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CV Tips for Software Developers?

Cliff posted more than 9 years ago | from the aka-the-resume dept.

Businesses 88

drylight asks: "When writing a CV, what do people find to be an effective format that gets possible employer's attention and/or the desired job? Is Keeping things short, preferable or will two or more pages be acceptable? Is a complete work history desired, or would a list of applications and projects that you've been involved in a better idea? Any links to online examples of good CVs would be greatly appreciated. What are some other tips on how to get someone's attention when applying for a job?"

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Job (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11365237)

I have a job you fool!!!!!! Oh, and FP

Re:Job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11372605)

Bah! Jobs suck. I just go out in the evening and give random guys blowjobs - better paid, plus I can decide how much I work and when.

I am now in the process of buying my second own appartement, and I'm only 22.

Re:Job (1)

seven of five (578993) | more than 9 years ago | (#11378586)

"jobs suck" ... "I give blowjobs"....

sounds recursive.

My tips- only one of which is a joke (2, Funny)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 9 years ago | (#11365257)

First of all, my qualifications- between October 2001 and December 2003, I spent 26 months out of work. I got a LOT of experience writing resumes, CVs, and filling out job applications in that time. Here are my statistics:

2600 total job applications filed.
1475- 2 page resumes tuned to the job description in the advert, with cover letter.
200 1-page resumes tuned to the job description in the advert, with cover letter.
845 general purpose 6-page resumes with all experience and skills on them (3 pages worth of skillsets + 10 years of experience)
80 applications for fast food jobs.

Out of that, I recieved 15 interviews and one job offer- all on either the applications for fast food jobs, or on the 2 page resumes.

And now for the joke- decide now, do you want an exciting career or stability? And a hint if you decide on stability- student loans within the last 20 years in your credit report mean that you are no longer qualified to be a fry cook.

Re:My tips- only one of which is a joke (2, Funny)

Glog (303500) | more than 9 years ago | (#11365767)

It would seem that your misfortunes stem from the fact that you are a "Marxist Hacker 42" and a supporter of free software. I have personally made sure that you cannot find any job not only in the US but also in India, Sweden, Afghanistan, and Bahrain as well.

Billy Gates

In other words (1)

Safety Cap (253500) | more than 9 years ago | (#11365892)

Resumes are crap, as you found out during your 2-year trial by fire:
  • They do not convey to a potential employer how you could solve his/her problems
  • They do not adequately convey who you are and what you can do
  • "Past experience is no guarantee of future performance"
  • Dead trees can't answer complex questions

Just taking your example: 2,520 resumes = 1 job. That's a .03% (NOT 3%) success rate. I think I'd much rather spend my time using other techniques.

Posting a resume on major job sites can help!. (1)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367357)

I sent out a fair number of resumes myself (I would guess several hundred) over the past three years, but most of the success I had in getting interviews came from a different source: the copies of my resume that I had posted on various internet job sites.

I still think that actively applying to various positions is better than not sending out resumes at all, since exposure is everything if you're trying to attract attention to yourself, but my own experience that doesn't result in very many positive responses.

Re:Posting a resume on major job sites can help!. (1)

WebCrapper (667046) | more than 9 years ago | (#11372683)

I can agree with this. I've had more success on recruiters contacting me than I have actually sending in resumes.

Now, I've also started collecting resume's from friends for a new startup and I've found more interest in a 2 page resume that highlights your strong points then just lists your education and past job history. It makes anyone viewing the resume curious.

The biggest issue of applying to any major company is that the resumes generally are not looked at by a human at first. They are data mined to get the details and filtered (ie: not enough education - trash/ignore). The best examples are then given to the "human" counterpart of the system for the decisions. Now, the problem with this method is, due to human nature, the "Good'ol'boy" system kicks in and anyone that knows someone will get an interview. Also, the top X percent are given interviews as well (since its required by law in the United States - well, they have to interview people that are qualified...). The GS system for the US Government is a prime example of this.

Re:In other words (1)

iocat (572367) | more than 9 years ago | (#11377121)

Resumes are pretty worthless, but you should still have one, because even when you're brought in a place where you know everyone and the job may be a "lock," people still want to see what you've done.

When hiring, I find the *cover letter* is vastly more important than the resume. A personally written cover letter that quickly describes skills and experience (and attitude) that are applicable will get you an interview way faster than a "dear recruiter:" form letter.

Experience is one thing... (2, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 9 years ago | (#11366461)

...but if you're sending out that many resumes with such bad results, I have to suspect you're doing something wrong. Have you ever had somebody review your resume for you? People are not objective about their own writing.

