Some general points that apply to all sections of your CV
- LINK IT It is good to have some clickable links in your CV that also work on paper, you won't know if the person reading it will be reading the PDF on-screen or a printed version. Spell out the URL (so it works in print) and also make the link in the PDF clickable to cover both scenarios. Link to anything you have that adds context to what you're saying e.g. company websites, your personal website, any project URLs, hackathon / competition URLs . If you have a LinkedIn profile, make sure you customise and shorten your LinkedIn url it will look much better than the default alphanumeric string used to identify you. If you've not used LinkedIn before, it is a business-oriented social networking service (see Figure. 1 for details). Think of it like Facebook or Twitter for grown ups, where people talk about employment and business. See Figure 1. for details. Joking aside, recruiters and Human Resource departments do use LinkedIn to fill job vacancies.
- DIGITISE IT Your digital profile can augment and even replace your CV. For example, it can be beneficial to have a LinkedIn profile, See Figure 1 below. Your digital social media profile doesn't need to be as detailed as your CV, and you might not want to put all that personal information online. However, recruiters often use LinkedIn when they have vacancies to fill. Having a profile can also be a useful way to manage your professional network. If you'd like to connect on LinkedIn, I'm happy to connect with students at linkedin.com/in/duncanhull. Besides LinkedIn, you might also consider having a digital profile at GitHub, BitBucket, HackerRank.com, DevPost, Stackoverflow, LeetCode, TopCoder, HackerEarth, CodeChef and all the others. You can then link to these in your CV, many employers will follow the links so be careful what you link to. As well as linking to code, you could also consider linking to discussions you've had online see, Pez Cuckow's stackoverflow profile, Pez graduated back in 2014.
- UNDERSELL IT a CV is no place for modesty - it is a professional advert for you to secure an interview with a prospective employer. Don't hide your light under a bushel!
- OVERSELL IT but don't oversell by exaggerating or being deceptive about your achievements - it is easy to spot and check up on. Some employers have very rigorous background checks, so honesty is the best policy. If one inconsistency is found in your CV, however trivial, you could be rejected in the “subject to satisfactory references phase” of your job application.
- QUANTIFY IT improve any claims you make by adding numbers. For example, instead of saying “won prize for best student in year” you could say “won prize for best student in year (out of 200 in total)”
- PROVE IT It is very easy to make statements without backing them up with evidence or context. Wherever you can, try to avoid making unsupported claims e.g. “I am an excellent team worker” or “I am a Java expert”. Anyone can SAY this, how can you PROVE it? Don't tell people, show them. When did you work in a team? What did you use Java for? What was the result?
- EXPAND IT Expand abbreviations where you have space. For example, not every reader of your CV will know what PASS stands for
- SPELL CHECK IT Bad spelling and dodgy grammar look awful. Use a spell checker, but don't rely on it completely. Proof read the document manually. Proof read it again. Then proof read it again.
- DEMONSTRATE IT As well as describing what you did using active language, it can be good to describe results of your actions. So instead of saying “developed a system for improving logistics” you could say “developed a system for improving logistics which reduced company overheads by 20%”. This is what the CV and LinkedIn guide calls the CAR Model “Context, Action, Result”.
- EXPLAIN IT Know what I mean? Don't assume the reader of your CV knows what you're talking about. It's a classic mistake to make when writing. The best way to find out if you've done this is to show your CV to someone who is not familiar with either your or the content.
Figure 1: Social Media explained (in doughnuts)