Alright! So about a year back, I was thinking about switching jobs. I had only been at a single job since graduation and the only CV I had, was something I had drafted up while I was still in college with no experience.
Looking for a new job, with no idea about making a good CV, I did what everyone does. Hop on to a CV building website, fill out a template, download the PDF and start applying for jobs.
Unsurprisingly, no one reached out to me, and there I was sitting on my chair thinking I was not the right fit for any of these jobs, self-doubting my skills as a developer. Wondering what I could have done differently in my career that would’ve made a difference in the outcomes. Maybe a different project, maybe picking a hot & trending technology.
Fast-forwarding to a weekend, I was watching a movie that had a scene where a lawsuit was underway. The entire movie until that moment showcased that the person was not guilty but was being misrepresented by his lawyer. And then it hit me:
What if I am being misrepresented by my CV?
So here’s what I did. I asked one question, “What makes a CV a good CV?” and spent about 2 months researching and analyzing the information on the internet.
About the series
Before we get started, let me tell you that I am not a recruiter, but after my research, I created a CV that got me selected in the top-tier tech companies by just applying on their career websites, without any referrals. I’ve reviewed more than 200 CVs & resumes during my career. I’ve helped many people draft their CVs and resumes that helped them get technical roles in top-tier tech companies.
This is my way of sharing everything I know to ensure you get the right tools to draft a CV/Resume for yourself.
So, welcome to the series on writing an awesome CV/Resume, and trust me, you got this!
So what is a CV or a resume?
Here’s what I think a CV or a resume is. It is a document that represents you. It is the first impression that anyone would have about you. It’s a sneak peek (a trailer or a teaser) of your professional career but is not the whole story.
Think about it in this fashion, if your CV/resume contained everything about your career, then what would the interview be for? To assess your skills and check if you really are, who your CV portrays you to be? Sure, but it is also an opportunity for the company to get to know you.
Remember this, the role of a CV/Resume is to get your foot in the door. Once you have an interview scheduled, the job of a CV is done.
Difference between a CV and a Resume
Now if you google this question, you’ll get a lot of conflicting information, and you’ll realize that there are no golden rules for a CV or a resume. Mostly it depends on countries and cultures.
For example, in the US its against the policy to add a picture to your CV. This is to avoid discrimination and unintentional bias but in Europe, its kind of the norm to have a picture on a CV.
Here’s a definition from Zety, that was quite common from a lot of sources:
The difference between a CV and a resume lies in the length, layout, and purpose of these documents. CVs have no length limit; resumes are typically one to two pages long. A CV details the whole course of the candidate’s academic career; a resume summarizes skills and work experience.
Here’s what doesn’t make sense
- If you see the last line, that might be true for academic institutions, but I know a lot of companies also ask for a CV and they’re looking for work experience and skills not specifically academics.
- There is a lot of conflict in terms of length of a resume, some say 1–2 pages while some say 1 page.
Here’s how I would summarize it for job applications who ask for a CV or a resume.
A resume is strictly one page, while a CV can be longer. Try to keep the CV up to 2 pages, unless you have more than 10 years of experience.
I used the above statement while drafting mine, because I just wanted to be safe and not get my CV thrown out on a technicality.
The next chapter in the series
So now that we have a basic idea about CVs & resumes, let’s build upon this knowledge by learning more about the mindset to have when drafting your own CV/resume.
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