Author: Katarzyna Olszowy – IT Recruitment Consultant in Katowice
4 min read
Author: Katarzyna Olszowy – IT Recruitment Consultant in Katowice
4 min read
I regularly receive questions asking how to properly write your CV or how to prepare for a successful job interview? It is, in fact, a challenging task and I totally understand it. After all, we all want to do our best at the interview. Also, we all want our professional CV to leave a lasting impression on the recruiter. Perhaps our application will not suit the position we pursue but a proper CV may allow the recruiter to match us to another position today or in the future. Therefore, I decided to collect and discuss the most useful suggestions. I hope you will find them helpful.
Which template to use? What layout should I choose for my CV? Actually, it doesn’t matter much for a recruiter. The most important thing is to keep it neat and transparent and use a bright background. Why does the background matter? A dark-colored page fatigues the eyes. This may not be a reason to dismiss a candidate right away, but why upset a recruiter in the first place?
Let us move on to personal data. First and last names are mandatory items. The address of residence may be an issue though. You really don’t need to provide a full address. Consider this as redundant information. Little we know who will view our resume and what the outcome could be. Therefore, it suffices to provide the city to guide the recruiter to what part of Poland you could work in. If you are willing to relocate – simply write it down. The phone number and e-mail address are also extremely important because it is highly probable the recruiter will attempt to contact you. Make sure you have entered the correct details.
The next important element is the experience, often placed after education. A recruiter frequently finds it more important than the schools have graduated from. This part should also start with your current employer, then the previous one and so on, going backward chronologically. If you have been a programmer for a year now and previously you were a salesperson or you were just making some earnings doing production work, then it is certainly important for you that the current experience is the first thing to attract the recruiter’s attention. That is why it is worth making it easier for him. Listing your responsibilities using several points will also benefit your recruitment process. In the next section, we write down the education, again starting from the most recent completed school.
It is worth being specific in your CV. What does it mean? If you are looking for a job in the IT industry, it is best to say “worked on 5 projects” instead of “work on Java projects”. In such a case the recruiter knows that it was a specific number. They would sooner ask for details of the 5 projects during the interview than ask: “How many projects did you work on?”. At first glance, it looks as if the candidate himself is not aware of how many projects he participated in or whether they have any influence on his experience at all. And most of all, the most striking issue is – were the projects successfully completed?
If you’re looking for a job in the IT industry, list the technologies in a proper organized way. Your recruiter will then immediately notice that you are capable of distinguishing between libraries and frameworks.
Certificates and training. A valuable section, especially for novices. Do not hesitate to write about what you have already managed to accomplish. Naturally, it needs to reflect the nature of the job you apply for. You prove that you really care about this particular job and are willing to invest both your time and funds.
Foreign languages. Job advertisements increasingly include foreign language skills as a requirement. Enter the ones you genuinely know. Use the European form of description: B1, B2, C1, etc. However, do not exaggerate. For instance, the fact that you can say Hola! doesn’t necessarily mean you have A1 Spanish.
Skills. CVs of applicants for programming positions often include all of the world’s languages in this section. Unfortunately, it looks rather unprofessional. You need to narrow down your focus and specify your strengths or mention the tool you like to work with. As the saying goes: when someone is into everything, he is good at nothing.
Photo. Is there still any point in adding one? Well, no. Recruiters are paying less and less attention to images. If you still feel you need to add it, though, make sure you look nice and smart. Perhaps not necessarily an ID style of an image but certainly not in a baseball cap or the one from a vacation. A neat frame presenting the face itself will do.
Professional goal. This section often appears in the CVs of beginner candidates. It looks really good on top of the CV. A few words describing the desired career and development path. Here, too, it is crucial to be specific. A note stating that you are able to do everything in the new industry sounds like you haven’t quite figured out what you would like to do. Sadly, undecided candidates are not good material for future specialists.
Hobby. There is a false belief that recruiters overlook this part of the resume. Your interests are mainly for the purpose of starting an unrestricted conversation but at times they are also a guideline to what kind of position you might be offered.
