When it comes to job search, your CV is your best personal marketing tool. In brief, your CV should tell a story about you, your work history, your skills and projects. And its main goal is to show that you are the best candidate for the job.
When searching for a job, the worst thing to do is to send a generic CV full of grammar and/or spelling mistakes (that states almost nothing about you). This is the biggest issue for recent graduates with no professional experience. Small mistakes in ones CV can result in having candidate disqualified at very beginning of the selection process.
Let’s talk about the recruitment process, and how it works. The first few steps are not that important for this article (like company creating a new position, posting ads on different channels and sourcing), but what comes next is very important: the screening process. In this phase you have to keep in mind that somebody will brew a huge cup of coffee (or two) and start the tedious work of reading CVs. Seeing - clean and well designed CV is the first chance to catch “the eye” – to make the right impression with the person reading it. It’s not about color, curly fonts or some crazy layout. It is all about leaving a professional impression. The big secret is knowing that whoever is reading your CV will need to make decisions based on a relatively small number of facts (and this is really important for people without any work experience) - each mistake will be amplified and will probably be interpreted as your flaw. So, in order to not make those mistakes, let’s cover some basics.
First thing’s first - each CV should follow the same protocol:
Length: no more than 2 - 3 pages.
Use headings and bullet list to make clear structure of your CV or use one of standard CV templates (you can find dozen of already predefined templates on the Internet).
Make sure that your CV is spelling mistakes free.
Proofread - find one or more people to proofread your CV - even better, find somebody from the same industry.
Every CV should include the following:
Email address - DO NOT use emails like firstname.lastname@example.org - DO use a combination of your first name and last name
Social networks contacts like LinkedIn/Twitter
Photo and Date of birth are a sensitive topics : in the US / UK and Australia, you shouldn’t use it (due to privacy and non-discriminations laws), but everywhere else is fine. The photo should be professional, nothing cheeky (believe it or not, once we received a CV with a photo of a guy cheering to us with a glass of wine :S ).
Github / BitBucket / or similar - I can't emphasize enough, how important this is, especially for developers. All projects, no matter how big or small, professional or just exploratory, should be put on GitHub (or GitHub like service). Make your work visible! This gives us a clear insight into your interests and skills (especially for people without work experience - at least put your school assignments on GitHub!).
Links to personal websites or blogs.
At this section appears the biggest difference between recent graduates and people with lengthy work history.
For recent graduates, you should include internship and other work that is not related to the job. Be brief here – the employer wants to see your work history. If you had worked in retail during high school or college, mention it, but don’t go into details.
For people with lengthy work history the best advice I can give is to include the latest jobs (like last 10 years) - sometimes there will be extra section in the CV called Previous Experience where you can list basic information (company name, your title, location) related to the job duties.
No need to be too detailed here. Stating your degree and year of graduation is enough. You do not need to write down your high school.
It should only be mentioned if you haven’t attend college. If you already have college course or you are currently enrolled, or were enrolled, but never graduated, just mentioning the college will be enough.
Show me that you are a Nerd!
This is the best piece of advice that anybody can give you! This is the section in which you can shine! We want to see the entrepreneur in you: you should have at least one project fully developed and published no matter how small or big. E.g. for mobile developers, we want to see the app published on a store. It’s similar for web developers - we want to see websites. Even for backend developers the same thing applies: extract code, create libraries, modules, gems… and publish them.
This should be a brief list of your skills. Do not over explain each skill, just name it. Put all job relevant skills at the top of the list. And please: DO NOT add scores for your skills(e.g. Android Development 8/10). This can just result in comments like: “Are you sure that you know 8 out of 10?”. If you think about it, what does 10/10 mean? Does that mean you know everything about it? Every method of every Java library? You get the point.
Here is the list of the most important things:
Put everything that you can on Github
Show us that you are a nerd!