How to Write a CV for the Digital Era
5 May 17 by Chris Woods
There is a whole lot of CV writing advice out there, but all of it would agree on one crucial point: keep things up to date. After all, it is your key to getting your foot through the front door and into job interviews. However, as an IT professional, unless your CV works in synergy with your online brand on sites such as GitHub, LinkedIn or Dribbble, you’re missing a big opportunity to add value to your next job application.
The world is more connected now than it has ever been. The Internet of Things is driving the inter-networking of essentially anything electronic, from your car, mobile phone to even your house’s security system. Many managers in the technology sector are now expecting the same level of synergy from your CV.
In fact, it’s almost inevitable that employers will look you up online so it’s important you direct them to the content you want them to see. To ensure your already good CV doesn’t let you down when applying for your dream job, here are several things you should consider the next time you’re re-writing it.
The Basics of a Great Curriculum Vitae
No matter how much technology changes, it will always be good practice to tailor your CV to be easy to read with all the basic elements. So, here’s a quick breakdown of what your CV should cover in chronological order:
Bringing Your CV Into the Digital Age
As a professional in the IT space, you likely own one or more online accounts that showcase your professional skills, examples of your work or status within your industry. Below are a few examples of several accounts that we’ve seen included in strong applications, providing different types of cv experience to the reader.
To get the most out of your LinkedIn profile, it is a good idea to consider it as an extension of your CV. This means that it should go beyond showcasing the same information that could be found on your CV but it’s essential that you make sure both are consistent especially regarding dates of employment. One way it can do this is through having strong recommendations from previous managers and clients that you have worked with who can vouch for your skills, experiences, achievements and work ethic.
If you want to fully leverage your LinkedIn profile, it’s important to be as active as possible. LinkedIn is a fantastic platform that enhances both your network and your personal brand when used correctly. Frequently liking, commenting and sharing content is a great way to build your personal brand and posting your own articles and keeping your profile updated will make you more visible to recruiters, which in turn can lead to more career opportunities.
GitHub or Bitbucket
If you’re a Developer, your GitHub or Bitbucket account is a fantastic resource to include on your CV because it demonstrates examples of your work. It can also provide insight into your community and industry reputation through the contributions you’ve made and the number of people following you. When employers have a few high calibre candidates to choose from, this extra level of detail can often help to influence their decision.
It’s also worth noting that even if you don’t include links to your accounts on your CV, managers and recruiters can still find your code repositories online. So, our advice is to check what is publicly available and keep your portfolios clean by removing any old or forgotten repositories. Finally, if your GitHub or Bitbucket are bare and you’re not working on any commercial projects right now, it can be worthwhile to include any personal projects that positively reflect your skills.
Dribbble or Behance
Dribbble and Adobe’s Behance are both excellent networks for anyone specialising in design. They are both great platforms that can be used as your online portfolio. Including a link to your account on your CV provides managers with the chance to see clear examples of your web or graphic design and illustration work. A few examples include:
- Eddie Lobanovskiy – Web, UI & UX Designer
- Stanislav Hristov – Web, UI & UX Designer
- Ryan Putnam – Graphic & Logo Designer
- Maurizio Pagnozzi – Graphic & Brand Designer
Building a strong Dribbble or Behance account can take dedication and a lot of hard work but the payoff can be huge. As with many social media networks, the key is to build up your follower count and the best way to do that is through actively posting new work so your account is more likely to be seen, promote the work of others and become associated with other great designers.
What should you avoid?
This can be a little tricky as it does depend on the person you are sending your information to, however, these are some simple points that will most likely do more harm than good:
- Contact email address or social media handles that are a little unprofessional - particularly things that can be construed as offensive. Remember that hilarious ideas from high school will probably not translate well into a professional space.
- Irrelevant social media profiles. Not only will this be confusing to the recipient, but if the profiles are also outdated they may also do little to help your cause.
- Spelling mistakes and poor use of language. There are so many browser plugins and automatic software features that will work with any of the sites mentioned above, that this should not be an issue anymore. Spelling and grammar issues are probably the biggest turn-offs when reading someone's CV
- Too much content! If you are fresh out of school, make a call on just how relevant that summer holiday work experience or paper round you had as a 12-year-old is. Similarly, if you have had a wide variety of jobs and work history, keep it relevant to the position you are applying for. You don't have to exclude it all of course, but some things may be better in a bullet point/work history type list.
In that first moment when a prospective employer scans your CV, you need to leave an impression that’s going to make them want to know more. In today’s world, your great CV can’t do everything you need it to on its own, so solely relying on it will rarely achieve that. Instead, you should use social media like GitHub, Dribbble or Behance to create an experience that highlights why your skills and experiences make you a great fit for the job description. Also, don't forget to keep an up to date Linkedin profile with good activity and meaningful engagement - many people even use their profile as a template or easy access online version.
We wish you every success in job hunting, but if you’d like to know more, don’t hesitate to contact us today.
PS: Don't forget about the Cover Letter to match!