Make your CV the Ultimate Winner
A focus on how to create a CV quickly, simply, and efficiently.
A few weeks ago, Lexis's CEO gave terrific tips and tricks to master your interview for any developer position. In addition, we will now focus on the most crucial part before the interview: the CV.
Are you preparing your CV for the very first time?
Firstly, make the center of attention any internship, courses, etc., closest to your selected job offers. But if you don't have any, never be ashamed of other experiences.
Let's say you worked in the customer service field for a few years before you decided to switch your career path, or you are still a student, so you performed a job to sustain and meet your ends - put that in your resume as well. It shows you gained experience and specific skills, are aware of the work ethic and weren't switching from place to place.
But any other courses show dedication too. Even if they don't relate 100% to the job you are applying for, the person checking your CV will consider that you have put the effort to gather knowledge or have a specific interest and decided to develop it. Don't forget to mention participation in university competitions, hackathons, academies, etc.
English C1 vs. C++?
Good knowledge of English is a must when working in IT. If you don't know it even on a basic level, the chance of you getting hired is closer to zero. We strongly suggest you put in the effort and attain a decent mastery of the English language to further your career.
And it's not only English! Most Bulgarian developers work on international projects, so any language apart from English will be welcomed.
Powering your skills
We live in a time when soft skills are the game changer. So never second guess yourself and list all of the ones you possess.
You need more practice if you are not confident enough in your communication skills. Don't worry about the interview process; instead, apply for companies that are not your first choice. This way, you will gain experience without sacrificing your go-to employers. Your friends could be of help too. They might imitate an interviewer and ask you some questions Deyan shared with us.
But, of course, don't miss all the technical skills - especially if you have any of the listed ones on the job offer.
Does a higher degree get your foot in the door, or is the experience the one that sells you?
Education matters, but your skills and experience will benefit you more in the real working world. A higher degree will put you ahead of other candidates only when your practical skills are comparable.
Your Linkedin and Github profiles are the only acceptable links you might add to your resume, so make sure they represent you well. If any concern appears that you don't have a lot to add to your profiles - the Internet once again might be your saver. Look for a free course and enroll right away. After finishing it, highlight it on the platforms. Check if there are any IT-related events or lectures in your city, and go networking - you never know where your luck might surprise you.
Picture or no picture? That's the question.
Should you add a photo to your resume? It depends. As we mentioned in a previous blog post, if you are applying for a job in the US, UK, or Canada, don't submit one. Read here why.
If it is not explicitly mentioned that you should put one, it is a personal choice whether to add it or not. Some recruiters might argue and advise you not to do it - especially if not required.
A passport photo is always the best option. Don't forget - the picture should be appropriate, never one from your prom, birthday party, or wearing something provocative. Usually, how you look is the least important to the hiring team, but adding an unsuitable image will probably play a bad joke on you.
Note that your CV should be easy to read.
The hiring team will probably not spend much time scanning it, especially if there are many applicants. So here are some tips:
- use a black, easy-to-read font in one size
- use short sentences and break up blocks of text
- use bullet points to list information
- keep the tone formal
- avoid abbreviations, slang, or jargon
- аvoid additional photos or images
- have strong headings
- keep your CV to a maximum of two pages.
Pro Tip 1:
Sometimes you might need to adapt your CV to the specific job offer. So always have the ready-to-go version (best if it is PDF saved), but always try to make it work for you so later you can work for them! Make your research on the company - see what they value and the leading technologies they use - and highlight that on your resume, especially what they want and what you have aligned.
Pro Tip 2:
Make sure your email sounds professional. It should only consist of your name and surname. Nothing else. No numbers (especially the year you were born) or any nicknames. And check a few times if you haven't missed a digit when adding your phone contact.
Pro Tip 3:
Leonardo Da Vinci once said, "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." So take that in mind when creating your CV. Don't choose a colorful template or one that would be suitable for jobs on the more creative side, and try avoiding the European variant.
Never pay for "special" options; there are many free platforms where you can create a simple but beautiful resume. For example, you can always use Enhancv - a Bulgarian CV builder.
Motivated people always find a way.
A motivational letter might be the joker for you who just started applying for jobs. Of course, you could read a few to get the right idea. But, please, never copy from a ready-written-one; the recruiters will notice immediately.
The letter should be coming from your heart but always professional looking. Find common ground between you and the business, and focus on that. Try avoiding cliches; give examples from your studies and experiences of why you are suitable for the given job. Or explain how you picture yourself growing in the company and how determined you are to do so.
Know when enough is enough
Whether making your CV for the first time or updating it, you should never forget that the point isn't to drown the recruiter in your life history. It is all about balance. Before submitting - ask yourself, did I pitch myself well enough?