back to article Why your tech CV sucks

No, really. Your CV really, really stinks. I read these things for a living and the quality varies a lot more than it should considering what you are selling. Over the next few years you are asking to be paid more than the cost of a Ferrari and the desk space, computer kit and coffee you use over that time means you cost at …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Scott A. Brown

    What the hell is this guy on about?

    This must have been the most irritating article I've ever read on on here.

    1. Hollerith 1

      If you can't figure out what he is on about...

      ...then please don't apply to my company for work. He is telling you why less than a crisp, focused, professional CV doesn't cut the mustard. Y U No get it?

      1. Scott A. Brown

        Ok, no worries. I don't think I could work for someone who writes something like "Y U No get it?" on a public forum anyway.

        What I was saying is that checking a CV for spelling mistakes is pretty basic stuff, most of it is. For example, why would you even consider highlighting a summer job more than a relevant job to the position you are applying?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I think that's the point

          People are submitting CVs with all these basic mistakes. The whole point of this article is to ridicule people into making sure that they're not the ones making those mistakes.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Yeeeeessss..... and the fact that he had to write all that guff - *was that people are not doing it*

          You or I may well be able to spell (or use a spellcheck) but if you don't - then don't try to get a job via him.

          That's kind of the point of the article - people are shooting themselves in the foot, and making this guys job harder/more annoying.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          " I don't think I could work for someone who writes something like "Y U No get it?" on a public forum anyway."

          Scott, reality check...... This isn't a job interview mate. Your'e just on the innernets posting garbage.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "What I was saying is that checking a CV for spelling mistakes is pretty basic stuff, most of it is. For example, why would you even consider highlighting a summer job more than a relevant job to the position you are applying?"

          Yeah but people dont, alot of people dont, this is why he wrote the artical

          1. Windrose

            At a guess? No.

            "Yeah but people dont, alot of people dont, this is why he wrote the artical"

            At a guess - no. He wrote it so that people would talk about him. He succeeded. His is a singularly useless extra - redundant even! - step in a recruitment process which is already expensive. So he needs to sell himself. Today more people know who he is. Success.

        5. TimeMaster T


          Sounds like you agree with him.

          The authors beef was that , despite the simplicity of avoiding spelling errors many of the documents he sees are riddled with errors. And that many others will fill their CV's with useless fluff. You may not engage in this kind of behavior but many others apparently do.

          From the tone of your comment it does not sound like you are not someone who would make such errors, but it also shows that you are incapable of realizing that other people are not you and that they make those mistakes often enough to piss off a recruiter or HR person.

          If you always assume that everyone is going to be as good as you are you are setting yourself up for some major disappointment.

          1. Marvin the Martian

            Synergy: silly [article], great [article + discussion].

            Basically, there's this extremely arrogant article (consensus says "tosspot") stating some stupidly obvious home truths (how to distinguish yourself from 80% others: by not shooting yourself in the foot), and showing they want YOU to do THEIR work [but don't we all want that? Yet they can, like utilities forcing you into self-reporting, etc]. Article on its own: digital loo paper.

            If you say "what's the point" honestly, then you've a lost cause; but probably the meaning was "this is wrong on so many levels". That's where you have to pick up the article's invite to look at things from the other side -- as in this thread: number NO [because reasonable people cannot work while interrupted] or YES [some jobs only via overpaid interruptors with mental difficulties] plus trivial and cheap solution [use a second phone while on the market] that suits everyone [except cold calling recruiters, boohoo].

            Just like other insects, the ecosystem doesn't care about your low opinion of recruiters --- they're like bouncers but sitting behind behind bullet proof glass: at best your wailing and railing may entertain.

            If prospective employees would pay their fee for landing a job, they'd be treated bette! But you're JUST THE COMMODITY THEY TRADE with the company --- this is not hard to understand. Not fun, not elegant, but simply is -- you win NOTHING by ignoring this or (worse) wasting breath fighting it. So yes, if you reflect a bit on it, your own chances will go up at very little effort and no cost (and the smiling toadie's cv sorting job gets easier -- win/win).

