Job applicants seeking technology jobs often make basic spelling and grammar mistakes while writing their CVs. Some even misspell the name of the technologies and products they're meant to be experts in, which might be why 23 per cent of people admit they get someone else to write their CV. Recruiters said there were five …
"If you can't be arsed tailoring your CV to the vacancy..."
I may spend an hour writing a covering letter, but I will NOT change my CV.
My CV gives an overview of my experience and capabilities, if these are considered to be "not relevant" then the recruiters can swivel on it. I don't apply to jobs I wouldn't be able to do.
It seems to me that job specs are so specific now that the only person 'properly qualified' to get the job, is the person who just left it. This is tragic, as some people have this stupid-ass thing they do called learning that SHOCK employers can use to their benefit! Imagine that, people can learn. Wouldn't have fucking guessed it would you?
Furthermore, I actually take pride in sending off a CV and covering letter without spelling errors. Do I ever get an email back from anyone? No I fucking don't.
Re: "If you can't be arsed tailoring your CV to the vacancy..."
Pretty much everything in this comment is correct. What a rarity.
re: if you can't be arsed...
I don't understand.... I've been a sysadmin and a developer. If I want to apply for a web-dev position, I could highlight that I'm also good with Photoshop, and so can help on both ends of a web site's development (a plus for small organizations that don't have a dedicated graphics dept).
If I apply for a sysadmin position, why would I waste valuable CV space rambling on about how I'm good with Photoshop? Who cares??
The man who applied for at job at my company telling us he had many years experience with Oracle Sewer.
That application got flushed away.
Or since I'm on the other side of the pond, My Favorite...
Some years ago when I was doing the preliminary screening of job applications for the local office of a very large Federal government agency (for a non technical position), I read one application which said the applicant's last job was as a custodian at Terminal Island. His reason for leaving that job? End of sentence.
Terminal Island is a Federal prison near Los Angeles, and he had just completed a sentence in prison, and was released on parole. He wasn't hired for the custodian job he applied for, not because he wasn't qualified, but because he couldn't pass the background check. The agency had a policy of not hiring anyone on probation or parole.
Think the IT sector is bad?
You should see the people who apply for jobs in publishing, especially consumer tech and videogames.
Innapropriate attire is a common one, I've seen candidates wearing army combat trousers. Baed speiling n gramer is also disappointingly commonplace. Except it's not just limited to CVs, have to read through terrible reviews and short stories, too.
Applicants include 17 year old kids with no experience or qualifications who want a job playing games, socially incompetent nerds with a fear of showering and utter mentalists. One chap threatened to sue if the company didn't return the awful fan fiction he'd used as a portfolio.
Paris 'cos she's frequently under-dressed.
Sometimes not the candidates' fault
I've seen more than a few CVs that were clearly hacked about by a recruitment consultant with no clue. And once or twice I've seen CVs where their job titles had clearly been rewritten to meet the job spec, despite the actual experience being for different jobs. Ended up with one very angry candidate when we pointed out what his recruitment consultant had done...
A lot of recruitment agencies are actually a barrier to getting/offering a job rather than an assistance. From the candidate's side, it's a pure box-ticking exercise to get folk into an interview and claim the cut. On the employer's side , they very rarely have a clue what you actually need, especially in techie jobs.
Full of shit too. I once had an agency phone me up out of the blue and offer me pretty much the exact job I was doing with a 5K rise. Turned out the job was actually at my company to join my team. I'd written the damn spec!
@Ja: "Full of shit too. I once had an agency phone me up out of the blue and offer me pretty much the exact job I was doing with a 5K rise. Turned out the job was actually at my company to join my team. I'd written the damn spec!"
... if it were me, I'd have applied ... just to see the look on my boss' face.
Well, did you get the raise for ditching some responsibility?
On another note, I'm amazed there aren't more companies just ditching recruiters and putting out ads themselves. Especially in Blighty. What's stopping them? Are HR departments to be assumed worse than recruiters?
I did apply - the extra 5K was pure fabrication by the agency. Boss went absolutely apeshit at them.
All the points given are basic interviewing advice, I'm surprised at some of the comments so far that try to argue against them. Well, actually not surprised, this is after all the Internet where people will argue against *anything*, particularly "IT Professionals" who are used to being more right than you.
Argue against anything?
Sir, I challenge that assertion!
"No clear demonstration of technical skills"
And if the recruiter starts asking about acronyms, you know you're in luck.
Not all recuiters are vultures
I once went for an interview arranged by a recruiter, the agency insisted I go into the agency offices for a "pre-flight check" before the job interview. I was glad I did, we did three mock interviews and they gave me quite a few pointers on my posture and poor communication skills, I succeeded in getting the job. I still use quite a few of those interview tips I learned that day.
