Writing the “perfect CV”

So this week I tasked myself with updating my CV. I have always tried to keep my CV short as this is something I was taught in school. I was always told that “in a stack of 20-30 applicants the people in charge of recruitment will pick up a 1-2 page CV instead of a 10 page”, which makes sense really. However there comes a point where more is better I believe.

Previously my CV consisted of the bare minimum, personal details, basic skillset overview and where I’ve worked, how long I’ve worked there and a maximum of 2-3 lines of text describing what I did. Now when you’ve worked at places for multiple years summing that up in 2 lines is near on impossible! I decided to have a look at other developers CVs and compare what I was putting on to them, surprisingly to me the average length CV I was reading was about 4 pages. This literally doubled what I was putting before!

Now with all this extra space, what do I put? How do I fill it? Well the latest addition to my CV is a new entry for me, Education. I left school at 16, started working as a developer straight away with no real formal education, so this is something I’ve never had on my CV. This year marks the start of my Open University degree (BSc Computing, IT & Software) so now I get to show this off, yeah I haven’t finished the course yet, but I am doing it and potential employers should know.

Another thing I have added is a personal statement kind of thing. The very first question you always get asked at interviews, whether it be on the phone or in person is “tell me a bit about yourself” – well now I have this written on my CV which is something I have never had before. I have mentioned how long I have been developing, family life, hobbies etc.

I now have more space to add languages I have coded with, frameworks I have used, tools and apps that I use on a daily basis or I know well enough to use at work. Previously this was only a couple of lines as a brief summary too.

I have also gone through my employment history and revamped how its worded / presented. Unfortunately I have worked at a few places in my career for short periods of time, whether that be because of illness, death in the family that I didn’t take too well or whatever. What do I do about these on my CV? Simple really, don’t. My opinion is, a CV is what sells me to companies. I want to highlight the best of me, what I am capable of, that I do stay at companies for a long time and help them grow as much as I grow myself, so this is what I have done. I have now got my CV up to date with everywhere I have worked at that really highlights my personal growth and value over the years. Each role is now listed with descriptions of tech I used, projects I worked on and things I have been involved in that can sell me to, well you!

So to sum it up, less is more for sure, but more can be more too. My CV has gone from 2 pages at a push to nearly 4 pages, more information, less faff, less line spacing and actually a better document to get to know me!

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