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 …
..For reminding me why I don't use recruiters, you lot are almost as useless as estate agents.
That's a bit harsh on estate agents, don't you think?
Not harsh enough. Estate agents are, by and large, the scum of the earth. Like recruiters, they are middle-men, who usually do not actually have any qualifications (or even skills).
What this guy?
that guy ?
the guy that includes
* Career in Quantitative Finance
I never employ anyone who doesn't pay attention to detail.
Also has a problem with the elusive object:
"I am a headhunter for quants, risk managers, quant development, algorithmic trading, etc."
So, he headhunts 'quants' and 'risk managers' - so far, so good, those groups are both clearly people, but...he also headhunts 'quant development' and 'algorithmic trading'? Those are clearly abstract concepts, not sets of people. Bad, very bad. See teacher.
If someone could e-mail me a list of the companies that this Dominic person headhunts for, I'd be ever grateful.
I now know which companies to avoid in the future.
I have a foreign sounding last name. My parents were immigrants to this country. I'm not. Why the **** should I have to meekly state that I'm allowed to work here. Pfft.
Good point about foreign names
I wonder whether Dominic realises that anyone in the European Union is legally entitled to work in Britain, and they ALL have foreign names!
Wow, I so agree. I'd love to know who this guy deals with so I can make sure not to waste my time with them.
My name isn't foreign. My surname is MacLean and it always shows up underlined in red as a spelling error... it even did when I wrote this post!
Re: Good point about foreign names
Almost there David, a few years to go yet though.
Romanian and Bulgarian citizens are not yet automatically allowed to work in the UK and from what the Migration Advisory Committee said recently they look like they have a bit longer to wait too.
"Why the **** should I have to meekly state that I'm allowed to work here"
Because it stops whoever's sifting the CVs from binning yours because they can't be bothered calling you up and asking? Should that be the case? - no. Is it? - in my personal experience, yes.
I have a foreign surname, my great-great-grandparents having arrived in the mid-nineteenth century. Back when dinosaurs walked the Earth (the mid-90s), I got hardly any interviews until I put "Nationality: British" on my CV. Once I had I got loads.
Not true - people from some countries in the European Union (such as Romania) are not entitled to work in the UK without a visa.
Attention to detail, as the chap stated :)
Change your last name to "Kramer" and you'll get all the attention you want!
And heres how we can help?
I see no help here just a spew of contempt from a recruiter who no doubt adds the lines "would suit college leaver" and "3 years previous experience required" into the same job advert.
Week in week out the same job arrives in your inbox from the same recruiter for years at a time. (does the job even exist in reality?)
the same Job appears in local job site listings for every city in the UK.
To sum it up, Recruiters like the writer of this article are worthless middlemen who need to be got rid of.
I'd rather deal with a company directly than send my cv in to these morons for jobs that do not exist so they can update their databases.
Good article - pulls no punches
This is the reality of job hunting, and this guy has just given a raft of examples of what will cause you to fail to get a job since you fail at the first hurdle of being able to write a good CV.
These are not made-up mistakes - these are real world examples, and what happens if your CV fails to make the grade.
Even if you are a 'talent' - if you come across poorly in a CV, or for that matter, a personal interview - guess what - you are not getting that job you think you deserve.
The first obstacle to change is recognising you need to change in the first place.
Wake up an smell the coffee people.
You're trolling right?
So none of them would get a job by your yard stick?
This smacks of being an extension of the assumption that IT people must be brilliant at everything. That IT People must be business people or sales people is the most ridiculous supposition being trotted around the corporate world these days. It's up there with business people thinking the cloud is the answer to everything. I don't see business people learning how to use Outlook properly or how to update the content management system because it's too technical.
Some of the best coders and designers I have ever worked with were fucking terrible at spelling and grammar. When I interviewed for devs, I tended to look at their technical skills and not get too hung up on their CVs, preferring to quiz them on their tech skills rather than their spelling and grammar or their social skills. If this is how tech recruiters at the top of their game think then it might explain the IT skills shortages I keep hearing about. We have an aptitude for this stuff for a reason...
And its 'fall at the first hurdle'.
