Getting a job in tech part 1: CV
Changing careers or starting a new one is hard, and more so when you have to start writing your CV
I’ll be sharing a few resources on what I did to switch careers. I’ll share my CV, Portfolio and GitHub.
In my opinion, writing a CV that shows your skillset and opens the door to getting an interview is one of the hardest tasks while looking for a job. When starting you will probably get automated rejection emails, and therefore no room to ask for feedback (and remember all feedback is good feedback). But, it’s probably even harder if you are a career switcher or you don’t have much experience yet.
Mistakes I made
I made a few more but probably the most important ones (jump to the last one if you want to see the one that after working on it helped to me get a lot of interviews):
1. Focusing too much on my previous experience
Or if you haven’t worked at all, you might feel you need to fill your CV with information that is not relevant but takes space.
You might think “I’ve worked/studied really hard to achieve all I did”, but when you are changing or starting your career, you need to change your mindset and value the skills you’ve developed along the way, and not only the experience you have.
2. Thinking years of experience were more important than skills
It sounds like a cliché, but it’s absolutely not. I can’t deny that working teaches you really valuable lessons and help with skills such as communication, working as part of a team and time management. But that doesn’t mean you can’t bring valuable skills to a company if you don’t have related experience or any at all.
3. Not giving importance to things I do out of work/study
I love reading, I love drawing on Procreate (even if I’m really bad at it) and I’m sure you do love things that might seem not related. But I can assure you they are also teaching you valuable skills. So don’t be shy and bring it to the table! Give a full picture of who you are and what makes you you and I’m sure, that will help you to find a company that is a good fit for your skillset and personality.
4. Trying to fit everything on one page
If you can, great! You’ll see my approach to this below, but don’t feel you have to do that. If you have relevant information don’t cut it out unless it’s not adding anything valuable.
5. Using a template
This is a tricky one, let’s not forget it’s a CV and that we shouldn’t re-invent the wheel. So keeping a traditional layout, not using weird fonts or structures is worth remembering while doing it.
Said that your goal is also to get the hiring team to look at it for more than 5 seconds, read it and most importantly remember it. Including other details or some examples of your work might be a game-changer.
6. Not having a portfolio
I think it’s hard to envision this when you are starting, but this is what makes the real difference. Anything you are working on is worth sharing, maybe a project you built, completing 30 days of coding challenge, if you are writing a post, anything you are doing, share it! It will build up over time.
Also, there are great tools like Wix or WordPress, or if you are into software development like myself, I used Tailwind to have something to share.
Honestly, this is what made the real difference for me to start lining up interviews, so don’t be scared and share all the cool things you’ve done!
Here, you have the last version of my CV that helped me to get my first Software Development job! You can absolutely use it as a template but give your personal touch or it will end up being another one on the pile.
Please, take a minute to see my reasoning behind the final result so you can tweak it and make something even better.
Key things I think made it stand out:
- The colour palette, it’s the same one I had on my portfolio so both matched and used it to include links to all the relevant sites.
- Direct links to my Portfolio, Github and LinkedIn to show all the work I’ve been doing.
- The summary about where I was coming from, and what is what I was looking for.
- Education related to this new career I was pursuing.
- My technical skillset and other related stuff I was doing like reading coding books or participating in Hackathons.
- And then, the key part, I made a screenshot of my projects and linked them. You can add links to your images, and then if you submit them in PDF format it will be really easy for people to click and open them. Bear in mind that this might be detrimental sometimes. If the software that is receiving the CV is not parsing it correctly for not being a .doc. Said that I was happy to assume that risk.
On the second page below you can see all my professional experience, I also left some room for the education I completed in the past as well as my interest and hobbies.
I kept this part as lean as possible but I wanted to show also all the other skills I acquired in my previous roles.
While writing a CV is always scary, just focus on what you can bring to a team, what you’ve worked on and how driven you are even outside of work or study.
Ask your friends, classmates or even the people in the community what they think about it or any potential changes they’d make.
And mostly, consider it as always a work in progress and keep changing it and tweaking it until people tell you that they really liked your CV when you are having an interview.