No, really. Your CV really, really stinks. I read these things for a living and the quality varies a lot more than it should considering what you are selling. Over the next few years you are asking to be paid more than the cost of a Ferrari and the desk space, computer kit and coffee you use over that time means you cost at …
I'm pretty sure it means 'stupid' or 'dull', not silly.
Which as a very silly person I see as being a positive thing!!
Well, that adds a new spin to "dumbstuck".
Don't you mean Dumbstruck? ;-)
Yep - dumb did mean you can't talk.
However english is an evolving language so it will probably mean something else in 150 years.
What planet is he on?????
"Over the next few years you are asking to be paid more than the cost of a Ferrari "
Er? How many people in IT (who actually do the work) are paid more than the cost od a Ferrari?
Well at my current salary that will be nigh on 4 years.
I guess the words 'Headhunter' & 'Invertment Banker' tells us everything we need to know.
Being serious for a moment, the main thrust of his article about getting you CV right is spot on. But being told that I lie on my CV is nothing but an insult.
If there is one place you should not lie, it is on your CV. You will get found out.
I guess the upside-down stance comes from too much boot-licking.
""Over the next few years you are asking to be paid more than the cost of a Ferrari "
Er? How many people in IT (who actually do the work) are paid more than the cost od a Ferrari?
Well at my current salary that will be nigh on 4 years."
I would have though 4 = a few, give or take...
Try reading what you quoted:
"Over the next few years you are asking to be paid more than the cost of a Ferrari "
Specifically "Over the next few years". I'd count 4 years as a few, wouldn't you?
It always annoys me (being the bitter and jealous person I am) that I never got around to finishing my degree and 'doing something with my life'
Compared to most of my friends I have a 'decent' job - don't work too hard, with no heavy lifting/etc, and get to spend time with my family.
I earn roughly 18k a year.
If 170k is anywhere near commonplace then I just hate you all the more.
Blended rate for PM resource on my programme is over £600. That's just over a year to hit supercar costs.
'I guess the upside-down stance comes from too much boot-licking.'
To be fair, he didn't say a *new* Ferarri
There's a few on autotrader under 20k...
You're in the wrong business mate! A good developer in the city finance sector can easily cut £80k+ and tech project mangers easily break £100k.
Two pages of good advice....
But no answer to the age old question of how many pages should your cv cover?
Is three or four pages of *relevant* experience & technologies overkill? Is a one or two page summary going to get you binned because you just mention where you worked & for how long?
One page, and make it count
The dreaded HR sift never gets beyond the first page, so you have to make your CV shout "HIRE ME!!!" in just one page.
One page? Really?
These days I couldn't fit all the acronyms for all the technology I have worked with in the past 4 years on one page, let alone everything else...
Well a CV should be two pages max but as David Haprer 1 said they won't get beyond the first page unless it makes it sound like an ideal candidate.
As someone who has sifted CVs as a technical viewer
I don't care what you did more than two jobs/8 years ago (whichever is longer). If it's relevant to the job and you don't have any more recent experience you probably don't have better knowledge of it than someone else who's been doing it the last 3 years. If it's not relevant to the job, why is it there?
I've seen CVs that were 10 pages long filled with one big table of work experience, or two pages of table with all the technological experience the person has (including one case of "read it in a book recently"). Just use common sense. If you were reading the CV for the job, how much and what info would *you* need to accurately assess your ability to do the job? That's all your CV is, something promoting your ability to do the job, not a life story, so keep it relevant, and easy to read. If you can't find the willpower to read through it all to work out what's relevant, why should a recruiter or HR or a developer?
I prefer a CV that lists your 2/3 most recent jobs, a couple of the main projects from each (two sentence description, maybe mentioning responsibility and team size), and a very short list of the technologies that you used in the projects, ordered by relevance. There should be all the information in there that you need to get an interview.
I can also say with confidence that this format has worked very well for me as well.
Best stuff on the first page, but more is fine
Focus your effort on the first page, but unless you're a fresh graduate you'll need more than one page just to provide a full list of what you've done. Remember, if there are any gaps in your employment which aren't explained, recruiters will just assume you've been in prison. Even if you were working for a crappy company which subsequently went bust and you're too ashamed to name them.
