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Developer Careers Guide 11: The top 2% of CVs

It’s worth repeating something mentioned earlier in this RecWorks Developer Careers Guide, as it is a crucial truth that many candidates ignore to the detriment of their chances of getting their perfect job:

Having seen many examples of CVs that get a candidate interviewed and CVs that get a candidate declined, it is not the BEST candidates on the market that get the most interviews. It is the candidates whose CVs are most suited to the requirement who are invited to come for interview. It is not the strongest candidate; it is the strongest CV.

The most successful 2% of the IT industry use a technique which allows them to stand head and shoulders above the rest. This technique has always been, and always will be, used by the most successful people on the market; the candidates that always seem to be get interviewed whoever they apply to. These candidates are often no better than others; they just have more suitable CVs.

In our CV guide we have shown how simple it is to tailor your CV to each role.  Some quite straightforward research should enable you to work out from a job spec, company web site or job advert a little about what the company is looking for. All you have to do is highlight the areas of your background, which most closely match the job requirements. The trick to doing this successfully is not to make major changes to a CV that you are clearly gearing to this specific role but instead to make subtle alterations to your Technical Skills Statement, Career History and Personal Statement so that the skills the company are looking for appear simply to be a natural highlight in a CV you use whichever job you apply for … and that you just happen to be a perfect candidate for the role.

For example:

  • If the prospective employer is an Investment Bank you could talk about your passion for the financial industry, include any involvement you have had with shares etc. and how your career goal is to end up working for a large investment bank.
  • If the client is a software development company that specialises in Content Management Systems and you have had experience working on one (even if it is a small amount of experience) then you could include it as being a major point of interest within your personal statement and expand on your experience within your career history.
  • This simple technique in adjusting your CV should take you only 5-10 minutes, but it could be the difference between getting your perfect job and not even being invited for an interview.

If you follow the advice given in this and the preceding posts in the Developer Careers Guide about writing a CV, you will have given yourself the best chance to be called for interview. In our next few posts we’ll cover the crucial matter of meeting with a recruiter and progressing through the stages of the interview process.

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