Advice to Employers
Don't use recruiters; their broad brush, sloppy and spam-like approach to recruiting means you'll only get average talent, but they'll be ace at writing CVs and emails and that's all a developer or sysadmin really needs right?
And this is why I don't use recruiters.
It's irrelevant whether you use recruiters or not.
The fact is employers use them, and the fees charged to weed out the initial dross is in their minds worth the cost.
More fool them
The whole system you're defending is broken and apparently full of self-important idiots too stubborn to change; it's such a poor method of extracting diamonds from the rough, so much so you'll only ever find fool's gold.
In fact it's almost the epitome of IT industry management; too many managers who lack the real skill they're recruiting for ignoring the advice of the experts in favour of fluff, marketing snake-oil and too much form over too little function.
And those of us who want to be judged on merit are just f**ked.
As the late Mr Jobs, and I suspect most recruiters would say, Not that big of a deal!
Whereas your posts suggest that you are meek, flexible and willing to change. Oh, no, actually they suggest that you are exactly what you are accusing others of. Funny that.
Given the number of crap CVs I've had to read over the years - this hits precisely the right spot. Hopefully people in IT will read this article and take heed.
I throw more CVs away becaue they're unreadable than I do because they're obviously not up to the job; and why? because if they can't write a good cv, then how crap is their code going to be?
since I think that
CV-writing skills and code-writing skills are largely orthogonal,
I'd say to can tell almost nothing about how good their code is.
You might take a guess at their documentation skills though,
if you had to.
Simple - for most techies, social skills are _far_ less important than technical skills (hence the name) and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that autism is a benefit...
And do you know the difference between a CISSP and a CCSP?
One of my MAIN objections to HR and agencies, is that they have NO clue what they are recruiting for.
I was once turned down for a job because I did not put TCP/IP as one of my skills.
Mr HR person, if you had ANY clue, you would know that my CCNA and MCT mean that I have quite a reasonable grasp of TCP/IP and have quite a decent clue what DNS, AD, WINS, subnetting etc are.
Actually - I know FEW people that can do IP subnetting from binary to decimal without having to use a calculator like I am able to. I can explain the TCP 3-way handshake to you in detail, etc, etc, etc. Then you want to complain when I send you a 3-page CV covering my more than 20 yrs experience in IT. And you complain even more when my appendix is 9 pages detailing my skillset, because I have to try and pre-empt your absolute ignorance of what I can do, so I list every single little acronym I can think of which I know inside out.
Never mind that - do you even KNOW the difference between a CISSP and a CCSP? When you do, only then will you start to be qualified to read and make career decisions based on my CV...
But who didn't get the interview offer, you or them?
This is why it's your problem.
Not that I agree with the situation...
I hate (most) recruitment agents just like estate agents - easy money if you're a bully and a liar.
But then it is quite interesting to see these comments from the other (dark) side that might make me think twice when going through my CV.
I have just been to a CV workshop...
... and it was very apparent that most of the attendees were looking for non-tech jobs, with little to show on their CVs.
Perhaps the highlight of the workshop was when they suggested passing off "being a mother of four" as "managing a small team".
All in all, it was great for increasing one's buzzword literacy, but did not address how to improve on a CV which describes 25 years of IT experience with 8 employers, following several Cambridge degrees up to and including a PhD.
There was one interesting point of debate. The workshop came down in favour of a one-page CV. My current version - somewhat cut down (it omits, for example, an occasion when I translated a set of project documentation from Italian to English as a sideline to an IT project) - runs to 9 pages. To me, a one-page CV is appropriate for a candidate with a one-page life.
I know that there are arguments for and against one-page CVs. Perhaps this is a good place to start the debate. Flame away!
Nine pages :O
Good luck with that.
A 9-page CV is great. Until you have to read it.
You SHOULD have a 9-10 page CV.... somewhere. Everyone who's been working or studying for a while should. But if you send that to an employer, it's doubtful that even 1 page of it will be interesting to them. Your CV is not a "This is Your Life" red book. It's an advert to sell yourself for that position in the shortest possible scanning time. Each CV you submit should be written to the person reading it - i.e. to that job and what they need from you ALONE with only side-mentions of other things they might like about you.