As an interviewer
1 page of A4, two sides, anything else just gets on the tits of the person sifting through them
No-one cares if you have four pages of 8 point relevant experience, it's what you've done recently and a bit of history that counts.
As an interviewer, the length doesnt really matter.
It depends on the role.
If you are a fresh graduate, one page.
If you have experience, mostly from a couple of long-lived permanent roles then 2 pages.
If you are a contractor - 3,4 even 5 pages.
If you are going for management it varies even more wildly.
When I have been looking for jobs, I have never once got past a recruiter / HR screening without covering my last 10 years of employment.
In the last 10 years, I have worked for 14 different organisations in different roles. Getting that on to two pages means rendering it unreadable to the human eye.
When I have started reviewing CVs to appoint people into important roles, I realised the length of the CV was actually less important than the information it contains. 5 pages of crap is going to get rejected, but then so is one page of crap.
@AC 13:22 GMT
"That's all your CV is, something promoting your ability to do the job, not a life story..."
"Life story" is *exactly* what "Curriculum Vitae" is *supposed* to be, you ignorant dolt.
The full term used to be "curriculum vitae et studiorum"—literally "course of life and studies". CVs are *supposed* to be long-form, and always have been. In much of mainland Europe, the proper, long-form, CV is still in use.
It's the _résumé_, popularised in the US, which is the short-form _summary_ of your recent employment history and education. The clue's in the (French) name, which literally means "summarised".
If you want résumés, fucking well ask for them, instead of asking for CVs and then complaining that they're "too long".
And stop complaining about *our* language skills when yours are clearly no better.
AC1631 and Sean Baggaley demonstrate exactly the problem:
It's not us, it's the people who are advertising the jobs who are wrong.
Make two sides of A4 your mantra, there is skill involved in selecting what the people interviewing you need to see. There is no skill involved in harping on for five or six pages of A4 about what you've done in every detal.
why is it there?
"If it's not relevant to the job, why is it there?"
Because experience suggests that if you don't include a consistent employment history all the way back to the year you left school, people will assume that you're hiding all the crack smoking and bank robbing you did in the 'missing time'.
So, that'd be a résumé, then.
In which case, just ask for one of those. Problem solved.
My complete CV would fill a damned sight more than 5-6 pages: I've worked as an animator, programmer, game designer, sound designer, scriptwriter, video editor, technical author and translator (and that's just the vaguely IT-related stuff; I prefer variety and am willing to accept the consequences).
In fact, I now keep my entire CV in a database and just tick the items I want to include in the CV (or résumé) I want to send out. Not that I send CVs out that much any more; I get most of my work through word-of-mouth.
Part of the problem here is that there's clearly not much consistency in candidate information requirements. Applying what is, fundamentally, a centuries-old technique to the hiring process doesn't help. We shouldn't _need_ HR specialists and agencies: we should be able to just upload a standardised database format to the relevant website and let that take care of matching candidates to jobs. After all, finding someone who matches a specific description is essentially the same process you find on dating sites. If we can automate those, why can't we use the same technology to build automated employee-and-employer-matching sites?
The trick is to standardise the data formats so that any website can accept CVs (or whatever they end up being called) from any potential employee without requiring they fill in online forms with the same damned information over and over.
(Open Standards, people. Far more important in the 21st Century than Open bloody Source. That's when Web 3.0 will happen. There will then be no need for a Web 4.0, because the arsebiscuit who came up with the concept of this "versioning" thing will have been summarily executed and given a low-level debugging they'll never forget.)
1 page + link
or maybe 2 pages + link. But never 3/4. Never some silly trainings
OT : I disagree with author on mention of "Top Australian" univ... If you are applying foreign.. that doesn't seem like a bad sell, especially if it takes just a couple of words. (maybe he meant glorifying your engg degree is wasted when applying for a *fin* job?).
Paris, coz he resume fit in a tape.
For That Matter
A recruiter asking for a CV when they mean résumé is a breach of one of the golden rule of writing either: Don't include terms or acronyms you don't understand yourself, one of the first tips I was given about my CV was to look up the meaning of Curriculum Vitae.