Re:Experience is one thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11366961)

I've started taking this route: development portfolios! []

Re:Experience is one thing... (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367194)

Many times. Every time came out different- but the key among all of them was limiting to the two pages. There WAS one other major impact with that resume experience however- check out the DATES when I was unemployed. Right smack dab in the middle of the recession, and only a Bachelor's degree at a time when most Master's and above were unemployed.

Re:My tips- only one of which is a joke (2, Insightful)

Pete (big-pete) (253496) | more than 9 years ago | (#11366744)

Out of that, I recieved 15 interviews and one job offer- all on either the applications for fast food jobs, or on the 2 page resumes.

In the UK almost everyone seems to say that a CV (UK terminology for resume) shouldn't be over two pages, and I was surprised to find that in Belgium anything over one page is deemed excessive for most people.

Of course, I took the advice I had received to heart, and tried to cram as much as possible into a two page document - this was used with little effect for the occasional job application for one to two years. Then a recruitment agency contacted me with a position they thought I could apply for, and asked me to flesh out my CV to include more detail on certain areas - length no issue (I extended it to about three pages)...

I got an interview, and very quickly (within a day) a job offer. I also used the CV to apply for another job that also interested me - again netting an interview (and maybe an even better offer - still waiting).

Don't restrict yourself too much to the length of a CV, it is not the be-all and end-all of your application. If you need more space to demonstrate your skills and experience then use it. I know that I wouldn't immediately bin a CV for being over two pages in length - as long as the content justified the length.

Of course, try and make sure it is readable - use a good sized readable font, well spaced. Don't cramp the text and do ask friends for their opinion on the style and presentation.

There is a lot of information out there on writing the "perfect" CV, but some of it does conflict - do your research but go with what feels right for you and your situation.

-- Pete.

Re:My tips- only one of which is a joke (1)

Jamesie (615784) | more than 9 years ago | (#11370372)

My C.V. currently runs to 8 pages, I have heard that they should be shorter but never from an agency or during an interview. As long as your main/current skills and roles are on the first page I don't think it matters.

I am a contractor so it might be different for permanent applications but I would of thought that employers would be at least as interested in a detailed C.V. for permanent candidates than they would be for contractors.

Be more than a Fry cook! (1)

bluGill (862) | more than 9 years ago | (#11366953)

True you are over qualified as a fry cook, but that isn't the only fast food job around. They need managers too. Truth is if I had stuck with fast food as a career, instead of gone to college, I would be making more money today, 7 years after I graduated with a CS degree! Sometimes I'm tempted to go back, I still have contacts there, and there is one fringe benefit over computer jobs: not only do you work with beautiful girls, but they have to talk to you! (They are often too young to date, but at least you see them)

Fry cooks don't make much money. Management does pretty good. There are down sides of course. The hours are terrible (hope you don't have plans for lunch Saturday). All the free "food" you can clog your heart with. (though you are on your feet, so you get more activity than being at a desk)

Re:Be more than a Fry cook! (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 9 years ago | (#11368966)

And, of course, if you live in Portland, OR, to be a manager of a fast food restaurant (circa 2001-2003 anyway):

Must speak spanish- so that you can talk to all the illegal immigrants in the kitchen (the counter, of course, has English speakers, but the kitchen help is all Mexican).

Must not have any college background in credit check- skill means that you might leave if you find a job within what you really wanted to do, and so the company is not willing to train you to be a manager.

Re:My tips- only one of which is a joke (1)

Bloater (12932) | more than 9 years ago | (#11378188)

That's a terrible conversion rate, I've been seriously looking for a new job for two years (only the last two months of which was I unemployed). I sent about 10x 2 page CVs roughly customised for the jobs, and mostly with cover letters. I have had 3 interviews (one of which was over the telephone) and am currently waiting to hear about the others. For the ones I have expected to hear something, I have converted 5 applications into 3 interviews, and 3 interviews into 0 jobs. That's a 60% application -> interview conversion. I am not counting my temping work in that at all, only serious applications for software engineer posts.

I have moved into the area that I want to work in now (hence being temporarily unemployed), and so I expect to convert my interviews more effectively now - as my increased availability and personal stability makes a job offer more valuable to an employer. I have also started aiming higher as I am more confident in my value now that I have left my previous job.

2600 applications -> 15 interviews is piss poor. You are either applying to low, or too high. Or your CV is crap.

PS, before this period of change, I have always converted applications to interviews at 100%, and interviews to offers also at 100%. It is not hard, you just have to be friendly, honest, and happen to have the skills and personality that they want. So your best hope for converting applications is to pick the right jobs to apply for. I believe that the reason it has become harder is that I have greater qualifications now, and many employers don't trust you to stay, ie, I have *had* to aim higher to make employers take me seriously to keep up the number of interviews.

