Your CV is the first thing an employer sees and is often the only way you can convince them that it would be worth their time to interview you. Unfortunately, writing a good CV is hard. Everyone has a different opinion on what makes one good and while there’s usually some overlap, there’s always some contradictions as well.
On the 30th April, 12 industry experts from a range of companies gathered at The University of Auckland for one-on-one CV reviews. Throughout the evening, students were able to meet with multiple experts and get a great range of advice – some students even made changes between reviews!
Here are some great CV tips that kept popping up:
• If you have a GitHub/LinkedIn account, include a link – By looking at your GitHub account, employers can quickly gauge your passion and see examples of your work. While GitHub shows off your technical skills, its often soft-skills that set you apart, LinkedIn can be a great platform for showing these off.
• Include a range of skills – In the tech world it’s easy to feel like you’re CV must include every library and language you’ve ever touched. Try to keep this concise but also think about including other, non-technical skills. As mentioned earlier, soft-skills set you apart; employers are looking for someone that fits their company’s culture.
• Spelling, formatting, and consistency – The ugly truth is that your CV is being compared against that of every other applicant. If your CV is full of mistakes or inconsistency (if you have bullet points, do some of them end in a full stop but not others?) it doesn’t look good. On the other hand, a bit of colour and some non-standard formatting can make other submissions look boring in comparison, just be careful not to overdo it.
That being said, it doesn’t matter how many tips you read, your CV will not be perfect first time. Ask a friend (preferably someone with work experience) to read through it and offer you feedback. Most universities have a careers department that offer CV checking services and your lecturers are probably happy to discuss good ways of describing what you study. Remember that CVs are subjective, and you will more than likely hear conflicting advice – don’t be afraid to turn down suggestions but remain open to the possibility that you’re wrong.