9-page CV's will end up in the bin. I've seen it happen. A 2-page CV with lots of stuff summarised and where details can be supplied later, that's much better. I hesitate the second my own CV for a job hits the third page and start culling. But I do that starting from a 10-page CV which lists EVERYTHING I've ever done (plus every paragraph I've ever put into a CV and have impressed people with, or been particularly happy with).
A 9-page CV is great copy-and-paste source material to start a CV. But it's NOT a job-application on its own because it's far too verbose. It's like over-documenting your code, or rattling on about how great your product is when actually, all I want is the code/product and how to use it. If I want to know that other stuff, I'd have picked you out of the 2-page CV's and brought you to interview where we would have all the time in the world to discuss it.
Your description of an Italian-English translation is of no interest to the CV-reader (who will probably NOT be the same person as the guy who will actually work with/above you, or even the same guy you meet in the interview) beyond "Can speak / write fluent Italian". It really holds zero interest and if you try putting crap like that into a bog-standard job application CV you'll start having it binned before you get further.
You can have a HUGE CV. Just don't submit it to jobs as-is. Use it as source material for your real CV, which should be just long enough for a HR bod to scan it and say "He fits the criteria" but not long enough that they get bored looking to see if you DO have experience in <insert skill here>.
I totally agree with your post, however...
"Your CV is not a "This is Your Life" red book"
Curriculum Vitae does in fact translate as something approaching - "This is My Life"
I couldn't agree with you more (though you could have just written that into one paragraph *snigger* =P)
I myself have 3 CV's; each customised for the different fields I'm applying for.
All irrelevant crap, GCSE grades have gone byebye because they're now irrelevant and I actually need the space! I agree with a lot of the folks here, page one is the "impact" page, the one I try to make count.
To the OP of this mini-thread: you just carry on with your 9 page effort, you're making it much easier for me even though you're doubtlessly better equipped for the job =P"
It's the mini-thread OP again ...
FYI, the 9-pager excludes not just the O-levels but the A-levels as well. The education section starts with a Cambridge degree and works upwards.
The thing I really hate is the agency which asks for a softcopy CV to put into their database to mine for keywords ... which is really asking for the "bullshit bingo" edition!
Didn't even clear the first paragraph: "Your CV is not a "This is Your Life" red book"
Google Curriculum Vitae and post the definition as a reply to your article for all to see please
As an earlier poster has already said...
I'm not sure which one as this is along thread (so make yourself knowing as I'm quoting you!) but a CV shouldn't be a one page summary, that's a résumé. a CV is a long-form document details the whole "course of one's life".
Recruitment FAIL for not knowing what to ask for and then complaining about it
hard but fair
he is right. Seen a few CV/job apps and winced. Using the F7 key and grammar checker is not hard in Word. It is hard to find competant IT staff with so many sales weasel minds out there
> hard to find *competant* IT staff
Denarius you are a moron
"Using the F7 key and grammar checker is not hard in Word. It is hard to find competant ..."
You can also get browser extentions which spell check your text entry boxes. Or you could just learn to spell.
This whole article is pretty realistic about the way it is. It's not nice, and these "pimps" are not your friends (unless you are making them money). I learned this years ago, and make sure I brush up my CV ... FOR EVERY JOB I APPLY FOR.
I just can't tell whether this is a rather good joke, or simple stupidity..
It's called Muphry's Law.
CV writing is apparently more difficult than I imagine, not because employers are as picky and arrogant as this article-writer (please rule me out of any position in any company that hires such a self-congratulating pillock), but because people are *JUST THAT STUPID* when it comes to making a CV.
It's not hard: Have a document on your computer. Every time you change jobs, pass a course, or do something big and interesting, add it to the document. Seriously. Every time. If nothing else, do it to accurately record the dates so you're not caught out later because you said you worked somewhere for much longer than you actually did because you forgot that you left and returned.