Re:My tips- only one of which is a joke (1)

alatesystems (51331) | more than 9 years ago | (#11408061)

My eyeballs hurt after looking at your web page, OWWWWWW!!! So many animated gifs and blue everywhere!

Re:My tips- only one of which is a joke (1)

velo_mike (666386) | more than 9 years ago | (#11408947)

statistics of woe snipped

Not to be rude, but if your resume resembles either of the web pages listed in your header ( or than I'm not surprised you had such a poor search. The latter site is at least readable, not something I could say for the former. My completly unsolicited advice, take it or leave it as you wish, get yourself to the local community college that offers career building courses and get your CV checked out by somebody with an objective view.

Focus on achievements not tools (4, Insightful)

DamienMcKenna (181101) | more than 9 years ago | (#11365282)

Focus on the achievements you've made, not strictly the tools used. For example, don't tell them that you wrote a 1000 line perl script using bazillions of modules, rather tell them that you fixed a problem the company had for years which boosted sales/productivity/profits using a perl script you wrote. You can be trained in tools, life experience and achievements are what set you apart from other people.


Some employers use tools as their main filter. (1)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367439)

If you don't know the specific environments and tools that they're using, they aren't interested.

I found that a resume that didn't at least mention a list of tools obtained very few responses, and some of the best interviews I had were the result of a specific language or software package I had listed on my resume.

Re:Some employers use tools as their main filter. (1)

riffraff (894) | more than 9 years ago | (#11368625)

Wow, your signature brought back some memories. I used to work on Unisys mainframes (1100/60 and 2200/400), and I remember the @FIN, $$CLOSE statements (end a job, and close the terminal, I believe).

I have those on my resume, even though it's been a while since I've used them. I'm not sure it will do any good, but it may show that I'm somewhat experienced, at least.

html (0)

Fr05t (69968) | more than 9 years ago | (#11365316)

1)Build CV in html
2)use lots of tags
3) ????
4 Job!

**Note blink tags do not work when CV is printed on paper.

Re:html (1)

otuz (85014) | more than 9 years ago | (#11366269)

Do NOT use <BLINK> -tags, instead use CSS:

<style type="text/css"> .blink {text-decoration:blink}

<h1 class=blink>Blinking!</h1>

Re:html (1)

jrockway (229604) | more than 9 years ago | (#11368020)

But if I do that then you can turn off my 1337 blinking by simply overriding my CSS file with your own. Noooooooooo!

Re:html (1)

otuz (85014) | more than 9 years ago | (#11368381)

You can (theoretically) do that also by overriding the blink-tag with css:

blink {text-decoration:none}

Re:html (1)

Jamesie (615784) | more than 9 years ago | (#11370394)

Surely that should be

1)Build CV in html
2)use lots of tags
3) ????
4) Juuurbb!

Re:html (1)

mystran (545374) | more than 9 years ago | (#11372575)

Actually, I used to have my CV as HTML. Then I had a makefile that run's "lynx -dump" on it (with a few more switches) and then I'd usually send both the HTML and the "plain text" version if no specific requirements were given.

Whether this was good or bad for getting a job, I don't know. But what I do know is that there always was a strong correlation between the preferred document format and the job function. Almost every time any technical people would have the plain text versions printed, while any non-technical people would have the HTML versions printed.

Your address? (1)

holzp (87423) | more than 9 years ago | (#11365321)

Anywhere in India usually suffices.

Be creative (2, Funny)

RealityMogul (663835) | more than 9 years ago | (#11365329)

1.) Popup books - everybody loves them

The first page can be a little cutout of you in a suit and tie with a smile on your face. Then another with you hunched over a keyboard with the moon in the background. Make a little tab that causes your arms to pound on a keyboard.

2.) Lifelike puppet - CEOs love these.

Fully posable so they can imagine how well you'll dance at their command.

3.) Lie like a dog

Going for an entry level coder position? Make sure you meet the requirement in the job ad. Like having an MBA, 10 years risk analysis experience, and another decade of experience in all the latest programming languages/frameworks. Say you have all that and you'll surely land that $20,000/yr job tweaking the color scheme on their website!

CV? (0)

dougmc (70836) | more than 9 years ago | (#11365335)

What's a CV? Sounds like a resume, but context suggests it's somewhat different ...

Re:CV? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11365408)

Yeah, it's basically a resume, but for people who have never actually _done_ anything in their life. That is, they've spent all their time in school and think they're better than the rest of the world because of their degrees and theoretical experience, but have no actual experience to include on a resume as a paid gig.

Re:CV? (1)

TwistedSquare (650445) | more than 9 years ago | (#11365692)

Who modded this interesting? CVs are used by everyone, at all stages of their career (sometimes they are subsumed by application forms, but often the application forms recommend you tack on a CV anyway). Ignore the anti-education troll.