        6. Mike Flugennock

          Y U No get Sarcasm?

          "I don't think I could work for someone who writes something like 'Y U No get it?' on a public forum anyway."

          Uhhmm... I think he was just being sarcastic. I'm sure most of us use the kind of weird, deliberately-misspelled slang in casual personal communication that we'd never use in professional communication.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        RE: If you can't figure out what he is on about...

        "Y U No get it?"

        He was also on about using good spelling...

        1. Hollerith 1

          Forgot the JOKE alert

          Y U No ... was supposed to be a sarcastic little joke.

          I am not a recruiter, but I am a senior manager who hires people. When I see a CV that clearly shows the sender hasn't a clue, I figure he hasn't a clue about a lot of things.

      3. Spearchucker Jones

        @Hollerith 1

        All those things are good. What's missing is what's bad.

        My CV is well up to scratch. Every recruiter tells me what a great CV it is. Except that it has no mobile phone number.

        That's intentional.

        Recruiters realise that thy're recruiting people who's product is pure intellect. What those recruiter f*ckwits are completely oblivious to is that an intellectual activity, like writing code or designing a system requires hard-core concentration.

        That concentration becomes almost meditative. There’s no concept of time, no consciousness of effort, and the code I write is quality. It’s a mental state in which I’m most productive.

        And it’s once I’m in that state that, inevitably, a f*cking recruiter phones me.

        It takes time to hit that zone. Reaching that state of deep productivity is a slow process that, depending on what I’m doing, takes me between 10 and 30 minutes. It’s about managing complexity. You’re keeping track of execution flow, variables, constants, asynchronous service calls, event delegates, encryption and compression, exceptions… All that stuff is floating around in your head. At the same time.

        And the phone call kills it off.

        I have no ideas why recruiters don't use email. I started at a new company recently, and the other day I watched three calls within 30 minutes ring until they went to voicemail, all from the guy who placed me, wanting "to know how it's going". F*ck off. Send an email.

        And THAT rant is only the beginning. The other stuff these idiots pull defies belief sometimes. Asking for references to canvas more CVs. Or expecting me to take a 50% drop in salary for an "awesome opportunity".

        Cool. I feel a little better now :-)

        1. Semaj
          Thumb Up


          You are TOTALLY correct.

          I actually asked one of them about the whole demanding phone thing once and she told me (quite honestly) that it's a combination of them being lazy and rubbish at typing and wanting to hear your verbal communication skills.

          There are those who send me a really vague "I have a really cool job on offer - give me a call" emails and those I don't even respond to. If it's that good then give me some details.

          The worst was one which looked good, advertised as being in my home town but it turned out to be in a city in the same region where I had worked previously and left cause it's a shit hole (amongst other things). So don't talk to me about lies on CVs - recruiters lie worse than any applicant.

        2. Hollerith 1

          Mobile numbers -- sort of agree

          Spearchucker (if I may be informal),

          I don't disagree, and I am with you in spirit. I didn't have a mobile for ages, for the reason that I did not want to be called-- or interrupted, or to speak on a bus or on the street, etc.

          However, I slowly realised that not having a mobile made me look a little weird. Like the sort of person who gets sat behind a screen because of the anti-social behaviour, smells, etc. I am perfectly presentable, but not having a mobile was hindering my being taken seriously be employers.

          So I got a BlackBerry so I could do grown-up emailing and that solved the problem.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. heyrick Silver badge

            I have an Android mobile

            And most of the time it's in airplane mode with wifi on, and when it isn't, it is in silent mode. People who haven't yet figured out to email me usually aren't worth my time and effort chasing up.

            Sorry, that's how it is. This recruiter bloke thinks his time is important? Newsflash - so does everybody else...

        3. Gav

          @Hollerith 1

          "And the phone call kills it off."

          If only mobile phones came with an off switch, or maybe even a mute. It would also be cool if they had some kind of answering service where people could leave a message for you to pick up later.

          Why, oh why, has no-one thought of this?