"So while 82 per cent of IT pros reckon they're good at interviews, some 66 per cent of recruiters said they'd seen candidates with poor communication skills during the interview process."
That remark seems to infer a disparity which appears not to exist. If 82% of candidates have good communication skills, and if "the interview process" involves on average 5.5 candidates then the probability that any given interviewer will have seen at least one candidate with poor communication skills is 66%.
Not just Grads, Pro's too
Had a IT company in recently, we are snowed and want some work done, ok we'll send someone...
Guy turns up, long pony tail, leather jacket..
ok, fine, good for geeks...
Two weeks of chasing the report and it came through with more spelling mistakes than I care to mention (I'm dyslexic and I picked up on them!)
Needless to say, if that's the report to get our business, I'm not hiring.
Christ knows how slack they'll be when they come to do the actual job.
If someone doesn't do at least some CV tuning for the type of role,....
then they go in the "obviously not interested enough to put a little effort in" pile. If you apply for a network job, put in a network skill-weighted CV in.
My bad spelling
and crap grammar landed me 8 interviews and two job offers in the first two weeks of January.
It even got commented in the interviews of the two companies that offered the jobs. So maybe it only matters if you only know Microsoft Products
Happily programming Perl since 5.006 came out.
"My bad spelling...and crap grammar landed me 8 interviews and two job offers in the first two weeks of January."
"Happily programming Perl since 5.006 came out."
I'll just leave this here.
Delighted to see that this time most contributors have put some effort into their messages, and that the spelling, grammar and punctuation is better than usually seen.
Well done, chaps and ms-chaps! Keep up this standard!
Many moons ago, when running my own small PC repair firm, I had a CV sent to me in the mail.
Among the bullet points, the author proudly proclaimed
I had to give him a call and explain that no, I couldn't offer him a job, and that he might want to proof read his CV before sending it out to anyone else.
in some IT jobs inappropriate==suit
Last time I took part in interviewing we tried very hard not to penalise the ones that turned up inappropriately dressed in suits. It was almost always due to a clueless recruiter giving bad advice. Last time I had an office job it mattered in, notice went round the day before customer visits to dress smarter - essentially swap the t-shirt for a shirt and leave the torn jeans at home!
As a dyslexic, spelling impaired and grammar challenged programmer I know none of that is incompatible with being a good programmer. Not taking extra care fixing your CV is bad, shows a lack of attention to detail, which *is* incompatible with being a good programmer. To be honest I'd rather notice problems with English upfront though, really don't want to hire someone who ends up writing documentation!
Inappropriate for what?
It doesn't matter what's appropriate for the job. You wouldn't expect flippers if you were interviewing divers.
The point is that a suit is the normal attire for an interview. Your company may be different, but that's not something a candidate can easily find out.
Wearing a suit minimizes the chance of being penalised for inappropriate dress. To wear something else shows poor risk-assessment ability - something that should be important when hiring programmers.
A fair effort I think is all that is required
Ive recruited engineers for over 16 years and I consider myself to be pretty harsh but no way near as draconian as some of the posters above.
I expect people to make an effort dressing for an interview. It dont have to be a great suit but you ought to wear one. You dont need to look good in it (most programmers somehow look wrong in them) but you need to try. Like other people said , if you cant be bothered why should I.
Again I expect people to put some effort into their CV but I also recognise not everyone is that good at spelling / grammar so I accept that some things may slip through. I'm not that good myself. I've got some great developers who can't spell to save their lives and other than some mispelt variables in the code which can be irrating, doesnt interfere with their work.
What I cant accept is BS or plain lies on CVs.
Cause and effect?
"Some even misspell the name of the technologies and products they're meant to be experts in, which might be why 23 per cent of people admit they get someone else to write their CV"
Perhaps the misspellings were due to using "professional" CV writers who don't have a clue about the IT business.
Unreasonable Job Specs
Just a quick heads up on unreasonable jobs specs - where the job spec appears to be the definition of an individual rather than a broad set of skills.
It looks like that because that is what it is. The company already has an individual to fill the job. However, whether it be because of work permit issues or because policy states they have to advertise all positions (common for government or Council jobs), they are still advertising the role but in such a manner as to ensure their "guy" is the only suitable candidate. Work permit giveaways are often "must be fluent in English and <INSERTSOMELANGUAGE>".
If you see something like that it is almost certainly not worth your effort applying.
Ref: Unreasonable Job Specs
Personally I like the HR dreamed up lists of contra-indicating qualifications, or stating that the candidate MUST HAVE at least 10 years experience, in a programming language that has only existed for 8 years.
Attention to irrelevant details!