@Mr Cheese - Were you told to look up what Curriculum Vitae actually means by someone in business or someone in Academia? They mean different things in each case.
@Sean Baggaley1: "We shouldn't _need_ HR specialists and agencies"
I totally agree.
Part of the problem with CV length is that they are being read by, basically, idiots who have no idea what the role they are recruiting for entails.
HR "professionals" and recruiters are generic with, at best, a very basic understanding of the environment they are recruiting into so they frequently make meaningless demands and ensure that any use of "technical" terminology becomes a total no-no. This is awkward because most technical terms are there to help us compress documents and having to expand them so an idiot can understand you kind of defeats the purpose. (obviously this does not apply to all roles, but the principle remains).
As others have mentioned, almost every HR / Recruiter now looks for an unbroken work record of the last 10+ years. Great if you have only ever had one job since leaving school but if you have spent 10 years working as a contractor, you potentially have 20 jobs to cover.
Fitting that into 2 pages of A4 is simply not possible unless you summarise it, which in my experience results in the HR department rejecting it and asking for more detail even if it manages (by some miracle) to get past the recruiter.
Hiring managers should take more responsibility in properly drafting what they are asking for and being realistic in their expectations.
The sooner we can phase out HR / Recruiters, the better.
AC 13:22 GMT
I can see you get jobs based on your winning personality Sean.
I don't post the job adverts, and I'm not HR. I am a developer who has reviewed several CVs/resumes to assess candidates for interview.
Now look, if you've ever been involved in recruitment WHATSOEVER, you'll know perfectly well that once a job description leaves your email client it's going to pass through HR and numerous agencies. Either of those will request either a resume or a CV, without ANY input from you, so specifying either is essentially useless. So you have to ask, which is the safer option, and, from experience in my own job applications, as well as from looking through CVs/resumes, is that shorter is enough to gain knowledge about what level your current experience is at.
Look, if you were asked to select candidates for a C++ job, and you had 20 CVs to look through, and 14 of them were short with current experience, and the other 6 were 5 page affairs from people who had been working on Java for the last 10 years, which would you choose?
Stop taking it so personally, and try responding in a coherent manner, you fucking prick.
"I can see you get jobs based on your winning personality Sean"
Nope. Nobody pays me enough to be a nice, socially conformist cog in their machine. I have a lousy memory—especially for names and faces; I've even failed to recognise members of my own family—so I have learned to make allowances for my weaknesses and play to my strengths. I now leave the whole "working in a team" stuff for all you weirdoes blessed with discernible social skills.
I left the rat race, moved abroad, and have been a freelancer working from home for years now. I can make enough money in just two days to cover all my expenses—including rent—for an entire _month_. In my free time, I do what I love most: learning new stuff and making music.
Luckily, the one thing I am tolerably not crap at is writing, and I don't need to be in your office to do that. Especially technical authoring, which is the exact opposite of a spectator sport.
"Now look, if you've ever been involved in recruitment WHATSOEVER..."
Actually, I have, but thanks for leaping to your utterly baseless assumption.
The key problem with the original article (aside from its writer's ignorance of the difference between the CV and the résumé formats) is that it does little more than reiterate Sturgeon's Law: "90% of *everything* is crud."
That's "everything". From TV programmes to job applicants. Why anyone—least of all a "headhunter" in the financial IT sector—would expect anything else I've no idea. That's like a sewer maintenance worker complaining that he has to trudge through an awful lot of effluent every day.
I have recruited and have faced the same pathetic sorry excuses for a CV. If you can't sell yourself on paper, you can't do the job I need you to do. Yes, you are a geek, not a writer, but if you can't put together a professional CV, how can I expect you to do anything well outside your comfort zone? Why didn't you pay a CV-writing agency, if you feel you aren't up to it? Do you invest nothing in your future?
When I worked as an editor for a publisher, I got submissions that were the equivalent of CVs, and this article could have been written for that role, too. The message: make it easy for me. YOU do the work, because I have NOTHING invested in you. If you don't make it easy for me to select you out of the dross, then you too are dross. It's a tough world.
If you can't sell yourself on paper, you can't do the job I need you to do.