          1. Spearchucker Jones


            Mostly because there are phone calls I want or need to take. Like the ones from wife/kids/emergencies.

            1. rpjs

              Some of the new phones

              Have caller ID.

              You may want to upgrade.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Get a real mobile

              Symbian on Nokia provides a real telephone: just put your contacts into groups, e.g. friends, family, VIP, work, agents. You just enable call reception from the groups you want; the rest get your voice mail.

              Oh, you wnet the Android/iPhone route? Better get a mobile 'phone as well.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward


              Thought you were too deep in intellectual thought to be disturbed by anyone!

          2. AdamWill


            ...some of us have spouses who are likely to alert all six emergency services and the national news media if we fail to answer two phone calls in a row.

        4. Pete 2 Silver badge

          @Spearchucker Jones - Why no mobile number

          > Except that it has no mobile phone number.

          > That's intentional.

          Just like we all use disposable email addresses to "disappear" emails from people we no longer want cluttering up our lives (please don't tell me you only have 1 email address and you give it out to all and sundry!), you should be using a disposable mobile number.

          Everyone has an old phone lying around. Sure it probably can't send email and may not even be 3G. But for the sake of bunging a fiver in the general direction of ASDA and getting a second SIM, there's no reason for not giving people that number. You may not even make any calls from your "burn" phone but for the sake of not giving the recruiter a REASON TO REJECT YOU it's a worthwhile investment.

          Taking a sharp left turn onto a different topic, the biggest mistake you can make on your CV is to let it be known you're over 40.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            yac ?

            I use yac for those annoying boxes on forms that require a telephone number.

            OK I know it cost more to call than a standard mobile but it looks like a mobile to those who don't know better, its free (for me) and it emails me an .mp3 of the voice mail if I don't have it directed to my phone. It also accepts faxes.

            I don't work for yac but I have had a yac number for years, its a great way to divert madness without having to charge, topup, carry around another phone.

          2. 27escape

            Over 40?

            Easy to notice when your first job was back in 1980 something

        5. LaeMing

          I must admit

          I was a latecomer to MoFo ownership. I eventually bought one (well, bought a sim to put in an old one I was given by a friend who's PC I occasionally fixed) explicitly because I wanted to have a MoFo number on my CV.

          My current phone is a bit fancier, but mostly sits on my bedside running a digital clock app all day and night - I have a WiFi-VoIP jobbie to cart about at work and my mum calls the fixed line I got with my ADSL (because naked was more expensive than bundled!). I unplug it and cart it around on the occasional weekend when I take the train down the coast to visit my mum.

        6. Mike Flugennock

          mobile number? fat damn' chance

          I've never, ever, EVER given out my mobile number on my CV. I get enough SMS spam on my mobile as it is, even though only the smallest handful of people I know personally have the number, with explicit instructions to NOT GIVE THE DAMN' NUMBER OUT.

          My CV contains only my land-line number, along with my email address, and the URL of my online portfolio. Who the hell knows who would get my mobile number once I give it to a company's Personnel department or to a recruiter?

          I'm totally down with you on the meditative state of concentration vs. phone calls &etc. While not a programmer, I'm still in a line of work which requires a seriously hyperfocused, Zen-like state of concentration. When deeply into something like a brochure spread or magazine cover, I refuse phone calls of any kind and even go so far as to quit Thunderbird to keep the email flag from going off while I'm in the "zone".

        7. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Just turn the mobile off or put it on silent while needing to avoid interruption. Seems you are not as bright and intellectual as you think.

          To the rest of you failing to understand the author: he is explaining his experience and why the apparently obvious needs saying.

          I have got most jobs through decent agents. In some countries, you have to use an agent if you have not got the right residence permit.

          As for format, who on earth uses bulky Word when PDF is so easy to produce?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            I do the IT for a recruitment group and Word is by FAR our favourite format to get a CV in so we can run it through the CV processing tools we have to automagically populate our database.

            Also, we have to reformat the CV's to send to the clients - removing personally identifiable info, so they cannot sidestep us, and therefore our fees. Other formats, but PDF in particular make this a pain to do.

