TestBash Careers 2022 - Discussion with Elizabeth Zagroba, Nicola Martin a& Peet Michielsen

In this session, our host @callum is joined by three CV experts in this Panel Discussion where they will discuss ways of creating CVs that stand out from the crowd.

  • @ezagroba is Quality Lead at Mendix in Rotterdam. Her goal is to guide enough testers, leaders, etc. to make herself redundant so she can take on new and bigger challenges. You can find Elizabeth’s big thoughts on her blog.
  • @nicolalmartin is passionate about increasing diversity and inclusion in software engineering. She is a panellist and speaker with over 20 years of experience in tech and she speaks at global conferences focusing on quality, testing, diversity, women in tech and mentoring.
  • @pmichielsen is a seasoned software tester with over 20 years of experience who specialises in test automation, test management and continuous integration. In his work, he wants to be challenged and is always on the lookout for the next problem to solve. And when not working, Peet likes to explore the Scottish countryside and enjoy a good ale or whisky.

We’ll use this Club thread to share resources mentioned during the session and answer any questions we don’t get to during the live session.

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Questions Answered Live

  1. Anonymous - What’s the worst CV/Resume you’ve ever seen? What was it about it that wasn’t so great?
  2. Anonymous - What should you NOT have on your CV
  3. @karen-todd - How on a CV would you best share your involvement in the community that isn’t necessarily measurable? (sharing, supporting, talking with others…)
  4. @fullsnacktester - CV’s are dead, isn’t LinkedIn enough?
  5. Anonymous - How to explain a career break on a CV?
  6. Anonymous - Does it vary per country what to have on your CV? In this remote world, one might be applying to a company based in another country…
  7. @simon_tomes - How often should you update your CV/Resume?
  8. @dianadromey - Do you find it useful to include previous jobs one might have had that are not industry related to the one they’re applying and why?
  9. Anonymous - What are your thoughts on hiring a professional designer to design the look of your CV?

Questions Not Answered Live

  1. @fullsnacktester - Remember a CV you loved! Why did it stick out to you? What made you love it?
  2. Jessica - What was the worst CV you have seen and what made it bad?
  3. Anonymous - Do you need to explain on your CV why you left a role after less than 12 months?
  4. Anonymous - Do you consider short term employment as red flag in cv, for example just working in the company for few months before jump to different company
  5. @oxygenaddict - Other than your latest/greatest education, are you ever interested in qualifications (like A levels)?
  6. Anonymous - Have you ever submitted a CV that doesn’t look like a CV? As in, it broke “the norm” of what a CV looks like. If so, what happened?
  7. Anonymous - How do we “get around/play the game” of computer systems which just look for keywords on a CV to get you in front of a company?
  8. @karen-todd - How do you explain gaps like maternity leave, while not playing into hiring bias?
  9. @fullsnacktester - How do you make your CV stand out - when using a recruiter that edit it, strip your name out, reformat?
  10. Jessica - How to make your CV memorable?
  11. @simon_tomes - Who are some helpful people (or role types) to review your CV/Resume, to provide helpful feedback?
  12. Anonymous - How can you balance all your past roles but no longer than 2 pages?
  13. Anonymous - Should you explain gaps in your cv. Ie not being employed for a year or so
    14 @friendlytester - Do any of you print the resumes, or solely read them digitally?
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Hi all,

Here my first bash at answering some of the questions from yesterday:

  1. @fullsnacktester - Remember a CV you loved! Why did it stick out to you? What made you love it?
    I remember a CV where the candidate had put a lot of detail to the styling. It was build up like a 2 page fact sheet, with separate boxes for the different type of information. Was very easy to digest, and get a good picture of the person.

  2. Jessica - What was the worst CV you have seen and what made it bad?
    Lots of bad examples. Obviously inconsistent formatting, and spelling errors. Worst I’ve seen was a candidate that copied/pasted all content from examples on the internet. I could literally grab a sentence from the CV, Google it, and find the site it was taken from.

  3. Anonymous - Do you need to explain on your CV why you left a role after less than 12 months?
    No. further details in question 4

  4. Anonymous - Do you consider short term employment as red flag in cv, for example just working in the company for few months before jump to different company
    For me, NO. Short term employment can be for all sorts of reasons. It is something I will ask about though when interviewing.

