Paul Underwood
PaulundSoftware Engineer

Crafting an Effective CV for Software Engineers

Introduction

Crafting an effective CV is a crucial step in your job application process, especially in the field of software development. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of tailoring your CV to different roles, formatting it for maximum impact, and structuring it to highlight your skills and experiences. Whether you're applying for a role in PHP, JavaScript, Laravel, or DevOps, this guide will help you create a CV that stands out and showcases your most relevant skills to potential employers.

Having Different CVs

It's a good idea to have different CVs for different roles. For example, if you're applying for a software engineering role then you should have a CV that highlights your technical skills. If you're applying for a project management role then you should have a CV that highlights your project management skills.

For technical roles you may need to write your CV to the specific role. For example, if you're applying for a PHP role then you should highlight your PHP experience. If you're applying for a Javascript role then you should highlight your Javascript.

The same for different frameworks within the different languages, if you've used Laravel more then have a CV around your Laravel experience.

If you're applying for a DevOps role then you don't need to have a lot of information about your Javascript experience. Of course you can mention that you've worked on Javascript projects but you don't need to go into detail about it.

You want to make it obvious to the hiring manager that you have the skills that they're looking for.

This means you will need to change the skills section and the work experience section for each role. This will take time but it will be worth it. You'll need to change the ordering of the skills to make the most relevant skills for the role. Like I said above you can mention the other skills but don't highlight them as much.

Be sure to read the job description to see exactly what the role will be doing. If the role is for upgrading legacy system then make sure that you highlight your experience of upgrading systems. If you just talk about working on greenfield projects then the hiring manager might think that you don't have the experience to work on legacy systems.

CV Formatting

Keep your CV concise. Aim for 1-2 pages, especially if you're early in your career. If you're more experienced then you can go up to 3 pages.

Keep the formatting clean and consistent. Use a professional font, and maintain a balance between text and white space. Don't use colours on your CV this does not make your CV look professional.

Use bullet points to make your CV easy to scan. Don't use long paragraphs.

Don't include a picture of yourself on your CV, this is not necessary.

Save the CV as a PDF, this ensures that the structure of the CV is maintained.

CV Structure

Personal Details

Include your full name, phone number, email address, and LinkedIn profile. You can also include your address but it's not necessary.

Personal Statement

This is a short paragraph that summarises your experience and skills. It should be tailored to the role that you're applying for. You should highlight your most relevant skills and experience for the role.

Skills

You can list your skills in a table or as a list. If you list your skills in a table then you can have a column for the skill and a column for the level of experience. If you list your skills as a list then you can have a bullet point for the skill and then a bullet point for the level of experience.

When we put level of experience write about the amount of years of experience that you have with the skill. Don't put a grade like 1-10 or 1-5. This is subjective and the hiring manager might not know what you mean by a 7/10. Also it's you that are grading which is subjective. What does it mean if you put 9/10 on a skill, it means you know you're not an expert so why haven't you learnt that final skill to make it 10/10.

Be sure to limit this to the important skills for the role, don't put down every tool or skill you've ever used.

Work Experience

You should list your work experience in reverse chronological order. You should include the company name, your job title, and the dates that you worked there. You should also include a short description of the company and your responsibilities.

You don't need to go into great detail about the older roles, the hiring manager doesn't need to know everything that you did in your first job 10 years ago. They're more interested in what you've done recently.

Ensure to highlight any activities that will be related to the role that you're applying for.

Education

You should list your education in reverse chronological order. You should include the name of the institution, the dates that you attended, and the qualification that you received.

Whether you go into great detail about your education is down to the amount of experience that you have in the industry. If you have many years of experience then you don't need to go into great detail about your education. If you're early in your career then you can go into more detail about your education.

Certifications

You should include the name of the certification, the date that you received it, and the institution that you received it from.

Achievements

This could be awards that you've won or any other recognition that you've received.

Github Profile

If you do any open source work or can share any of your work then you should include a link to your Github profile.

Hobbies

If you have any hobbies that show you are disciplined or have a strong work ethic then you should include them. For example, if you run marathons then you should include that. If you volunteer for a charity then you should include that. Employers like to see that you have a strong work ethic.

Professional Memberships

If you're a member of any professional bodies then you should include them.

Other Languages

Do some research on the company you're applying for, if they have international customers or team members and if you speak any other languages then you should include them.

References

You don't need to include references on your CV. You can just say that references are available on request.