Are you hoping to sidestep the bottomless pit of CV purgatory? Here’s a handy guide for writing the ultimate software engineering CV.
A drawn-out job search is a special kind of demoralising. Firing off countless CVs just to hear radio silence is a great way to knock your confidence – even when you don’t take it personally (and you shouldn’t ever), it’s a tough time.
Standing out in a competitive field like DeepTech requires a stellar CV. Here at DeepRec.ai, we’ve spent several lifetimes looking at CVs, and we know what makes a good one.
We combed through a range of successful, high-quality CVs to bring you a breakdown from one of our favourites.
Your Name – the ideal start.
Your contact – make it as easy as possible for them to reach you.
Concise Summary – a short section showcasing a common theme of proven excellence.
Education – you shouldn’t give a date for when you studied, as this could lead to potential age bias (and you don’t have to share this info). As a general rule, around 30 or 40 words maximum is a good length for this section.
Experience – only role-relevant experience is vital, otherwise you risk swamping your CV with irrelevance. Your time spent as a kitchen porter, while great in some ways, probably won’t do you any favours when applying for a software engineering job.
Projects – use the latter end of your CV to highlight any specific software projects you’ve worked on, as this will give you the chance to showcase your practical skills. This is a somewhat rare section in other industries, but for software engineering, it’s a must-have.
Skills – this is a good spot to include your specific skills in DevOps, Frameworks, Databases, Programming Languages, platforms, or other related areas.
Use Your Space Sparingly
If you’re struggling to get the full weight of your achievements across in simple sentences, don’t worry, it’s one of the trickiest parts of the process. Try this formula:
Action – Purpose – Result.
Designed and deployed (action) a new CRM system to improve the UX (purpose), resulting in a 25% increase in sales (result).
If you need to cover more ground, there’s a neat feature on QuillBot (a free browser add-on) that can pull out key info from sentences and help you rephrase them.
What to Avoid
Every role requirement is different so there are bound to be exceptions, but it’s best to try and avoid:
Listing what your team did – Focus on yourself and the results of your role in particular.
Adding irrelevant or obvious skills – Software engineering is home to a wealth of languages, systems, and nuances. Find out what the role is specifically asking for.
Including info you wouldn’t want against your name – this might include referees too (these can be made available on request).
Overdoing the design – Minimalism is best.
The Cover Letter
There have been a few headlines recently that claim the cover letter is ‘dead and buried,’ or in one case, an ‘endangered species,’ but don’t believe the hype! The cover letter is alive and well, even if it doesn’t take the form of a physical letter anymore.
It’s still the self-promo-shaped key that unlocks the door to the interview stage (in some cases) so it’s worth having a customisable template ready to go just in case. Unsure of whether or not you need one? Your recruiter should be able to help.
Just Do It
It can vary depending on the job, but your prospective employers probably aren’t looking for a candidate who matches the criteria down to the letter. Plus, job descriptions lack the flexibility of a human hiring manager.
Think of all the great opportunities missed out on because of an overly intricate job description.
The above template is a great example if you’re struggling for a reference point, but if you need some extra support, please get in touch with the team and we can give you some bespoke advice.
If you’re looking for your next opportunity (which is highly likely if you’re revitalising your CV) we can connect you with the right match for your skills and goals. Don’t let your CV stand in the way – contact us here, we’re always up for meeting tech aficionados.