highly? What is your evidence of this?
  • Write up your evidence in succinct bullet points
  • Then start editing these to your CV and remove unnecessary elements from your CV

At first you might feel that it’s a bit too time consuming, but when you start getting called for more interviews, you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes. Remember, recruiters and HR managers are consistently looking for the best match for any role that they’re working on, but they only have 30 seconds to skim the CV. Make their life easier by having a tailored CV.

4.     Opening personal profile

An opening personal profile is becoming very popular, but it is also incredibly important for creating a first impression for the reader. There’s no need to overthink this profile. It’s just a few lines on your skills and experience to date, and any personal characteristics that you feel are relevant to the role. This goes at the very top of page one.

5.     Gaps in my employment history

There’s a balancing act required between showing how your career has developed over time, and leaving out unnecessary roles that are totally irrelevant to the job that you are applying for.

There is no need to list every single role or responsibility that you have ever had. Be selective here. Only include items that will increase your chance of getting called for interview.

For example, some candidates don’t want any gaps in their CV and so they add in five farming / hospitality jobs from when they were in Australia for a year after university.  But these jobs are taking up space on the CV and have absolutely no relevance to the current role. It’s perfectly fine to omit these roles. If the interviewers want to know about the gap in your CV, they will ask you, and you will be prepared for that

6.    What was the name of my degree again?

ALWAYS double check the name of the qualification that you have.

Don’t call it ‘Computer Engineering Degree’ when the official title is ‘BSc in Computer Science and Software Engineering’.

Recruiters and HR managers are always looking for attention to detail. Not knowing the correct name of your qualification could be seen as sloppiness.

7.     LinkedIn

Four  things to note for LinkedIn.

  • Definitely add in a url link to your LinkedIn profile in your CV – but update your LinkedIn profile first!
  • Do you know about the ‘Sharing profile edits’ button? If this button is set to ‘Yes’, as soon as you edit anything on your profile and hit save, these changes appear on the public feed. If you don’t want your current organisation to know that you are updating your LinkedIn profile, turn this button off. You can find it at the end of the ‘Edit Intro’ box or in the Privacy section in settings (look for Sharing profile edits and switch this to off).
  • Your CV and your LinkedIn profile should be identical in relation to start and end dates of employment, roles and responsibilities.
  • There is a lot more scope with LinkedIn to add in more details and links to previous projects as you are not constricted to a few pages of A4 paper like you are with your CV. There’s also opportunity to add in more details about any voluntary projects. Also, you can easily add or link to external documents such as websites, videos and presentation which shows living, breathing examples of your work. This is great feature and if you can make good use of it, it will definitely work towards getting your profile to stand out.

8.    Github / personal website  

If you have a github link, definitely add that link to your CV. Likewise, add in a link to your personal website if there is some good work there. And be prepared to talk about these in an interview

9.    Spelling

We might live in the era of incredibly advanced technologies and have self-driving cars, but spelling mistakes and typos in CVs can still cloud your application in doubt.

The best thing to do is to (a) not trust the spellcheck on your computer (b) print out the document and read over it in detail (c) ask a friend / family member to read over it. There are always sneaky typos that make it through. Never underestimate the power of fresh eyes in finding typos.

10.  Formatting

Again, the simple concept of formatting can make or break your application. Why? It’s all down to those 30 seconds of skimming.

Simple and consistent formatting: text size for headers, margins, bold and bullet points are all signposts that help the reader navigate their way through your CV. They see hundreds of CVs every day, and while you might know your own CV inside, they don’t. Make their job easier by having clean, consistent and simple formatting that guides them along your career journey so far.

11.   Don’t lie

When you are called for interview, be prepared to see your CV printed out and in the hands of the interviewers. It be quite weird when this happens. And suddenly you realise, that they majority of the questions that they’re going to ask will all be about your CV.

When you are preparing for interview, you have to have an answer prepared for everything on your CV. After all, you wrote it.  And if you have lied about anything (or exaggerated the level of responsibility, fluffed start and end dates of jobs, or created made up interests) – you will be caught out. It’s just easier for everyone if you don’t do lie.

If this list is already causing you to break out in a cold sweat, don’t panic. We work with all of our candidates on their CVs and offer free advice on career moves and IT salaries in the Cork region. If you feel like having a 100% confidential chat about changing roles or just need a professional review of your CV just email info@rockfortrecruitment.com


Dave Russell

Rockfort Recruitment
+353 (0)21 2061649
info@rockfortrecuitment.com

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