            Finally, all those suggesting the recruiters want you to do their job for them - they already have a job they enjoy, but you don't, therefore I suggest doing what they say. Remember, they don't owe you squat - you are not a client, you are product - plain and simple.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              "Remember, they don't owe you squat"

              This truism cuts in every direction.

              "you are not a client, you are product "

              I'm a biped with oft-used professional skills. Recruiters to me have always been optional tools which large companies like to use both offset their own managers' accountability and to keep the hiring process managably slow.

              I have many products, not the least of which is cleaning up technical disasters left by recruiter-placed and nepotism-sourced (usually the better of the two) 'talent'. I'm not saying the world doesn't need mouthpieces with no visible talent, I'm just saying recruiters are junior partner to the professionally-skilled and always will be.

      4. CheesyTheClown
        Thumb Down

        This guy is pathetic though

        For every job I have ever applied to, I have written a new CV from scratch. Open Word, pick a template, fill it in. Pretty damn simple and with a few Google searches, it's even easy to find a better template.

        A CV is something personal to you, it is also something personal to the person reading it. You are applying to a job where the person placing the advertisement has listed their requirements. It is your first assignment for that prospective employer to answer their questions. List your experience, education and other relevant information in such a way that it applies to them. Unless your job is as an assembly monkey or some lame ass job recruiter, the company will be investing months worth of time into getting you up to speed on your position even if it's just a series of failed attempts to start off with. You can afford an hour or two to write a CV that will answer as many of their questions as possible.

        Avoid going through recruiters as much as you can. As this idiot made perfectly clear, they're idiots. People do lie on their resumes and CVs all the time and if these guys are at all useful for anything, it's trying to catch those lies.

        Work on an open source project. Write an article for a blog. Do something that they can see. It's called branding. If you want a job in a specific form of engineering do something on your own to make yourself worth it.

        As for you... I could clearly tell what he was on about, but this wasn't a useful article in the slightest. If people are writing CVs such as the ones he's complaining about, telling them to write better CVs is just plain wrong. A CV says something about a person and if that person is too lazy to find out how to do it on their own, then it also says something about the applicant. He's cheating himself and his customers by whining that he has to work for a living to sort out the bad apples.

    2. SuperTim


      Wanting you to do their job for them. I have never got a job via a recruiter. They aren't interested in you getting the job, just SOMEONE getting the job. This guy, while having some good points, misses the fact that Word is the de facto standard word processor in business and that you CAN TURN OFF SPELL CHECKING on your CV. Also, what does he want? An RTF? A PDF? He neglects to mention it. Still, he does spout a bit of common sense. If there's one thing I can't stand, it's people who don't check simple mistakes and bang on about their GCSEs like they were actually tricky exams that left them capable of doing things other than playing video games and drinking cheap cider.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The CV gets you past some crude filtering, done by people who know sweet fanny adams about the job. Some of the mistakes described are really so damnably obvious,

        I am not at all sure that our industrious author realises that there are so many CV advisors who, once past the obvious, give differing advice on almost every detail of what should be there. Whatever you decide to include, somebody will tell you that you are wrong.

        I am inclined to think that there is something to be gained from the way a wire-service news story is written. Put the important facts first, because you will likely be rejected by HR without them even looking at the second page.

      2. Ken Hagan Gold badge


        "This guy, while having some good points, misses the fact that Word is the de facto standard word processor in business and that you CAN TURN OFF SPELL CHECKING on your CV"

        That's not how I read it. I read it as "You may have turned off spell-checking, but I haven't and therefore when I read your CV, it flags up all the speling misstakes you made.".

    3. Jim 59

      "This must have been the most irritating article I've ever read on on here."

      Good advice is often irritating. To preserve your pride, one approach is to (a) ridicule the advisor and then (b) secretly follow his advice anyway. To the letter.

      And my advice to recruiters is: please stop beginning your candidate search by spamming 100,000 people about that IC design job in Basingtoke. Narrow it down a little. I don't want your email simply becuase I live in Silicon Close, or my name is Bob Asic, OK?