Parent isn't a troll..... (1)

simetra (155655) | more than 9 years ago | (#11389440)

Parent is correct. CV is a pretentious buzzword replacement for Resume. Used by the types of people who put periods in their phone numbers instead of dashes. If I ever advertised for resumes, and got one of these things, I would send it back with a note attached saying "We're not the Holy Frickin Roman Empire".

Re:Parent isn't a troll..... (1)

dJOEK (66178) | more than 9 years ago | (#11406493)

You're American?

CV is, where I live, the commonly used term for it. We have a history in which language and culture is relevant ;-)

'Resume' on the other hand is what you do after you pause a task and want to 'un-pause'. You're looking for a "Résumé", which is french for summary.

If you asked for them, I bet a lot of people would send you a note saying
"Sacreblue! We are not in ze France, Hon Hon!!!"

I propose the use of 'Career Summary' as a valid American English alternative.

That, or 'My Stuff-I-Did-Upto-Now' by John Q. Average

Re:CV? (1)

NetRanger (5584) | more than 9 years ago | (#11365487)

CV stands for Curriculum Vitae. It's a format for people in professional and academic fields. It also serves as a good vehicle for additional information should an employer wish to see your full range of skills. For example, a 2-page resume with a reference to see your CV on your website for more information is a good idea.

Re:CV? (0)

rusty0101 (565565) | more than 9 years ago | (#11365491)

CV is shorthand for Certificate Vital, or list of vital information that can be certified.

It is far more common in the legal and education fields where in addition to listing where you have worked, and what your specific tasks were, you also list papers and projects you authored were a part of. These papers and projects are often vetted in some way before publication or finalization, which means that their authenticity, proovability, and your efforts in those papers and projects are well documented, and are evidence of your actual skills and abilities.

It is unusual in the business community to use a CV in an effort to get a job, in that most businesses do not encourage their employees to publish the fact that they were involved in specific projects or documents. This is not entirely universal. It is common for research people within a company to do some form of publication, and within the company they may freely associate their involvement in various projects, but it is unusual to use that information outside of the company.

In fact most HR departments will do no mre than say you worked from start date to end date for the company. Going beyond that either with praise or derision opens them up to legal action. They may provide a job description of what your job was, or jobs were, but I wouldn't expect that in most cases.

In any case, good luck.


Re:CV? (1)

TwistedSquare (650445) | more than 9 years ago | (#11365654)

Curriculum Vitae, I'm afraid.

Re:CV? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11365728)

No, you're wrong, CV stands for Cock Vacuum, or at least it should in your case.

Re:CV? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11365831)

What's a CV? Sounds like a resume, but context suggests it's somewhat different ...

In some countries, such as the United Kingdom, what is called a CV is basically a resume. There are some differences though. For example, all US resume advice I've seen says the limit should be one page; all UK CV advice says it should be two.

Re:CV? (2, Informative)

DLWormwood (154934) | more than 9 years ago | (#11366220)

Sounds like a resume...

For the most part, it is... CV is the abbreviation for the latin phrase curricula vitae. The term is more commonly used in Europe (especially the UK), rather than the more pedestrian (and French) sounding resumé.

Re:CV? (2, Informative)

nicolas.e (715954) | more than 9 years ago | (#11373184)

In fact, in France, we use the term "CV" and not résumé.

Re:CV? (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 9 years ago | (#11377298)

CV is the abbreviation for the latin phrase curricula vitae

My mother (a professional careers advisor for many years) would despair. Twice in one subthread, people have not just spelt curriculum vitae incorrectly, but actually used the wrong words. Do be sure to get this right if you ever actually write one!

Read their minds (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 9 years ago | (#11365396)

Yes, read the minds of potential employers. It's great for interviews too. Anything else is just a shot in the dark.

one advice (2, Informative)

BinLadenMyHero (688544) | more than 9 years ago | (#11365426)

Poor writing is bad for your image. Learn how to place the commas:

"Is Keeping things short preferable, or will two or more pages be acceptable?"

Re:one advice (1)

Glog (303500) | more than 9 years ago | (#11365812)

Actually, I would start with spelling first. In a recent batch of "resumes" I had to review one candidate had misspelled "education". Hmm, yeah, educated indeed!

Re:one advice (2, Funny)

nosferatu-man (13652) | more than 9 years ago | (#11365867)

"one advice"? In a post about grammar? Genius.

Re:one advice (1)

mph (7675) | more than 9 years ago | (#11376426)

"one advice"? In a post about grammar? Genius.
Indeed. Everyone knows the singluar is "avouse."