I'm going to cut and paste a line from a CV I have here applying for a sysadmin job. It comes under qualifications:-
"Shooting Qualification (25M Rifle Ranges and Training) enabling me to run any MOD rifle range"
So, wondering if this is a threat to shoot me if he doesn't get the job.
If you are reading this comments column, and you recognise the above qualification as your own, may I take this opportunity to say your application is progressing well :)
It's not mine, but I recall from the Air Cadets (I was 14) that the above qualification (25 metre range) can be gained by kids. Ask him if he could pass a 300m weapons test! :-)
Re: Attention to irrelevant details!
Not so sure
Having run an app. support team, I can think of a number of users, and their managers, who should be on the recieving end of a range qualified sysadmin.
(is ammuntion a tax deductable expense? or an employee benefit?)
He's talking about an RCO qualification. Cadets can't hold an RCO's certificate or NSRA equivalents to the best of my knowledge.
/A former cadet that kept shooting with a civil rifle club
I've shot from 300m
Without a scope, with an SLR (there, that dates me!) - range at RNAS Yoevilton, I think it was
I think I was lucky to hit the target at all, never mind anywhere dangerous - could hardly see the damn thing, and to think the range went on for another 700m behind me....
Ahh, good old days.
With an armed forces background will have shot on a 300m range as part of their basic training. Even with ironsights, it's not that difficult to hit a target at 300m. I'm also talking from experience.
I used to..
I used to work for a University in the dim and distant past. The final year students attempts at writing their CVs were simply awful.
The most common mistake was to mis-spell CURRICULUM VITAE in enormous type on the top of the CV. They would typically go on to spell the name of the university incorrectly. It kind of went downhill after that.
I like getting job applications sent to me.
Here is one I got last week. No title or salutation, the application in full is (as copied from the email) -
"I can install PC, upgrades and any software. Can solve every problem. 2 yaers experience. £10 per hour is acceptable for me. Do you have job for me?"
And that was it. Top man I reckon.
I also like the ones that give their email address as "firstname.lastname@example.org" or "turboboy".
Kids these days just aren't trained to think about what they are doing. They are just coached to pass exams. Hopeless.
Joanna Lumley is right.
3 pages or less
Format of my CV is:
1. Name, address, email, phone nr
2. Short description of my problem solving / thinking skills.
3. Bulleted list of current skills. It's very important to name drop specific skills because agencies will do keyword searches
4. History of companies worked for. More info is supplied for more recent jobs. Old jobs can be relegated to a couple of lines.
5. Other personal stuff, marital status, date of birth etc.
It all fits on 3 pages, 14pt arial despite 20 years of development work. It shouldn't be hard to maintain a CV once you write one. It's best to keep it terse, and well formatted since you can always elaborate in interviews.
Once you have a CV upload it to Monster and the other usual places. Keywords are especially important because the first people to eyeball your CV are likely to be agencies. If you don't turn up in the keyword searches they won't bother ringing you.
Some sort of law here ...
I've 25 years experience and a *2* page cv, which has done me OK.
Conversely I've seen school leavers with 10-page cvs ....
Re: 3 pages or less
This is great if you have done a fairly linear career, and are looking for more of the same.
If you have a diverse set of skills and experience, and the post advertised comes with a long list of required skills and experience, as we are going to bet the farm on this.......
On the applying end the candidate gets whinged at for the CV being too long, or whinged at for it lacking suffcient detail.
On the hiring end, I'm wanting to bet the company's future on getting a complex project in on time, scope and budget, and all I get is a bunch of CV that tell me what they did in their last couple of years, nothing about breadth and depth of experience. (2 good projects could be good skills or good luck, where's the rest?)
Re: 3 pages or less
Got to agree with this.
If you are applying via recruitment agencies, you might get away with 4, I am (just).
Worth doing a spreadsheet based skills matrix, with the job skills highlighted, to use as a follow-up.
Just my 2p worth.
I would add
Stick to 2-3 pages, remember the person reading your CV is only likely to spend 90 seconds at the most reading your life story, so it has to be concise.
List your primary skills in a quick and easy to read matrix at the start of the CV, the recruiter or interviewer can see immediately if you have what they need you will likely make it into the "will see" pile. You can bang on about your understanding of obscure filesystem formats later on in the CV or at the interview.
Always make sure there are no unaccounted for gaps in the times of your previous positions. I got to an interview once and all the interviewer did for 5 mins was berate me about 3 months unaccounted for paternity leave, which I had taken and financed with my own savings!
Keep your CV up to date, especially after you finish a long project. Trim off the fat from your CV as well. No one really needs to know your first job was as a local swimming pool life guard, when your 45 and going for a Unix sysadmin position!