      1. Bob Asic

        @Jim 59

        Did someone call? :)

    4. bdam


      Employers sometimes use pricks like this to screen CV's then connect to the candidates via LinkedIn anyway. Its almost always the case someone in the employers LI network is already connected so the "first contact" clause is busted immediately.

  2. Dele-Himself


    I cant figure out if this article was written by a troll or someone serious?

    1. TheOtherHobbbes

      Unintentional irony

      is always the best sort.

      A tech head hunter who's too self-important to learn anything about technology, and looks for "buzzwords" instead?

      Funniest thing I've read this week.

      I expect Mr Connor thinks he's the DBs for being such a nothing.

      But there you go - that's how the UK got its unassailable lead in large-scale IT project management.

      1. Mark 65

        I think you'll find that, were you to do a bit of looking in the correct places, the author is quite knowledgeable in his area of focus (financial and quant). I believe he is pointing out the irony of people believing all recruiters to be buzzword searching monkeys and yet somehow assuming they can spot that skill X is a sub-set of area Y without explicitly saying so on their CV. I would certainly not object to this person giving my rap-sheet a critical review as I believe it'd end up much more marketable as a result.

    2. AdamWill

      I believe the appropriate description...

      ...would be 'arrogant tosspot who thinks he's a much bigger deal than he actually is'.

    3. kosh

      Yeah, same.

      Probably troll, though. I have met recruiters this arrogant, but they're not this eloquent.

      There are two messages in this pieces:

      1. Write your CV with the audience in mind.

      2. Hire direct (as I do, using my network) - recruitment agents add no value.

      However, it doesn't need this many words to deliver, and the attitude dulls the edge rather than driving it home.

    4. LaeMing
      Thumb Down

      I found page 1 quite funny and informative.

      Then page 2 leapt off into wacko land and I couldn't tell if he was giving examples of what to do or what not to do.

  3. GrumpyJoe
    Thumb Down


    I have no ambition to work in finance. I'm sure it's the same all over recruitment wise, and I am struggling to think of the last job a recruiter got me anyway.

    Jobsearch engines will remove the middlemen - can't happen too soon.

    (Did I fall for the bait?)

    1. Daniel 1

      He works for the City of London

      You know? That powerhouse of intellectual talent and cocaine-testing that put this country in "Glad we're not Greece" bucket. You only have to look at how well all the people he's hired, so far, have shaped up, to see what a keen eye he has for weeding out life's failures.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        London - closed shop?

        It is a surprise to me that such a position exists in London. In my humble experience the FIs plunder talent almost exclusively from each other and it's actually quite difficult to break into the sector in the first place if you don't already know people in banks or hedge funds. Out of the recruiters courting the fresh graduate talent at my university (admittedly a few years ago now but Blair-era), the finance people were conspicuously absent.

        Some of the smartest coders I know either still work for banks or have done so for a while and moved on to do stuff with their accrued telephone number bonuses. Either way the CV was probably largely irrelevant.

  4. Richard Scratcher

    An amusing article but rather pointless.

    What's the point of teaching dumb people not to write dumb CVs? All you'll end up with is a lot of dumb people turning up for interviews.

    God bless the paper sift.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      I remember when 'dumb' meant something else entirely, until the Americanism redefined it in British English as meaning 'silly'.

      1. DRendar
        Thumb Up

        I'm pretty sure it means 'stupid' or 'dull', not silly.

        Which as a very silly person I see as being a positive thing!!

        1. The BigYin


          Well, that adds a new spin to "dumbstuck".

          1. DRendar

            Don't you mean Dumbstruck? ;-)

      2. Paul_Murphy

        Yep - dumb did mean you can't talk.


        rendered dumb.


        However english is an evolving language so it will probably mean something else in 150 years.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What planet is he on?????

    "Over the next few years you are asking to be paid more than the cost of a Ferrari "

    Er? How many people in IT (who actually do the work) are paid more than the cost od a Ferrari?

    give £170K....

    Well at my current salary that will be nigh on 4 years.