  5. @oxygenaddict - Other than your latest/greatest education, are you ever interested in qualifications (like A levels)?
    For people new on the job market, yes; as it is one of the few things you can assess the candidate on. It becomes of less relevance once a person got more work experience.

  6. Anonymous - Have you ever submitted a CV that doesn’t look like a CV? As in, it broke “the norm” of what a CV looks like. If so, what happened?
    For my first official job after graduating, there was not much on my CV itself. Instead of that I paid a lot of attention to the cover letter. One of the things I did in there was comparing myself to a paperclip, and how its characteristics would make me a great candidate. That got noticed by the hiring company, and I got the job.

  7. Anonymous - How do we “get around/play the game” of computer systems which just look for keywords on a CV to get you in front of a company?
    Don’t ignore the keywords. Incorporate them in your CV throughout. Still making sure it all makes sense when presented to a human being.

  8. @karen-todd - How do you explain gaps like maternity leave, while not playing into hiring bias?
    List it as "career break

  9. @fullsnacktester - How do you make your CV stand out - when using a recruiter that edit it, strip your name out, reformat?
    Creative use of language.

  10. Jessica - How to make your CV memorable?
    Pay attention to styling. Do something different than the ordinary. Can be difficult when using agents. (see previous question)

  11. @simon_tomes - Who are some helpful people (or role types) to review your CV/Resume, to provide helpful feedback?
    Your (testing) peers; for domain feedback
    Family and friends; for honest feedback on spelling, language, etc.

  12. Anonymous - How can you balance all your past roles but no longer than 2 pages?
    List the work experience that is relevant for the role you’re applying for.

  13. Anonymous - Should you explain gaps in your cv. Ie not being employed for a year or so
    Yes; even if it only states “career break”. It is something that always will be picked up on. Also very bad to try to make it look like you were employed throughout.

  14. @friendlytester - Do any of you print the resumes, or solely read them digitally?
    I always print CVs. Easier to read, great for comparing with others, and handy for making notes.

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@cupcake_tester was the host for this event. Thanks for adding your voice to the valuable conversation with @pmichielsen and @nicolalmartin. :pray:

  1. CV I loved: I think I’ve only seen one or two CVs that have listed why the person moved on to the next role. I wouldn’t say it’s necessary to write down because I’d ask about it in an interview, but it did stand out to me.

  2. Worst CV: We answered a similar question during the session. Basically, a list of meetings and tasks.

  3. <12 months: You can list why you left, but I’d expect it to come out in the interview. It’s not a red flag at my company if it’s just one role. If a person tends to get bored in less than a year, they wouldn’t be a good fit for my product company hiring for a hopefully 3-5 year commitment but they might be a great fit for a contracting position.

  4. Short-term: Same as 3.

  5. Qualifications: I might ask in the interview if these were required by a previous employer or pursued out of personal interest. I see it as one of the ways (but not the only or cheapest way) to continue learning in our industry.

  6. Broke the norm: Yes, once. I got the job!

  7. Game the keywords: I had @simon_tomes dig into this on the MoT Twitter and LinkedIn for me a few months ago. There wasn’t a clear answer. It depends on the HR software the company uses unfortunately.

  8. Maternity leave: I’ll repeat what I said during the panel - if a company can’t handle a gap in your work history, you don’t want to work there. It feels bold to me to explain it on a resume. I’d probably tell that as part of my story during an interview. It depends what your risk tolerance is.

  9. Stand out when recruiter reformats: The words. Write about your impact.

  10. Memorable: See 1. and 9.

  11. Helpful CV reviewers: I wish I had a go-to person for this! I seem to be everybody’s, from colleagues to friends to family members. It’s why I volunteered myself for this panel. Someone whose career you admire seems like a good choice, though some industry knowledge might help.

  12. 2 pages: Use more than 2 pages, or condense similar roles onto the same line.

  13. See 3. and 8.

  14. Printing: I used to print resumes to interview people in person, so there wasn’t a computer screen between us. As a bug magnet, getting the resume printed in time for the interview was always the most stressful part. I don’t have a printer at home, so I don’t print for interviewing remotely. If I’m referencing the CV on a second screen during the interview, I either share my screen or tell them that’s what I’m doing so they know why I’m looking away.

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