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A guide to writing a CV that will get you noticed

29th Sep 2017

You are the right person for the job!

But does your CV say that? How can you increase your chances of an employer selecting you for interview? 

Let’s start by looking at the common mistakes:

  •   Refers to wrong company (often a cut and paste error)
  •   Omission of contact details
  •   Missing exam results (always include expected degree result)
  •   Badly chosen email address (make it polite and professional)
  •   Poor grammar, poor spelling
  •   Lies
  •   Document format (send to friend to make sure others can read it)

Now let’s look at what employer’s look for in a placement student:

  • Demonstrable personal interest in computing that goes beyond taught materials (e.g. active involvement in open source projects, building and maintaining small networks for voluntary organisations)
  • Demonstrable personal commitment to gaining knowledge and skills beyond the scope of your education (e.g. learning and using new programming languages, experimenting with home networking and services)
  • Experience of supporting services (not necessarily IT services)
  • Discipline and maturity
  • Initiative and curiosity
  • There should be credible evidence for at least 1 of the first 3 attributes; and at least 1 of the last 2.
  • You also need to give evidence of why the company should hire you.

Now that we know what common mistakes to avoid and what employers are looking for let’s look at the best way to bring your CV right up to date by following these helpful hints and tips.

Presentation

  • CV should ideally be no more than 2 pages in length. (If the information is relevant then it is ok for your CV to be longer).
  • Consider adding a short Profile statement to sell yourself to employers.
  • Include Technical Skills and Other Skills sections.
  • Experiment to achieve the best layout. It doesn't need to be fancy, but it does need to be easy to read.
  • Make use of headings and paragraphs for various sections which may include some of the following:-                                                                                                            
    • Education and Qualifications
    • IT Skills
    • Employment
    • Transferable Skills
    • Achievements
    • Responsibilities
    • Interests

Spelling, Grammar and Formatting

  • You must use a spellchecker
  • Proof-read your CV thoroughly for grammar & punctuation 
  • Use a common format - PDF is a good idea

Content

  • Your CV is a selling document designed to help you reach the interview stage so you must sell yourself
  • You must be positive and avoid any negative statements; try to use action words
  • Education & Qualifications – use reverse chronological order throughout
  • IT Skills: be specific with computer knowledge – this should cover any relevant skills that you want the employer to know about.  Skills can be technical or otherwise but do emphasise those that are relevant.
  • Work experience: highlight skills learned & experience gained
  • Transferable Skills: e.g. good presentation skills; driving licence. Try to tailor skills to specific positions
  • Achievements: outstanding achievements from school; university; or hobbies 
  • Responsibilities: gained from work experience or leadership roles
  • Interests: include any interests outside of university, especially computing areas
  • Do not add date of birth or attach a photograph to your CV. These are not required.

Remember our Candidate Matching Co-ordinator Nicola Taylor (nicola.taylor@scotlandis.com) is always on hand to offer advice on your CV should you want it.  We also offer a CV checking service as part of our added value service, so please feel free to send copies of your CV directly to Nicola for review and feedback.

 

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