    I guess the words 'Headhunter' & 'Invertment Banker' tells us everything we need to know.

    Being serious for a moment, the main thrust of his article about getting you CV right is spot on. But being told that I lie on my CV is nothing but an insult.

    If there is one place you should not lie, it is on your CV. You will get found out.

    1. Richard Pennington 1

      Invertment banker

      I guess the upside-down stance comes from too much boot-licking.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        'I guess the upside-down stance comes from too much boot-licking.'

        Little higher.....

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Little higher....."

          Sock licking?

    2. MrWibble

      ""Over the next few years you are asking to be paid more than the cost of a Ferrari "

      Er? How many people in IT (who actually do the work) are paid more than the cost od a Ferrari?

      give £170K....

      Well at my current salary that will be nigh on 4 years."

      I would have though 4 = a few, give or take...

    3. arrow

      Try reading what you quoted:

      "Over the next few years you are asking to be paid more than the cost of a Ferrari "

      Specifically "Over the next few years". I'd count 4 years as a few, wouldn't you?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      It always annoys me (being the bitter and jealous person I am) that I never got around to finishing my degree and 'doing something with my life'

      Compared to most of my friends I have a 'decent' job - don't work too hard, with no heavy lifting/etc, and get to spend time with my family.

      I earn roughly 18k a year.

      If 170k is anywhere near commonplace then I just hate you all the more.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Blended rate for PM resource on my programme is over £600. That's just over a year to hit supercar costs.

    6. Medium Dave

      To be fair, he didn't say a *new* Ferarri

      There's a few on autotrader under 20k...

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      You're in the wrong business mate! A good developer in the city finance sector can easily cut £80k+ and tech project mangers easily break £100k.

  6. Kevin Fairhurst

    Two pages of good advice....

    But no answer to the age old question of how many pages should your cv cover?

    Is three or four pages of *relevant* experience & technologies overkill? Is a one or two page summary going to get you binned because you just mention where you worked & for how long?

    1. David Harper 1

      One page, and make it count

      The dreaded HR sift never gets beyond the first page, so you have to make your CV shout "HIRE ME!!!" in just one page.

      1. GatesFanbois

        Well a CV should be two pages max but as David Haprer 1 said they won't get beyond the first page unless it makes it sound like an ideal candidate.

      2. Arrrggghh-otron

        One page? Really?

        These days I couldn't fit all the acronyms for all the technology I have worked with in the past 4 years on one page, let alone everything else...

      3. Buzzword

        Best stuff on the first page, but more is fine

        Focus your effort on the first page, but unless you're a fresh graduate you'll need more than one page just to provide a full list of what you've done. Remember, if there are any gaps in your employment which aren't explained, recruiters will just assume you've been in prison. Even if you were working for a crappy company which subsequently went bust and you're too ashamed to name them.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      As someone who has sifted CVs as a technical viewer

      I don't care what you did more than two jobs/8 years ago (whichever is longer). If it's relevant to the job and you don't have any more recent experience you probably don't have better knowledge of it than someone else who's been doing it the last 3 years. If it's not relevant to the job, why is it there?

      I've seen CVs that were 10 pages long filled with one big table of work experience, or two pages of table with all the technological experience the person has (including one case of "read it in a book recently"). Just use common sense. If you were reading the CV for the job, how much and what info would *you* need to accurately assess your ability to do the job? That's all your CV is, something promoting your ability to do the job, not a life story, so keep it relevant, and easy to read. If you can't find the willpower to read through it all to work out what's relevant, why should a recruiter or HR or a developer?

      I prefer a CV that lists your 2/3 most recent jobs, a couple of the main projects from each (two sentence description, maybe mentioning responsibility and team size), and a very short list of the technologies that you used in the projects, ordered by relevance. There should be all the information in there that you need to get an interview.

      I can also say with confidence that this format has worked very well for me as well.

      1. Sean Baggaley 1

        @AC 13:22 GMT

        "That's all your CV is, something promoting your ability to do the job, not a life story..."

        "Life story" is *exactly* what "Curriculum Vitae" is *supposed* to be, you ignorant dolt.