When you next apply for a job, copy that document and RUTHLESSLY pull it down to 1-2 pages of A4. If that means you list employment history for two jobs in full (not necessarily the most recent, but the most relevant), a handful of others as one-liners and then "Various other jobs in the X industry, details available on request" for the stuff you did 20 years ago that wasn't interesting or relevant, then that's what you do. The majority of things should be bullet-points, bare facts and (well, I usually do it) some kind of personal statement which just covers the bits you can't summarise too well ("Project X, that I initiated, saved the company £300,000 a year in tax", etc.).
Don't make it pretty. Don't make it complicated. Don't jazz it up, adjust the spacing or enlarge your font because you have nothing to write on it. Nobody cares about the formatting so long as it's readable. If you don't have enough things to put in it, don't make up uninteresting crap to pad it out, and make sure that next time you write a CV you DO (by writing everything down and deliberately doing things that can be put in there). Don't include anything not relevant to the job at hand (unless you're REALLY struggling for content) and CHANGE IT for every job you apply to. Don't just have a single blanket CV, have one HUGE one that you never show anyone and from it sculpt out brief, job-specific ones each time you need one.
The most important piece of advice is: Have someone else read it. Really. You'd be amazed at what you miss. My wife had a "GSCE" qualification on her CV for years, and I spot at least one mistake or query that I'd have on every CV I've ever seen. Don't fear about people copying your CV (which seems to be quite common) - if someone wanted to steal my work history, they'd do a better job to just make stuff up than copying someone else's CV. Nobody's going to laugh at you for your CV unless - and this is important - an employer would also laugh at you. In which case, it's the CV that's bad and NOT you, and you need to get people to point out things that you need to change. You *can* probably ignore most of the "Well, I'd have this" kind of changes but you need people to check for the obvious holes more than the subtleties of what they think sounds better on a CV (they may be right, they may be wrong, you'll have to judge).
Failing that, send it to a proper CV expert who can craft it for you. They exist, and they're usually very cheap.
Nobody cares about the minutiae of your personal history. They want a brief, seemingly easy document that they can scan for the skills they want. If you don't have the skills, it will get binned. If you do but you hide them in pages of diatribe, it will get binned. A CV is like an honest advert - short, sweet, to-the-point, and giving ONLY provable facts that are relevant in order to sell yourself.
Your CV has ONE chance of catching the eye of the HR department. That's it. Just one. You don't want it to catch their eye in a bad way (fonts, colours, layout, etc.) when simple lists of facts will get through their checks. You don't want it to flag up warnings (everything from spelling mistakes, to unexplained employment holes, to bullshit-overflow when you could have just said what you meant). You just want a clean, simple, categorised, easy-to-read list of facts that fits in 1-2 pages and where any questions are answered before HR can ask them (that's what the small "personal statement" paragraph can do).
Address the envelope properly. Write your covering letter (which can be a lot more standard-template than a CV) properly, addressing the correct person in the correct way. Provide everything asked for in the format asked for (they *won't* chase you up for missing forms, etc.). Stick a nice stamp on it neatly, etc. Don't faff about with fancy paper when bog-standard white A4 will do. Hell, hand it in to their company if you can and BE POLITE WHEN YOU DO. You're asking these people to trust that everything about you is the same as the way you treated the CV - clean, tidy, professional, and lacking in diatribe and other waste.
... is almost more useful than the article.
Well, the article was an assumed rant however...
Re: This post...
Yes, but note that the post is about actually applying for jobs with real employers, not recruiters who will, between cold-calling people at work and putting on their best smarmy voice about a "great position" much to the irritation of the person whose working day has been interrupted, whip out the box of crayons that is Microsoft Word and proceed to mutilate the CV in front of them that supposedly did pass muster - don't think that nobody in IT hasn't heard of and implemented all these recommendations - before sending it on to the actual employer minus various important bits that they don't understand but which would indicate to the actual employer the competence of the applicant.
The recruiter "profession" is more often than not a complete obstruction in the recruitment process. If you use these people for hiring and then wonder why there doesn't seem to be very many qualified applicants, you may like to consider the role of the recruiter who has "sifted out", with no knowledge or understanding of the domain, all supposedly "unsuitable" applicants.
And after considering the role of the recruiter, consider firing them! You're probably doing most of what they're supposed to be doing, anyway.
Either a lot of it is *completely* obvious, with all the info - and a LOT more valuable stuff - already out there for the picking, or it's just downright ... weird?