Re:one advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11365886)

Poor writing is bad for your image. Learn how to place the commas

Perchance he's applying to be a /. editor?

Optimize, optimize, optimize! (4, Funny)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 9 years ago | (#11366241)

What programmer can resist overoptimization? Here it goes:

> Is Keeping things short preferable, or will two or more pages be acceptable?

The most obvious error is the extra capitalization of Keeping. After fixing that simple bug:

> Is keeping things short preferable, or will two or more pages be acceptable?

Know your API. The english language has a wonderful word for "two or more" that ensures you don't have too many "or"s. This also removes the need for a comma:

> Is keeping things short preferable or will several pages be acceptable?

Making it obvious that the advice is for "you" saves the reader a few brain cycles:

> Should I keep things short or in several pages?

If the first part is true, then the second part is necessarily false. This useful fact allows further contraction and removes a syntax ambiguity between "things" and "pages" that helps brain compiler writers keep their parser simple:

> Should I keep things short?

If you keep "things" short, some people may want to reuse the question for other "things":

> Should things be short?

There. Only 23 characters instead of the original 76. This 70% reduction in size will save brain space and processing power that could be used to write another resume.

MOD PARENT UP (+5 funny) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11369204)

Fuck this is funny shit!!


Re:Optimize, optimize, optimize! (1)

Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) | more than 9 years ago | (#11370649)

> Should things be short?

Obviously, he's asking if he should make them short, not if they ought to be, so:

> Should I shorten?

And possibly:

> Shorten?

8 characters, almost 1/10 the size of the original, and makes about 1/10 as much sense.

Re:Optimize, optimize, optimize! (1)

iocat (572367) | more than 9 years ago | (#11377145)

Resumes: short, or long?

24 characters, but gets the point across better than either previous optimizations, since it keeps the topic, resumes, in the sentence.

Re:Optimize, optimize, optimize! (1)

roju (193642) | more than 9 years ago | (#11375525)

Golfing english. Like perl golf, with less punctuation. I like it.

Both (1)

HRbnjR (12398) | more than 9 years ago | (#11365471)

Not knowing exactly what skills particular employers are looking for, I have always had trouble finding a good size balance. So now I use both! []

I use html title attributes you can click on for detail about a particular project I have done, or skill category. All the information is included in the single emailable html document. You can also print it out, though that will lose the popups, hence the encouragement at the start for people to view the online version.

Re:Both (3, Informative)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 9 years ago | (#11365601)

Know what happens with your resume when it's submitted digitally? A HR person prints off a bunch of copies. One's usually stored in permament records, the others passed out to those doing the hiring. Chance of someone that matters ever seeing it in a digital format? Fat.

The paperless office is a myth, and the paperless hiring process is just pure fantasy.

Re:Both (2, Informative)

HRbnjR (12398) | more than 9 years ago | (#11365833)

I agree, printing is to be expected, and is just fine by me. In that case, you still get the standard one page version you would have had with a conventional approach. This is purely an *augmentation* for if you do view it in a browser.

If I make it past the first screening, to the point where they are thinking about calling for an interview - they can slap my URL from the top of the page into their browser and find out all about me if they want. Will they? Who knows. My current employer did though, and it helped.

Paperless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11366301)

I don't know, I enjoy seeing all the 'extras' you get when someone sends you a .doc CV. Usually told you all kinds of things that weren't apparent from just the text.

Re:Both (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11366438)

...And you can track which employer actually visits the page!

I just interviewed candidates for dev positions... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11365631)

We hired people from all walks of life but anyone who had a letter of recommendation from a prior work got a job (even with less technical expertise).

Come to think of it the ones who smiled the most and expressed their limits got jobs. Some who said they were experts in everything weren't called back.

Sigh, now if I could just believe you. (2, Insightful)

bluGill (862) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367006)

Most jobs won't look at you unless you claim 5 years of .net. That alone weeds out all the honest guys who don't exaggerate.

Re:Sigh, now if I could just believe you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11369838)

Well, if you read all the "expert" advice it's all about marketing. If you can convince a company that you have more experience then is possible, you must have what if takes.

Have multiple versions (1)

mosabua (534503) | more than 9 years ago | (#11365913)

In general it all depends on where you apply. Different companies will have a different focus and preference. It also changes a lot from country to country.

I applied for and found jobs in Austria, Australia and Canada. I have a base resume (short version) and a detailed curriculum vitae (long version). Normally I submit a custom tailored version of the resume with the stuff that is interesting for the employer and a custom made letter accompnaying the resume.

This gets the attention. In the letter I mention that my CV is available online in case they want more information and of course I am more than happy to tell them more in person ;-)

And of course... everything is up to date all the time ;-)

Oh and btw. spelling and grammar and proper layout are very important.

