Some useful information for those developing their career in the Tech industry.
Your Curriculum Vitae – the CV!
Research tells us that Recruiters, when reading a CV, take just 6 seconds to decide whether to progress an application. If the CV hasn’t grabbed a Recruiters attention within those 6 seconds then, unfortunately, it probably won’t be put forward for the opportunity.
There’s no right or wrong way of how your CV is presented, as long as it’s professional and makes good use of white space, however the content should be succinct, relevant and easy to decipher – remember, 6 seconds!
- Personal Statement: explain what you do now, what you want to do & any personal characteristics that make you a good match for the opportunity. No more than 4 or 5 short sentences.
- Personal Info: be as brief or verbose as you like with your address, date of birth, health etc.
- Technical Skills: If applicable you should always include a technical skills table / list with your strongest, most relevant technical skills – programming languages, operating systems, databases etc. Try and make a clear distinction between your strongest technical skills and those you are less familiar with.
- Employment History: Start with your most recent Employment and work backwards chronologically (always include Job Title – Employer – Employment Dates). Include a sentence or 2 of your Employer’s business and then a description of your role within that; focusing on your key responsibilities and achievements.
- Education: Again, be as brief or verbose as required depending on your career level.
- Hobbies: If you work on technology projects outside of your workplace then *definitely* include as much information as you can.
- Social Networks: If you have a LinkedIn profile it’s a good idea to include a link on your CV. Also, any links to profiles on Github, Stackoverflow etc will enhance your CV. Regarding Facebook / Twitter – if you’re comfortable with your content on there then by all means include links. It has been well documented that most Employers & Recruiters search social media for info on candidates.
- References: Entirely up to you, for permanent roles references aren’t usually taken until after the interview stage and with your consent (for contract roles references are sometimes required earlier in the process).
Other general points:
- Bullet points can be useful for lists of responsibilities / achievements / technical skills etc.
- Make good use of white space!
- Try and keep it to 2 pages.
- Use bold / white space to highlight key headings and sections.
Well done! Getting to interview stage is a step toward getting an offer of employment and I’ve always recommended that people should attend as many interviews as possible – you never know what will transpire.
For any interview there are several key points to remember, as well as some specific to the technology industry.
- Research the company! Absolutely crucial and you will almost always be asked “What do you know about us? Why do you want to work here?”
- Make sure you know where the interview is being held, who you will be meeting and the general structure of the interview (e.g. Any technical tests? Will you be writing pseudo-code?) – your Recruiter should provide full details.
- When answering a technical question make sure you understand the question – if you think you might have misunderstood the interviewer then always ask them to clarify.
- When working through a problem “think out loud” as you will be assessed on your thought process as much as whether you get the right answer.
- Communicate! Talk to the interviewer and sell yourself.
- When writing pseudo-code (e.g. a short whiteboard exercise) it’s best to keep it as simple as possible and think before you start, before talking through your solution with the interviewer(s) as you write it.
- Always prepare questions; read the company website and job description in full and think about how your skills and experience might benefit them and would you might gain from the opportunity.
- Get some practice in. Do coding exercises, TopCoder, Codechef, Sourceforge, Codecademy are all useful sites.
- Enjoy yourself! Whilst not every interview results in a happy marriage, you might meet these people again in some shape or form and you can always benefit from a large network.