My experience of recruitment agencies for my specific field - web development - is that 9 times out of 10 they are useless at putting the right person into the right role.
For this express reason, some of the top web development agencies in the UK have a very clear policy when recruiting. They do it themselves.
If that's the case, then you have to make *damn* sure your CV aligns with the role, as your going *directly* to source, instead of through some jumped-up recruitment professional who is your 'big buddy' for the 2 minutes of head hunting, then forgets you immediately if you don't tick each and every box.
My take - if your a web developer - get your job by going directly to source, by word of mouth, by attending digital events. In this case, your CV is there for backup - or to get your foot in the door. The rest is up to how you present yourself.
The best way to do that is obvious - built a kick-arse portfolio website.
I think that's a fair point you've made, at least in the context of web development. However there is a bit more to the picture. Without any disrespect towards the many excellent, highly skilled and deeply professional WDs out there, a company can be successful recruiting these for themselves because there are an awful lot to choose from.
Dominic Connor specialises in placing very, very highly paid quants with City firms. These are people with Maths and Physics PhDs, hardcore C++ expertise and expectations of salaries well into six figures. There are not that many of these people around at all and the services of a well-connected headhunter can make a hiring manager's job an awful lot easier.
He is right to hold candidates like this to a very high standard. He is also right to expect people wanting to break into this area to be consummately professional in every aspect of their working lives. Shoddy spelling on a CV is indicative of laziness and a slapdash attitude; that is not something to which you'd want to entrust millions of pounds. His candidates demand a lot and he is absolutely right to expect as much in return.
The rest of this isn't aimed so much at your comment as at the legions of chippy coders here who seem to think that they're being hired for their "technical skills" and that nothing else they do matters.
Communication with other people - with business managers, with traders, with others on the team - is vitally important. No techie works in a bubble and, like it or not, their coding skills won't save their jobs if they express yourself like a four year old.
The number of absolute rock-star coders, worldwide, whose skills are so intergalactic that they can get away with not washing and refusing to speak to colleagues is probably in the single digits. Unfortunately this attitude - I'm paid to write code, not docs; I'm too important to speak to Sales; the team revolves around ME - is all to prevalent among the millions of other developers whose skills, no matter how good, will never be enough to back up that kind of arrogance. Dominic's article is a welcome slap in the face to these kinds of people who, judging by the tone of many posts on here, still don't get it. Coincidentally, they won't get the high-paying jobs either.
I agree with Mr. Connor. The whole process of finding a job is a dishonest, self-serving business with the clueless judging the greedy. The purpose of a CV is to get you an interview. The purpose of the first interview is to get you a second interview and so on until you get the job. Honesty has no real place here. Appearance is what matters first. Just ask plain girls with wonderful personalities.
Techies, because of the way that they are, value talent, interest, self-learning much, much higher than appearance. One would think that those who hire techies would be looking for this. Alas, most personnel and HR people have no idea what techies do. So they judge by aestethics instead, because it's all they can do. They have been given the chore of whittling away 90% of the CVs received. It's what they do.
I wonder if Mr. Connor runs a service to check one's CV. He could supplement his income greatly with it, methinks.
>... with the clueless judging the greedy
A harsh truth that made me snort with laughter - thank you!
Good article but you can feel the resentment
I agree with the sentiment in the article and in fact I completely re-write my own CV for each job I've ever applied for. The intention is that where my competencies match the prospective employer's needs it's really obvious.
But the commenters here also make valid points about recruiters' failings. I had the wonderful experience of being phoned up and offered a job at the firm that had made me redundant from that same role just a few months earlier. That firm's name on the CV apparently didn't register and even my incredulous 'Are you sure?' on the phone didn't make him double-check.
This guy is entertaining
And let's face it, basic errors in typing, lies and irrelevant data are part of cv writing 101.
At the end of the day it's the candidate who needs to sell themselves into a job.
But I agree that recruiters for anything below C-suite jobs are worthless rent seekers leeching on candidates' desperation and companies' icompetence/laziness.
From my little experience with hiring, the higher up you recruit for the more often one sees blatant mistakes in cv's.
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