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Developer Careers Guide 7: Personal information and personal statement

In the previous post in the Developer Careers Guide we covered the main sections that your CV should include and in this post we begin to explain the content for each section, starting with personal information.

Your CV needs to start with basic factual information about you, and must include a statement that adds some personality to what is otherwise a purely factual document.

Personal Information

Title your CV with your name. While the rest of the text in your CV should be in a font size no larger than 10 or 12, give your name a larger font size and centre the text to make your name really prominent.  Feel free to add bold or underline your name. At this point include any certifications or qualifications beneath or next to your name, such as:

John Smith BSc

Or

John Smith

Sun Certified Java Programmer

Next, make it really easy for the recruiter/hiring manager by stating:

  • One telephone number
  • One E-mail address
  • Your full address and postcode
  • Nationality (whilst this is not a prerequisite, we would recommend doing so to avoid the recruiter jumping to incorrect conclusions)

Non-UK Citizen

If you are not a UK Citizen you should include details of your visa or your right to work in the UK, even if you are an EU Citizen. The recruiter or hiring manager looking at your CV may be new to the industry and not fully aware of the restrictions and/or which countries are in the EU, and of course they will only be able to place you with a company in the UK if you do have the right to work here.

Your contact information should all be included in the header of the CV to avoid taking up too much space in the actual CV.

Personal statement

Prospective employers will have no idea who you are, your personality, how good you are at your job or your proudest achievements. This is your opportunity to tell them. Most of your CV should be written in a factual, professional style but this is your chance to give a bit of yourself away.

I would recommend including some of the following:

  • A brief summary of your career including reasons for making the choices you have
  • Your career goals
  • Your proudest achievements
  • Your proudest personal attributes and strengths
  • Any unique points about you that may not be obvious
  • Your coding personality

Your statement does not have to include all of the above points, but it should give the employer an idea who you are and why you would be an asset to a company that you joined.

When writing a personal statement, try to think about what separates you from other people you know in a similar position. You should write with confidence but not arrogance: sell yourself but don’t boast about yourself.

Try to make your statement just one paragraph. It should a brief summary rather than a complete description. The best salesmen, when making presentations do not list EVERY SINGLE selling point of their product or service. They are selective and only offer relevant information. In other words, don’t feel that you have to list every single attribute that you have, just those that will be most relevant to the employer.

Avoid fluff. Do not use phrases like “I’m a creative problem solver” or “I am a team player”. Instead tell the prospective employer your story – why you like coding, when you got into it and why. It gives more of an idea of who you are.

A good starting point is: “I first started working with software…”

In our next Developer Careers Guide post, we’ll cover the often tricky issue of how to detail your technical skills.

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