Friday, 9 July 2010

The one-page CV?

[From a comment on this post.]

I've been on both sides of this divide, having interviewed probably several hundred candidates in my time. I wish it had been fewer, but in many companies the CV filtration isn't done by people with skill types similar to the candidate.

Let's kick off with the thread subject: one-page CVs.

No. Well, a qualified no.

I want to see a front page that summarises the skill sets and levels - qualifications too, if the candidate's only had a short career so far - followed by 2-3 pages that go into more detail.

That first page tells me whether it's worth reading the others. It should be a set of facts, uncluttered, and unencumbered by fancy styling. Use one font, consistently. If it's hard on the eye, I've another ten in the pile that are more readable, plus evidence that you don't understand customer requirements, or don't care.

On the other hand, I don't want a Victorian novel, either. I've been programming since '75, in the industry since '85, worked with many companies, and my CV runs to four uncluttered pages. I've only recently expanded it from three. If you've written ten pages of florid prose (the current record is 14, from someone with eight years on the job), I don't want to know.

Remember you're dealing with several humans and a computer. The humans are reading your epistle; the computer is trying to scrape it for keywords. Keep everyone happy, and you're in the group that's in with a chance of interview.

Good luck.

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