CV Advice

I was recently asked by a former intern who is about to graduate what advice i had for he CV. This is my responce.

 Knowing the key message you want to send is the most important.  Formatting and length should support the message. A page might well be enough at you stage.

 Very rarely will one person make a hiring decision.  The CV should provide information for someone in the employer who is arguing for you.  Imagine an internal conversation in which someone is asked “why do you want this person?”.  What will that person see if they look to your CV for help in answering the question?   Structure the information so that the useful information is to hand; everyone looks good.

Placing key words near the top and near your name frames how the reader sees the rest of the information in the CV and associates it with your name.  “Project management, AI/Machine learning techniques, Energy management and Control systems, C and Python Development ”    The rest of the CV needs to support the assertions.  For example, key words might be project management, if so then their will need to be some experience mentioned in the main body of the CV like “managed project”, or “organised information and tasks for team of 20”

When describing the experiences, you might consider a line or two about the company for which you worked.  The reader may not know of a particular name but if you start by saying company XYZ is a “Cambridge bio/tech start-up.”   You can even add that the company was acquired or IPO’d.  Again, the reader my not know anything about the particular company but you have told them someone else, who presumably knows about these things, invested in the start-up or bought the start-up and the start-up thought enough of you to hire you.  There is a useful and legitimate chain of credibility and association there.

 Use simple formatting.  Group with white space and bullets, perhaps key words and headings in bold.  Ask someone else to look at the page and tell you what they notice first and what questions they have as they read.  Does the information flow.

 Make sure your social media accounts are clean.

With respect to photos, there are some countries in which including a photo might cause problems for the employer.  If the local laws require an organisation to demonstrate that it does not consider personal attributes, providing a picture might make that more difficult.  This applies to at least the UK and US. There might be parts of the world where a picture is advantageous, but I would investigate that before including one.   If someone wants to see a picture of a candidate there many opportunities using various social media. 

 Read the entire text out loud.  Does it read well?

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