As the Chief Software Engineer of Niume Ltd and as a person who thinks that the Recruitment Industry does not perform well within the Software Industry (apart from gathering CVs), I have to personally interview and test the skills of each applicant.
Because of this, I stumble upon millions of things that annoy me and can be pretty well summarized in this blog post here and this one here, written by a fellow software developer in Greece. Since Greek is not the language the masses are familiar with, I am going to translate most of the points made and maybe add mine too, in order to make applicants more successful next time.
So, let the ranting begin.
First of all, one of the most important properties your CV has, is your name and the rest of your personal details. This means that this should be the most easily found by the first glance, in the first page. A very simple thing most people tend to forget and they tend to be forgotten by me examining the CV, too.
Another thing is the filename of your CV. I don’t care if your CV is new or updated or even the revision of it in your personal CV versioning system. I want a CV with your name, at least email of yours, so that I can distinguish it without renaming it, in order to place it somewhere with the other CVs. I am paying extra attention in order to archive all CVs, but other people may not, and this means that your CV can be overwritten a more recent one with the same name. And then you will be left wondering why they don’t call you back, even though you may be a good fit.
Along with the filename, goes the file format. I was astounded by the number of people that send their CVs in “.doc”, “.docx”, “.odt” and even more rare formats too. Seriously, I am not obliged to have Microsoft Office installed, and even more, I am not obliged to have the latest version. And also, if I have Microsoft Office installed, I don’t want your document to take a couple of seconds to open for a quick glance. You are applying for a bloody software oriented position, you should know that “Portable Document Format (.pdf)” is the standard format for exchanging documents. There are numerous free pdf printers out there with a first google search, don’t humiliate yourself and make me jump to quick conclusions that don’t compliment you.
Apart from that, you claim to be a programmer-developer-engineer and programmers tend to spend a lot of time in front of their computers. Well, commas, fullstops and anything that has to do with punctuation is put right next to the word and then a space occurs. If you do the opposite, I may see a line starting with a punctuation character, something which is utterly stupid and annoying.
As a programmer, I hate document editors with a passion, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t know how to use them properly in order to format my text. Actually though the years I realised that I am using them even better than secretaries. This happens because I want to do things right the first time, so that I won’t have to spend time fixing things every time I change my text. This also tells a lot about your programming philosophy and coding attitude. So, if you send me a word document that uses spaces for paragraphs, tabs for invisible borders etc, you show me that you use tools the wrong way.
And document editors are innocent tools that do no harm, but if you use another developer tool the wrong way, you can destroy things. And I am afraid of people who can’t leverage power properly. I am never going to trust them, so I will always need to be one step in ahead of them in order to manage them and it is tiring, boring and pointless.
Also, I don’t expect programmers to be designers, but I expect them to be clean and simple on their design and straightforward on what they have to say about themselves. I am not hiring a salesman, nor a reporter. So, don’t say that you are a great team player but also responsible to finish things by yourself. Skip it. We all know that any decent developer who is worth his salt prefers to do modules by themselves because it eliminates complexity for them and also it avoids all pitfalls they had in the past from experience. They also have to work together, and it is really hard sometimes, but you can never know from the beginning if this will work smoothly. It will depend on how professional somebody is and how he handles situations.
The latter may be a symptom of all these idiotic courses in universities that “teach you how to write your CV and be successful” and end up teaching students to have exactly the same uninteresting CVs. You are unique and I expect you to show me that in a creative and interesting way in order to pull my eyes on the CV. Get everything good and positive from these courses and cut the crap out. Like everything else in life. Because there is a lot of crap going on, I can tell you from personal experience.
They wanted me to take out my projects from my CV because it was 5 pages long. In the IT world, I would never do that. I have everything about me and my skills in the first 2 pages, then all my projects after that. Maybe, if you have a lot of similar projects you can write one out of each category.
To be honest with you, in today’s world with github being “hot” for developers, I find it astounding that developers that are young, just out of university, they don’t have projects in order to see their coding style and general problem solving approach.
Last but not least, stop “begging to look desperate”. The job has certain skills as requirements. If you look overqualified I will start questioning why you applied for this job and I will be a bit suspicious until you prove yourself, and if you look underqualified I will try looking past that in order to examine your character and philosophy, two things that may make you really valuable after you get the skills needed.
But if you look irrelevant, you are just going to be tagged as irrelevant, which means that I may ignore you even when you may be relevant. So don’t do it, no matter how desperate you are. I have been in this position and it is really hard to stand your ground, but it pays off in the long term. Because in our society, bad rumours tend to last longer than the good ones.