Why your tech CV sucks
And here's how we can help
No, really. Your CV really, really stinks. I read these things for a living and the quality varies a lot more than it should considering what you are selling.
Over the next few years you are asking to be paid more than the cost of a Ferrari and the desk space, computer kit and coffee you use over that time means you cost at least twice what you earn.
Does Ferrari say it makes “reelly good carrrs”? No, it bloody doesn’t. So why do you spell the name of your degree subject wrong? Why do you use slightly different fonts in each paragraph that screw with my ancient pimp’s eyes?
Why in the name of God do you think I care that you did OS/2 v1.1 in 1989? You may have just finished a PhD in Physics from Cambridge or Stanford, but your astonishing lack of any clue is demonstrated by the fact that more space is given over to the summer job you had in Starbucks than describing why you might actually be of use to the investment banks I recruit for.
Sometimes, just to wind me up, you send me a blue CV. Yes, black text on a blue background. Not only does the motivation for this leave me dumbfounded but when I blogged that this was silly several people somehow interpreted “please don’t send blue CVs” as “please do”.
Why do you send your CV to me with no mobile phone number? Do you not have one? Nor a landline? Why do you think your religion means you are a great match for my requirement of hardcore C++ skills?
I already know you want to leave your current job or else we wouldn’t be talking. So why are you listing the defects of your employer? Do you think it makes you look good?
Why did you send the file as a Word document? That may not sound too bad until you realise that every damned word you spelled wrong is underlined in red on my screen and your grammar is also ridiculed by a £70 bit of software that is apparently smarter than you.
You are a waste of space
Space on your CV is incredibly valuable; you can’t list every reason to give you money. So why do you put “Curriculum vitae” in 24 point? I know it’s a CV, and I know the rambling list of failed projects you worked on is your “Professional Experience”. You could have used those lines for a buzzword that might have got you an interview.
In case that rant hasn’t got through, let me explain that even in a good market the art of recruitment almost entirely involves weeding out the losers, and let me tell you right here officially as the best known headhunter in finance: these ain't the best of times.
The standard algorithm for badly spelled, crap CVs is to throw them away; not only will recruiting managers tell you this but so will HR.
The average HR has to deal with everything from sales droids to accountants as well as thirty different flavours of techie. Do you think she has a deep and informed view of the relative merits of Python and Ruby? Really? And she knows that Sybase SQL is much nearer MS SQL than either are to Oracle? Get real. She can, however, spell and identify sloppiness, which is not ideal for someone vying to write the backup script for critical servers. Did I say any of this was fair? No, I did not.
You wrote your CV years ago when you realised the first job you took was a terrible mistake, then you added a bit more when you moved and now you include things that even you don’t care about anymore.
Next page: You are a liar
"And the phone call kills it off."
If only mobile phones came with an off switch, or maybe even a mute. It would also be cool if they had some kind of answering service where people could leave a message for you to pick up later.
Why, oh why, has no-one thought of this?
All those things are good. What's missing is what's bad.
My CV is well up to scratch. Every recruiter tells me what a great CV it is. Except that it has no mobile phone number.
Recruiters realise that thy're recruiting people who's product is pure intellect. What those recruiter f*ckwits are completely oblivious to is that an intellectual activity, like writing code or designing a system requires hard-core concentration.
That concentration becomes almost meditative. There’s no concept of time, no consciousness of effort, and the code I write is quality. It’s a mental state in which I’m most productive.
And it’s once I’m in that state that, inevitably, a f*cking recruiter phones me.
It takes time to hit that zone. Reaching that state of deep productivity is a slow process that, depending on what I’m doing, takes me between 10 and 30 minutes. It’s about managing complexity. You’re keeping track of execution flow, variables, constants, asynchronous service calls, event delegates, encryption and compression, exceptions… All that stuff is floating around in your head. At the same time.
And the phone call kills it off.
I have no ideas why recruiters don't use email. I started at a new company recently, and the other day I watched three calls within 30 minutes ring until they went to voicemail, all from the guy who placed me, wanting "to know how it's going". F*ck off. Send an email.
And THAT rant is only the beginning. The other stuff these idiots pull defies belief sometimes. Asking for references to canvas more CVs. Or expecting me to take a 50% drop in salary for an "awesome opportunity".
Cool. I feel a little better now :-)
And heres how we can help?
I see no help here just a spew of contempt from a recruiter who no doubt adds the lines "would suit college leaver" and "3 years previous experience required" into the same job advert.
Week in week out the same job arrives in your inbox from the same recruiter for years at a time. (does the job even exist in reality?)
the same Job appears in local job site listings for every city in the UK.
To sum it up, Recruiters like the writer of this article are worthless middlemen who need to be got rid of.
I'd rather deal with a company directly than send my cv in to these morons for jobs that do not exist so they can update their databases.