Which is fine for a sales job, but why should a techie need to learn these skills. You are employing them for their technical skills aren’t you. Or do you think that all your writers should learn Unicode and LaText so that the disk with their latest offering on it can be fed straight into the printing press?
You need to be able to show that you can write because I would like to be able to understand the CV’s that get forwarded to me and because in this day and age even techies have to communicate with 'the outside world'. In our department we have to talk to the business a lot of the time, if you can’t communicate then you shouldn’t be working here – no cave dwelling pizza eaters here.
"but why should a techie need to learn these skills."
Because if you don't, your CV won't get read and you won't get the job, it will go to the techy who could be arsed to learn those skills as well the ones that they hope to be hired to exercise.
What sort of techie never writes an email... or a report... or a proposal? If you can't write clearly about yourself why would anyone expect you to be able to write clearly about business matters?
I took great care over the layout of my CV when I last got a job, and sent a PDF to the recruitment firm, who insisted on having an Word version so they could cut and paste it into their own template to send on to the employer. At least the employer had the sense to see that the resulting layout issues were the fault of the recruitment people and the content was thankfully still the same.
Professionalism, focus, ability to communicate clearly, will to do things right. How can you expect a developer to communicate with a client (which you might have to do for one of many reasons) or even just an internal email to someone who isn't a techie, when they won't take the time to put some effort into their CV?
If you want a highly paid techie job, you need to demonstrate that you have an ability to work a wordprocessor, if you can't do something so simple and easy to find out how, why would an employer think you can diagnose or design their systems? Also you need to present a competent advert for yourself, if you can't do that, how would you be able to hold your own discussing your proposed designs or fixes with other staff?
@ John G Imrie
It is LaTeX not "LaText" -- and why not learn it? It would prevent some of the horrific disasters that pass for a CV these days.
It also would show you were in fact a "techie" and not just kidding on to be one.
But you'd still expect a techie to be able to spell the technologies.
even techies need to communicate
I look for writing skills because I want my technical people to be able to interact with others -- to be articulate at meetings, to be able to be involved with meetings with business managers, and also, if they will be writing, say, error messages or content for the intranet, that it is done well.
I also think that people who are excellent in one field tend to be good in others. If someone can't organise a CV, how to do they organise their work load? How clean is their code? If they are good at writing,they are often good at pretty much everything else they do. This has been my experience through about 20 years.
"What sort of techie never writes an email... or a report... or a proposal?"
A happy techie.
Just goes to show
This article and others before harking on about what the middlemen want from your "CV" are only of limited use at best as some halfwit recruiter with a one-size-fits-all approach will invariably do something out of your control that may impede if not entirely jeapordise your chances because "we've got too many CVs to read".
I truly wish the recruiters and headhunters of this world would just grow up; would you accept tech support not fixing your PC because he's got too many calls to do and your wasn't interesting enough?
No, thought not.
Something for Nothing eh?
This "you do all the work because I have nothing invested in you" seems a bit self-defeatist; surely you can't be getting the best talent nor justifying the pay check you command if you're leaving it down to everyone to essentially guess what you're looking for and market it to you?
Just hang on a sekond...
"The average HR [...] can, however, spell and identify sloppiness."
Are you quite sure of your statistics on these points? We've all seen job adverts with salary ranging from "£40000/day" to "£250 pa" and with location down as every major city between the Kent coast and Duncansby Head.
From yesterday's deletion pile - "Coffee Demonstrator - Up to 10.00 GBP Hourly + £10 per hour" and the lovely "Business Development - £1 to £100k pa + Excellent salary" (both Jobsite).
You can't blame these on overworked typesetters!
Personally I'd welcome the opportunity to deal with an HR person with an eye for detail and the ability to think rationally but I rather fear they're just as fallable as any other profession.
The fact that recruiters are sometimes sloppy does not mean that you should be sloppy as well. The fact that you now hold that particular recruiter in low esteem is surely informative?
Indeed. Just last week, on this very website (over there ---> "latest jobs") I saw a job posting that was paying £0pa Awesome proofreading there!
oh, very nice
"Personally I'd welcome the opportunity to deal with an HR person with an eye for detail and the ability to think rationally but I rather fear they're just as fallable as any other profession."