September 27, 2017

Writing a Useful, Technical CV

Writing a Useful, Technical CV

I'm currently in the process of moving overseas and therefore needing to update my CV. I started doing some research on how to make your CV stand out and provide actual value to the job you are applying for. Like the title states, this will be dealing more on the technical side of things, so it may not fit other professions 100%.

Not Providing Value

Most CV's that you see today are state the run-of-the-mill stuff like the job that you were at and the technology stack that you worked with, usually something along the following lines:

  • Team Lead for a Billing System which made use of a SQL Server Database, written in HTML 5 with React
  • Architect on a logistics application Angular, BizTalk, ADFS & SQL Server as well as integration with various Java 3rd Parties.

While these do provide some information, there is no real value defined as the discussion is focused on the technologies used. Instead, the approach that should be taken is to state the reason for the project as well as the obstacles and challenges that you experienced and the outcome at the end. This gives a far better perspective about the work and can give the potential employer better insight into your career.

Story Time

Humans have always connected to stories and is something innate in us. As such, you can use this to your advantage by telling a story of your job to engage the reader. This also helps create the connection with them and provides valuable information, as opposed to cold hard facts. Essentially, it will keep the reader engaged and you will hopefully stick in their mind above all other CV's. So how do you go about doing this? From what I found, each job detail should have the following information:

  1. What was the problem that the business had?
  2. What did you do at the job?
  3. What benefits did the company gain?

An example of this would be as follows:

ACME company required enhancements to be made to their existing system which was responsible for importing and processing data from the a third party. However, they required additional information to be processed to provide a better view of what was happening. The solution used a combination of SSIS Packages, custom .NET tools written in C# and a management front end written in ASP.NET MVC.

My objectives were to implement the changes that they requested in order to enable their desired outcomes. In addition, I also made numerous reliability improvements as well as suggestions on how to improve the overall user experience.

Once the project was complete, they system was not only more reliable and highly automated, but the reports that were generated from reporting system enabled management to make better decisions and forecasts.

As you can see, the job details above provide a lot more detail on the problems, solutions and benefits that were realized. At the end of the day, it tells a story to the reader, and hopefully one that will stick in their mind.

Until next time...keep learning!