A clause in your CV. Candidates hardly ever forget it but they rarely review it. Yet many companies have their own clauses they place each time at the bottom of the advertisement content. They will simply reject candidates not having the appropriate clause. And here comes another mistake: candidates do not read the advertisements carefully. As a result, they send their CVs expressing their wish to become a salesperson when the ad concerns a test position.
The above are the most important elements a good CV should include. However, there is still a “cover letter” candidates frequently attach. The key thing is to send it only if it has actually been listed as a required document in the ad. It is a major faux pas to send it “just in case” believing it will most probably end up going to the bin anyway. Adding a few words from such a letter in the Professional Goal section will suffice.
Arrange to meet the recruiter no later than three days following the call. You receive a call from a recruiter inviting you to a recruitment meeting. He will often ask you: When could we see you? Find some time as early as possible! It obviously doesn’t always work this way but try your best. Setting an appointment two weeks later can often adversely affect your situation throughout the process. Why? The recruitment may simply close by then and the company will hire someone else. It is quite common practice to hold longer multi-stage recruitment sessions but is it worth the risk? You may also have a notice period in your current job, which affects your start in a new company. The further you extend the process, the less attractive you become to the employer. Notify your recruiter if you cannot show up for the meeting. Remember that your caller is also a human being who knows that anything can happen. Your failure to notify the other party raises a question if you care enough for this job. And in the future recruitment process, a recruiter may simply reject your application fearing you will not make it to the client’s meeting. This situation puts you in a bad light.
What time should you arrive? You know that you must not be late for your meeting. However, arriving half an hour in advance is a bit of an exaggeration. If you expect the conversation to start earlier you might learn it is highly unlikely to happen. The recruiter probably has a meeting scheduled before seeing you and will not be finishing early. Showing up for the interview too early is simply rude.
How to dress up? The answer is simple – neat. It does not necessarily have to be a suit or a shirt. Jeans and a nice-looking shirt without any strange inscriptions or drawings will be fine. Shorts, sandals, tank tops, bright colors, skirts showing knees are certainly not welcome.
What is our company’s area of business? That is one of the questions you will certainly hear at the interview. It’s not about knowing the entire history of the company you’re applying for, but try to say a few words about it. You will prove that you are serious about the case and that you can prepare yourself for a new situation. It also confirms that when facing a new project in the company, for example, you will find the required information. Researching, reading, studying really look good in the eyes of a recruiter.
Use your question time! At the end of the interview, the recruiter asks if you have any questions and does it for a reason. He wants you to get a full overview and if you decide to cooperate, he wants you to have no second thoughts about your decision.
Motivation. Some of the questions you’ll be asked during the interview include: “What do you expect from your new employer?”, “Why do you want to change jobs?”, “Why do you want to work for us?” It is therefore worth considering what matters to you before the interview. What direction do you want to take and what do you want to do specifically. Answers such as: “I can do anything” do not bring any value. Remember that this is your future and whether you find a satisfactory position depends 50% on your motivation. It depends on whether you know what you want and where you are going. This may sound like coaching a bit, but that’s the reality.
Money. Don’t be afraid to talk about it. Everyone deserves to earn enough to make a living and every recruiter understands that candidates want to receive as high salary as possible. If you are a beginner candidate for a given position and you don’t want to give the upper end of the range, it is worth checking online beforehand how much a person on a given position and having specific competencies can earn. This will save both you and your recruiter time. And you won’t be dismissed at the outset due to too high financial expectations.
Candidates often await the news on the recruitment process. It doesn’t always work for us, I know. But in this case, too, you should start off with yourself. Recruiters often ask you to notify them if anything happens to you. If you accept a different job offer, let your recruiter know about it. If you are looking for more information, you still have some questions about the position – just ask. And if the recruiter asks you for an opinion on this particular recruitment process – share what you thought was good or bad. Nobody would ask you simply to collect good reviews. Everybody strives to excel at what they do and believe me, your opinion can help. Also, remember not to ask the recruiter every other day about the recruitment results. If the recruiter told you that he would speak to you the following week, the eighth day goes by and you have no information – then it is perfectly fine to ask an update. However, there are situations that are beyond our control and the recruitment may simply take longer. Patience in many cases really pays off.
Do you have any more questions about your CV or recruitment? Do you require support in this area? Let me know. I am happy to help 🙂
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