        The full term used to be "curriculum vitae et studiorum"—literally "course of life and studies". CVs are *supposed* to be long-form, and always have been. In much of mainland Europe, the proper, long-form, CV is still in use.

        It's the _résumé_, popularised in the US, which is the short-form _summary_ of your recent employment history and education. The clue's in the (French) name, which literally means "summarised".

        If you want résumés, fucking well ask for them, instead of asking for CVs and then complaining that they're "too long".

        And stop complaining about *our* language skills when yours are clearly no better.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          AC1631 and Sean Baggaley demonstrate exactly the problem:

          It's not us, it's the people who are advertising the jobs who are wrong.

          Make two sides of A4 your mantra, there is skill involved in selecting what the people interviewing you need to see. There is no skill involved in harping on for five or six pages of A4 about what you've done in every detal.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Sean Baggaley 1

            So, that'd be a résumé, then.

            In which case, just ask for one of those. Problem solved.

            My complete CV would fill a damned sight more than 5-6 pages: I've worked as an animator, programmer, game designer, sound designer, scriptwriter, video editor, technical author and translator (and that's just the vaguely IT-related stuff; I prefer variety and am willing to accept the consequences).

            In fact, I now keep my entire CV in a database and just tick the items I want to include in the CV (or résumé) I want to send out. Not that I send CVs out that much any more; I get most of my work through word-of-mouth.

            Part of the problem here is that there's clearly not much consistency in candidate information requirements. Applying what is, fundamentally, a centuries-old technique to the hiring process doesn't help. We shouldn't _need_ HR specialists and agencies: we should be able to just upload a standardised database format to the relevant website and let that take care of matching candidates to jobs. After all, finding someone who matches a specific description is essentially the same process you find on dating sites. If we can automate those, why can't we use the same technology to build automated employee-and-employer-matching sites?

            The trick is to standardise the data formats so that any website can accept CVs (or whatever they end up being called) from any potential employee without requiring they fill in online forms with the same damned information over and over.

            (Open Standards, people. Far more important in the 21st Century than Open bloody Source. That's when Web 3.0 will happen. There will then be no need for a Web 4.0, because the arsebiscuit who came up with the concept of this "versioning" thing will have been summarily executed and given a low-level debugging they'll never forget.)

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              HR "specialists"

              @Sean Baggaley1: "We shouldn't _need_ HR specialists and agencies"

              I totally agree.

              Part of the problem with CV length is that they are being read by, basically, idiots who have no idea what the role they are recruiting for entails.

              HR "professionals" and recruiters are generic with, at best, a very basic understanding of the environment they are recruiting into so they frequently make meaningless demands and ensure that any use of "technical" terminology becomes a total no-no. This is awkward because most technical terms are there to help us compress documents and having to expand them so an idiot can understand you kind of defeats the purpose. (obviously this does not apply to all roles, but the principle remains).

              As others have mentioned, almost every HR / Recruiter now looks for an unbroken work record of the last 10+ years. Great if you have only ever had one job since leaving school but if you have spent 10 years working as a contractor, you potentially have 20 jobs to cover.

              Fitting that into 2 pages of A4 is simply not possible unless you summarise it, which in my experience results in the HR department rejecting it and asking for more detail even if it manages (by some miracle) to get past the recruiter.

              Hiring managers should take more responsibility in properly drafting what they are asking for and being realistic in their expectations.

              The sooner we can phase out HR / Recruiters, the better.

        2. MrCheese

          For That Matter

          A recruiter asking for a CV when they mean résumé is a breach of one of the golden rule of writing either: Don't include terms or acronyms you don't understand yourself, one of the first tips I was given about my CV was to look up the meaning of Curriculum Vitae.

          Recruitment FAIL

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward


            @Mr Cheese - Were you told to look up what Curriculum Vitae actually means by someone in business or someone in Academia? They mean different things in each case.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          AC 13:22 GMT

          I can see you get jobs based on your winning personality Sean.

