Redbrick CV Advice

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There was a lengthy CV advice thread in redbrick.jobs in June 2005. As the thread contained many useful tips for those sprucing up their CVs, the main points and arguments from the thread are reproduced here.

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Presentation

It gives a better impression if your CV is nice and neat, and aesthetically pleasing. If it's a jumble of text, it makes it harder to read.

Design is content. Design means presenting the information in the most efficient way for a prospective employer. If you can't present well, people will find it hard to bother reading.

For headings, don't use underline. It impeeds legibility, and looks ugly. Use a san-serif font, such as Arial, and have 3 or 4 different types. For example, large heading, section heading and subsection. Keep it consistant and clear, and leave spacing around the headings.

While you shouldn't rely on colours to aid in the layout and understanding of your CV, colour, like other kinds of formatting, can greatly aid and help the design of your information. Many CVs will be printed in black and white, but there is no need to reduce the clarity on-screen because the printer may not be able to handle it. You can properly use colour so that neither medium is losing out, and both are presented effectively and professionally.

Date of Birth

It was broadly agreed that the date of birth has no bearing on your emplyability, and as such, should not be included in a CV. Not knowing your date of birth also insulates employers from discrimination claims.

It was suggested that age may have a loose correlation with maturity and experience, which in turn can affect your relationship with coworkers. However, the general feeling was that age should be irrlevant, with references sufficing for these purposes.

Projects

Include a projects section listing projects you have worked on, including any interesting projects you have worked on independently and on your own time. Mention ones from which you have learnt things, which you could possibly talk about in an interview if asked.

Technologies

Do have a succint list of the technologies and programming languages, operating systems, etc. you have used in the past.

Don't have a list of every single computer program you've used in the past.

For example, you might want to mention that you've worked with CVS. You don't however want to list every single CVS client and server version that you've used ( unless you're going for a job that large involves working directly with CVS ).

References

While there were arguments put forward that including references saves the potential employer from having to contact you again, it was generally agreed that it is not neccesary to include them.

Furthermore, most people felt that including "References available on request" was also un-neccessary, as this is assumed. If you pass the interviews, they will ask you for the references.

General

Have a brief summary at the top of the CV.

Ensure there is more of a focus on work experience than personal experience and hobbies & interests.

Look at the CV as a whole for five seconds. How much information do you get from it? Ideally, you should get a name, and an idea of which two lines hold an executive summary.

Give someone 10 seconds to look at your CV ( the average time an employer will view it for), what information was the person able to get in those 10 seconds? Did they get your main selling points (after all your CV is an advertisment selling YOU)

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