From a tool set point of view I use LaTeX and from that produce HTML, PDF, PS, OO and RTF. Once set up it is pretty easy that way.

The short version :-) (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 9 years ago | (#11366237)

I've posted some fairly lengthy comments on this subject on Slashdot before; go ahead and search my old posts if you want.

Here are a few quick tips for now:

  • A CV/resume is a taster to get you past the machines/HR drones and into the interview stage with people who matter. It should give a summary of your skills and abilities, and provide plenty of food for thought so they want to discuss the details with you later.
  • Make it easily scannable. It may go into a database, so make sure you use the standard buzzwords if only in a list. You get 20 seconds, max, to make an initial impression on the first human to see it. If you haven't got the reader by then, you're going to File 32, so make sure the biggies are obvious: how many years of experience you have, degree(s)/awarding institution(s), major areas you've worked in and tools/technologies you've used. This first phase is more about not ruling yourself out of the shortlist by being stupid rather than getting yourself hired immediately.
  • Personally, I like to put a short "skills" section for the buzzword lists at the top, followed by the slightly more detailed comments on my academic and professional background in a classic chronological order format. As another poster commented, these comments should be focussed on the results you achieved and just mention the buzzwords used, rather than the other way around. These are what get read after that 20 second mark, and will probably form the basis for any background questions at interview. Obviously, try to highlight your strengths and draw attention to areas you'd like to discuss further. Look for key skills in the job spec that you can demonstrate, and particularly for related areas you've worked in before.
  • Local customs vary, but it can be a good idea to include a little personal information: what do you like to do out of work? Some of this could be as relevant as past work experience -- perhaps you've worked on some OSS projects? Other things might demonstrate less tangible values like having people skills, planning ability, dedication and commitment, being trustworthy with money, etc. Finally, it just gives an insight into your personality and proves you're not Just Another Clone Developer, which will make you a far more interesting person to work with (and provide more starting points for your interviewer).

Hopefully that's some useful food for thought, but there are plenty of advice pages out there -- some much better than others, so go for the advice that's popular on most or all sites, and don't lend so much weight to one site's pet idea.

Obligatory Slashdot Editor Complaint (2, Informative)

fm6 (162816) | more than 9 years ago | (#11366513)

Most of Slashdot's readers have never heard of the Curriculum Vitae. In the U.S., it's usually called a Resume. Slashdot editors really need to pay more attention to the "WTF is a ..." factor.

Re:Obligatory Slashdot Editor Complaint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11384351)

"Most of Slashdot's reader..."

Opinion or fact ?

Re:Obligatory Slashdot Editor Complaint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11384592)

Most of Slashdot's readers have never heard of the Curriculum Vitae. In the U.S., it's usually called a Resume

Never having heard of a CV, even in the US, shows a great deal of ignorance. Even if you don't know what it stands for, or what the latin means, you should know the acronym. Barring that, any intelligent person should be able to get it from context.

I may be a troll, but I'll certainly have a better chance of getting that job!

*EFFORT* (can I shout that loud enough?) (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11366522)

Looking for a job is a full time job. Once you find a job, applying for that job is a full time job for a week, or at max 2 weeks.

You can get the job if:
a) you're enthusiastic,
b) it's the right job for you,
c) you're the right person for the job.

If any of these aren't satisfied, you're wasting your time. All your questions are irrelevant, once you figure out a, b & c. Looking for a job is to satisy b, then while applying for it is to tell the employer that c is satisfied.

Some specifics that helped me:
Don't ever use email. Emails are in reality nothing more than a stream of bytes temporarily rendered (by an unknown mail app) on glowing dots of phosphor/LEDs.
Have email, but don't use a free one. If it has to be free, make sure it's obscure and says something positive about you, like yourname@yourclub.etc
Don't use agencies.
Don't even think about trying to make a generic CV to throw at 100's of companies, they won't be interested. You can have a generic structure, but the content has to specific.
Don't lie.
If you think you need to figure out how to make lame things sound good, you need to stop thinking they're lame.
Buy a B/W laser printer to print your CV on to *ultra-extra-hi-bright* white 140gsm paper.

Re:*EFFORT* (can I shout that loud enough?) (1)

iocat (572367) | more than 9 years ago | (#11377160)

This is all good advice, but people use email a lot now. I don't think we've even gotten a paper resume except with an artist portfolio in at least a year. Certainly not for a programmer position.

Also, I don't think hiring managers look down on yahoo, gmail, or hotmail accounts -- most people maintain those especially for resumes, or to have an address that will always work. As long as it isn't "" or "", a free email address is probably no big deal.