Always put the references on the last sheet on their own. The agencies will butcher your CV to remove the references to stop the company contacting you directly and bypassing the finder's fees. Make it easy and your CV will get to the company in one piece. I once had an agency butcher my CV to remove details they didn't want passed on. This goes for you contact details too, make it easy for them to remove quickly and easily without wrecking your carefully formatted CV document.
Keep your personal interests to two or three lines, collecting antique S&M gear as a hobby is not something that I would wish to read an novel about!
If I'm setting up a recruitment website, all I need to do is make up some stats and I get some free publicity?
I got my current post via a good recruiter and interview.
Browsing on Edugeek one afternoon, knowing I had to move on before long, and saw a position in my field. Emailed the guy a query, he asked for my CV. Emailled my CV (updated the night before, absolutely NO errors) and got a "pre-screening" interview immediately. Within ten minutes of the interview, I had him thanking me because I beat all his other potential candidates by miles.
1) I had a CV relevant to the job, not just a generic thing.
2) I knew what the acronyms meant and could provide a real-life example of my use and understanding of them.
3) I could speak on his level - he was technical but not a technician, if you get what I mean, and I could easily translate "geek" to English when asked.
4) I was well-presented and professional.
Went to the interview, with both the recruiter and his client there, and came up against two very technical employees who would be my bosses - worst nightmare because you either have to struggle to keep up yourself, or you end up having to correct them on technical points. They had a 24-point list of projects they wanted to do. I'd done all of them in the past, to the point where I was naming software I'd used/written, problems I'd run into, and *they* skipped the last eight because they were already answered by the previous 16.
I was wearing a shirt and trousers, no tie, no shined shoes, but "neat and tidy". You'd get into nightclub but probably not into the Oscars.
Got the job. Got told I was the most impressive candidate by miles. It's a private school with a strict dress code, which I tend to ignore on the whole because, as I explained in the interview, I'm more likely to be pushing cables through a hole, or hunting down the back of dusty machines than I am meeting parents (i.e. clients) face-to-face. Of course, if they *want* me to greet parents in a ripped suit with huge dust marks all over the knees, that's fine. I don't think I've ever worn anything as "smart" for work since the interview.
You don't need a huge suit to get a job. You need to be *presentable*, you need a good CV that you've had several dozen people check for you (amazing how many people are ashamed of their CV and/or secretive of it in case I copy it), you need to be the right person for the job. You *don't* need to be in a suit.
I once received a CV with a cover letter starting with "Dear Sir or Madman". Oh the dangers of spell-checkers.
Someone who made it as far as an interview only asked questions about the contacts he might make in the job and then when his mobile rang mid-interview he answered it and had a conversation with the caller. He didn't get the job either.
IF THEN ELSE READ OPEN CLOSE
wot else do the progs have to spell?
I see a lot of CVs with spelling mistakes, and there are the 2 classic types - the blatantly wrong words which suggest the candidate doesn't even know how to use a spell checker, and situations where the words are spelled correctly but aren't appropriate in context - so clearly the candidate has used a spell checker, and blindly relied upon its suggestions.
I also see cases where words are spelled in the american way, perhaps people unable to change the default language in their spell checker...
Length and listing of irrelevant skills aren't really a problem, provided they are not lengthy for the sake of being so, and listing pointless skills... If someone has been around for years and lists 10 pages of previous positions so be it.
Listing a large number of IT skills is good, even if they're applying for a position which doesn't require those skills it's useful to know you have those skills inhouse incase things change in the future. Also someone with a wide range of skills is likely to be able to pick up new things more easily than someone who is pigeonholed into a small niche and unwilling/unable to look at anything new.
I also hate CVs which are sent as word documents, especially those which include macros...
How someone dresses doesn't really matter, so long as they are clean, i have been forced to interview people who are filthy and smell very bad. I would rather interview someone dressed casually so that they feel more comfortable, if you put them under pressure and make them nervous you might not get the best out of them.
I am searching for jobs as we speak and it seems the HR types prefer and sometimes even ask for Word documents. If you have this preference, please state it in the description as I can't read your mind. In either case, who would add a macro to a resume?
macro viruses come to mind
Or perhaps corporate "standard" macrosets? I dunno.
I have gotten bitchy replies "and you ALSO FAILED to provide your cv in word!" that they incidentally didn't specify they wanted in the ad for a Unix bod. In fact, I use any mention of micros~1 technology as a negative filter when job hunting. If you want someone with deep technical skills running your server park you don't also want him to play first level support. Or if you do I don't want to work for you; tried that once and still suffering the sanity loss.
So if you want to run a hi-tech company better keep your personnel department in check. Don't let them add the "and office programs!" under your carefully crafted job requirements spec. Don't let them use recruiters. And make sure their expectations match what's /usance/ in the world of the "human resources" they're supposed to be fussing over.
Well, that's no problem, is it?
They can just get a job writing for The Reg.
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