CV's: How Do You Write Yours?

(Lada) #21

This is very good, Kate, thanks :slight_smile:
I’ll just have to put my imagination to work…

(Helen) #22

it is very helpful info!
Thanks!

(Simon Godfrey) #23

1-2 pages maximum. Focus on roles in last 3-5 years at most (nobody cares what you did 10 years ago) and talk about achievements (I did X, the outcome was Y) rather than list responsibilities.

(Lee) #24

I’ve only worked in one testing role, but been in it for 6 1/2 years, with all previous jobs being unrelated (shop floor jobs in retail).

Are they worth giving role, employer and dates?
If so, it clogs it up with junk.
Without them, it could seem like I’ve not had another job prior to this one.

2 Likes
(Brian) #25

I would say that the “unrelated” jobs depend on what narrative that you want to display. But believe that in the testing world, very few jobs are completely unrelated. Take me for example. After working technical jobs for a long while, I stopped and worked as a retail manager for two years. After that, I stepped even further back and worked “unskilled” labor for two years. Both of those roles are (against professional advice) on my CV. Both roles are often intensely questioned in interviews, despite that it was 15 years ago.

But the conversations are very important to both myself and the interviewer. When they ask “why stop with tech for 4 years?” I can reply about my first stop was to help with an ailing family member, or… I put my family first in my life. The second was because I had moved to a new country where I didn’t speak the language and had to do something to put bread on the table while I funded my further education and created opportunities. This speaks to my risk-taking approach and my ability to plan what will happen if/when the risks don’t pan out. In other words, the gaps speak volumes about who I am, and their reaction to the gaps speak volumes about who I will be working with. i.e. Would they be supportive if/when I choose to put my family life before my professional one? Or could they see the planning and effort (and reward) it took to move to a new country?

On the other hand, the fact that I worked fast food in high school, on production lines in summers, or campus security in college never made it into my CV at any time in my life. I didn’t (and still don’t) see the value of mentioning those jobs in relation to a testing career. They never fit into a narrative which I wanted to talk about more than “I can test this”. And no interviewer has ever asked what I did prior to leaving university.

So from my perspective as someone who has interviewed for a lot of jobs in the past is that you could write both versions down, then read them back (or better, have a friend/family member/coach read them) and then ask what you would ask about as an interviewer. What does the narrative say about you?

4 Likes
(Heather) #26

I really like how you’ve put the perspective on this!

I kept a 3 week work placement on my CV until it was no longer relevant. It was hugely relevant in my first 2 jobs in software. That placement was working in a hospital dealing with confidential patient records. My first two software roles were dealing with confidential patient data. I had no other previous experience to show that I fit that job requirement so well so I kept them there.

I’ve always been uncertain about the role I worked while in Uni. I’m personally very proud that I worked my way up from cashier to cash office to supervisory level while working part time and completing studies. Some companies are impressed with that, others are not. For me, it shows that I was able to balance work and studies, progress my career and hold posts of great responsibility (dealing with very large sums of money regularly). Many people tell me to remove it but I’ve always been unsure what to do.

3 Likes
(Penny) #27

How to tell the story of you on paper…
It seems in Canada they are super keen to know what tools you worked with. I mean I get it no investment in teaching you if that’s their thing, but I see tools as a learning experience and I don’t think it matters if you can use wireshark or Charles. Same crap different day.
I also tailor each submission as company x doesnt care about older experiences that cannot be cross applied; sometimes it’s in and sometimes its not.
I once worked with a coach that said intros are a waste of valuable space and gives reason for you to end up in the bin. He talked about activities that land you in the bin and that was his one big one Which brings me to cover letters… also a binable offense.
He said to use consistent tense, ‘ing’ for example. Dont mix them up.
The topic of length… no more than 4 pages, if you can’t find what’s important in career based on the job description applying for it’s a flag to a recruiter that your thought processes cannot figure out what’s important. I have been on the receiving end of many CV’s and will toss then out if you make me sweat.
Spelling, seriously… this is the one document that it seriously matters if you are a tester. I’ve binned countless for this. While no one is perfect this is one where perfect is key.
I will also shift sections around depending of how the advertisement is written. If they stress education first, lead with that block if not I go with experience/work history.
We in Canada don’t have photos, age or martial status, its a discrimination thing and laws prevent these things.
A dead give away that you are a new Canadian is the photo.
Now after all that, you need to leave them wanting to know more about you… that’s how you land the interview!