Re:*EFFORT* (can I shout that loud enough?) (1)

Rudeboy777 (214749) | more than 9 years ago | (#11389413)

Just for some real-world validation, I got my first 2 jobs out of school using my for my contact email address. Running your own mail server is not a prerequisite to getting a tech job (even though I now do just that).

Get a friend to review (1)

tengwar (600847) | more than 9 years ago | (#11366890)

Strange, but I've found that I can rework someone else's CV to look much better, but I can't do it with my own.

For your specific questions, as a manager I'd usually expect a 2-3 page CV. Educational history needs to be in there, but the more important stuff varies with the type of job. If I'm hiring a programmer, I'm interested in specific technical skills (10 years .NOT etc.) more than what the skills have been used for.

If I'm hiring for a fuzzier job, e.g. project manager, I'm looking for explanations of work that I can understand - that means that I need to understand what the difference was between the start and end of the project, and what part you had in achieving it - sounds obvious, but most "fuzzy" CVs don't have that and in consequence they are very difficult for me to read.

Notwithstanding that, do include the relevant buzzwords for your area - you need them to get past the filters at the recruitment consultant.

On the Value (or Lack Thereof) of Resumes (1)

edward.virtually@pob (6854) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367652)

As this article [] describes, resumes are largely useless. You're better off networking and trying to trick your way into speaking to an actual technical manager than worrying much about your resume -- beyond the obvious points of keeping it as targeted and brief as possible.

Let them know what kind of guy you are right away. (3, Funny)

crazyphilman (609923) | more than 9 years ago | (#11370201)

First of all, I always use high-quality paper, like for example parchment made from dried human skin. I find that if you dry it with some violets, it has a nice fragrance, which H.R. droids really seem to appreciate.

Next up, when writing your resume, do NOT let the blood coagulate. One time, I only got halfway through the experience section when I found my pen gumming up! So, it's a good idea to wet your pen by jamming it in your NEXT victim while he's still alive. This also tends to lighten the mood a little; resumes are pretty stressful to write.

Once you're writing, it helps to throw in some playful alternative spellings like "CompUUTre" and "Jaaahhhva". It'll throw the recruiting H.R. person off balance slightly, and make them wonder about your state of mind. Excellent motivator! Remember, you want to put your best foot forward. Sometimes I put in a chart with a jagged line rising up and to the right; the y axis is marked "My foot" and the x axis is marked "your ass", after a charming video on the Red Vs. Blue site. That Sarge is such a card! I think he would agree that this is a good motivator for H.R.

Finally, make sure to include as much mayhem in your experience section as possible. If you've got entries involving going postal in a large organization, include them! High body counts are a plus, particularly if you started in the H.R. office.

Ah, I remember when I was young, and interviewing... I visited five companies, two of which still existed afterwards! Sigh. Oh, to be young again...

Write your resume in XML (1)

bruckie (217355) | more than 9 years ago | (#11371049)

As a bit of a side note, you can write your resume/CV in XML using the XML Resume Project [] and then easily generate PDF, HTML, or plain text from a single source document. You can even tag elements with keywords and then automatically generate targeted resumes for different audiences.

(Note: I'm a developer on the project.)


You're a whore, so focus on selling yourself (1)

JohnQPublic (158027) | more than 9 years ago | (#11371530)

Hear me out.

A resume or a CV is just one of many tools you'll employ in getting a job. It serves one and only one purpose, at least in American business: to get the attention of the hiring manager. Resumes won't get you jobs. If you're lucky, though, they'll get you interviews. And that's the goal at this stage.

To that end, it should be truthful, "impactful", and readable. It should say enough to convince the reader that you might be worth talking to. It shouldn't overwhelm them, and it needs to both be short enough to keep them awake and have enough information to make you attractive.

If you're submitting resumes online, remember that most web-based HR systems will both print it out and dump the text into a searchable database. So make it look nice, but also include key terms. Don't list every language and piece of hardware you've ever used - that's a dead giveaway that you haven't got any real experience, you'll look like every newly-minted Bachelor of Computer Science.

And yes, keep it to two pages, plus a custom-to-the-job cover letter.

Next week on "Ask Slashdot": "How should I act in a job interview?"

Hear, Hear (1)

Curmudgeonlyoldbloke (850482) | more than 9 years ago | (#11382186)

Dead right - a good CV gets you an interview, not a job. I know it sounds obvious, but make sure it's spelt correctly (or spelled if you're from the US I guess) uses correct grammar and is "readable" - not just a list of bullet points or a "stream of conciousness". Although I haven't written one for many years (too lazy to change jobs) I've read through plenty of other people's and know exactly what will get canned after the first read. Keep it simple, and make it read like it was written by a human. It'll get read by one - and they're thinking, along with whether you could do the job or not, "could I work with this person over the next X years?". However, as the parent said, that's the point of the interview. As has been said elsewhere, concentrate on achievements rather than a blow-by-blow account of every project you've ever worked on. Also, once you've written "the perfect CV" don't let any agency you deal with marmalise it. If they're going to reformat anything, make sure you get to approve anything before it goes out.

Example. (1)

jjgm (663044) | more than 9 years ago | (#11375833)

Any links to online examples of good CVs would be greatly appreciated.

Ok, I'll bite. Here's mine: HTML primary version [] or PDF edition [] .

I get unsolicited mail from people impressed by it, and asking if they can use the same format. Feel free (I retain all rights to the text, of course).

I also just got a new job, so I'm doing something right (although it could be despite the CV, heh).

My CV guidelines:

  • Fixed size of four pages.
  • Use clear English in text passages.
  • Use a clean, professional format that looks good on screen and paper.
  • Start with Career Objective, since it demonstrates motivation and bundles the career history together.
  • Follow with the skill checklist, which is all that some recruitment people will look at anyway.
  • Follow with the employment history, most recent at the top with the most detail. Every time I've moved job, I've compressed the wording for older entries.
  • Successes are interesting. Highlight them in a way that entices discussion at interview. Corollary: you must be able to discuss absolutely everything mentioned in your resume, in depth and detail.
  • I don't bother with an education section. At my career stage, it's irrelevant. I'm not interested in working for people who think it is.
  • Keep the miscellaneous section to a single page.
  • Original is HTML, revision-controlled. I prefer to send the PDF version when submitting applications, because it guarantees format, and because I've known recruiters to deliberately edit Word format etc without my authorization.
  • HTML version should be validating XHTML 1.0 Transitional [] and the underlying HTML source should be very clean and professional.

Re:Example. (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 9 years ago | (#11377494)

I don't really like with the style you use, but I loved this line:

I play a strategic, Internet-based multiplayer team game, Team Fortress (TF)


I also noticed that despite claiming your education doesn't matter at your stage in your career, you still managed to mention which university you went to in passing...

Re:Example. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11380062)

uh, your pdf sucks, my computer can't read it. this means you don't get the job, you foreigner.

Latex Stylesheet? (1)

Heartz (562803) | more than 9 years ago | (#11377892)

Would anybody happen to have a good Latex Stylesheet for a CV?

I'm using an old MS Word version that has been modified a gazzilion times and things are really getting messy.


Re:Latex Stylesheet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11384300)

Re:Latex Stylesheet? (1)

ufnoise (732845) | more than 9 years ago | (#11392776)

I like currvita, look it up on I've been using it for my resume for years.

Re:Latex Stylesheet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11393724)

I've used the res.cls style since leaving uni, I certainly haven't had much success, but that could be because of my CV itself.

As for CV's, most places require you to send doc files, as the upload script wont take anything else.


2 page resume (1)

NateKid (44775) | more than 9 years ago | (#11379978)

1) One page for job history
2) One page for certifications
3) ...
4) Profit!!!

Depends where you are in your career (1)

dannyp (62358) | more than 9 years ago | (#11385400)

The answer to this depends on where you are in your career, and what kind of qualifications that you have.

If you're coming straight out of school with a relatively vanilla degree (math, CS, etc) you should be able to do one page. Talk about your coursework and skills, but emphasize any research or work experience. You're trying to stand out from a stack of similarly vanilla right-out-of-school resumes. The goal of the resume isn't to get you the job - it is to convince someone that it is worth his or her time to interview you.

If you are a few years (or decades) on in your career, a few more pages detailing work experience can be helpful. Remember, though, that resume review is often viewed as a chore. If yours is too long, it will show that you can't express yourself concisely.

That said, there are always exceptions. If you want to quote liberally from your Nobel or Fields citation, feel free to go long. If you want to go into boring depth about your high-school science fair project, you had better either have a Wes^h^h^hIntel win or be under 20.

A secret that worked for me (1)

webhat (558203) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394006)

I use Yahoo! Hotjobs for my CV. And although I would be found in searches quite, usually I wouldn't get employer views.

Then I saw some stupid deal that HotJobs had with a proffesional CV writers,, and looked at the example work they had. I didn't pay them, just looked at their samples.

And just by moving my Award section - I only ever got one - and my publications section - only a mention in Wired Online and ACM Queue - to the top of the page I got a job offer the next day.

I have a nice job now, but it was just amazing.

So try looking at the resume writers sites and learn from there sample work. And most importantly put yourself in the shoes of the employer, what do you think they think is important; your skills - sure; your experience - probably; how much money they can make if they hire you - absolutely!!!

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