          I don't post the job adverts, and I'm not HR. I am a developer who has reviewed several CVs/resumes to assess candidates for interview.

          Now look, if you've ever been involved in recruitment WHATSOEVER, you'll know perfectly well that once a job description leaves your email client it's going to pass through HR and numerous agencies. Either of those will request either a resume or a CV, without ANY input from you, so specifying either is essentially useless. So you have to ask, which is the safer option, and, from experience in my own job applications, as well as from looking through CVs/resumes, is that shorter is enough to gain knowledge about what level your current experience is at.

          Look, if you were asked to select candidates for a C++ job, and you had 20 CVs to look through, and 14 of them were short with current experience, and the other 6 were 5 page affairs from people who had been working on Java for the last 10 years, which would you choose?

          Stop taking it so personally, and try responding in a coherent manner, you fucking prick.

          1. Sean Baggaley 1

            "I can see you get jobs based on your winning personality Sean"

            Nope. Nobody pays me enough to be a nice, socially conformist cog in their machine. I have a lousy memory—especially for names and faces; I've even failed to recognise members of my own family—so I have learned to make allowances for my weaknesses and play to my strengths. I now leave the whole "working in a team" stuff for all you weirdoes blessed with discernible social skills.

            I left the rat race, moved abroad, and have been a freelancer working from home for years now. I can make enough money in just two days to cover all my expenses—including rent—for an entire _month_. In my free time, I do what I love most: learning new stuff and making music.

            Luckily, the one thing I am tolerably not crap at is writing, and I don't need to be in your office to do that. Especially technical authoring, which is the exact opposite of a spectator sport.

            "Now look, if you've ever been involved in recruitment WHATSOEVER..."

            Actually, I have, but thanks for leaping to your utterly baseless assumption.

            The key problem with the original article (aside from its writer's ignorance of the difference between the CV and the résumé formats) is that it does little more than reiterate Sturgeon's Law: "90% of *everything* is crud."

            That's "everything". From TV programmes to job applicants. Why anyone—least of all a "headhunter" in the financial IT sector—would expect anything else I've no idea. That's like a sewer maintenance worker complaining that he has to trudge through an awful lot of effluent every day.

      2. AdamWill

        why is it there?

        "If it's not relevant to the job, why is it there?"

        Because experience suggests that if you don't include a consistent employment history all the way back to the year you left school, people will assume that you're hiding all the crack smoking and bank robbing you did in the 'missing time'.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      As an interviewer

      1 page of A4, two sides, anything else just gets on the tits of the person sifting through them

      No-one cares if you have four pages of 8 point relevant experience, it's what you've done recently and a bit of history that counts.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        As an interviewer, the length doesnt really matter.

        It depends on the role.

        If you are a fresh graduate, one page.

        If you have experience, mostly from a couple of long-lived permanent roles then 2 pages.

        If you are a contractor - 3,4 even 5 pages.

        If you are going for management it varies even more wildly.

        When I have been looking for jobs, I have never once got past a recruiter / HR screening without covering my last 10 years of employment.

        In the last 10 years, I have worked for 14 different organisations in different roles. Getting that on to two pages means rendering it unreadable to the human eye.

        When I have started reviewing CVs to appoint people into important roles, I realised the length of the CV was actually less important than the information it contains. 5 pages of crap is going to get rejected, but then so is one page of crap.

    4. alwarming
      Paris Hilton

      1 page + link

      or maybe 2 pages + link. But never 3/4. Never some silly trainings

      OT : I disagree with author on mention of "Top Australian" univ... If you are applying foreign.. that doesn't seem like a bad sell, especially if it takes just a couple of words. (maybe he meant glorifying your engg degree is wasted when applying for a *fin* job?).

      Paris, coz he resume fit in a tape.

  7. Hollerith 1

    Spot on

    I have recruited and have faced the same pathetic sorry excuses for a CV. If you can't sell yourself on paper, you can't do the job I need you to do. Yes, you are a geek, not a writer, but if you can't put together a professional CV, how can I expect you to do anything well outside your comfort zone? Why didn't you pay a CV-writing agency, if you feel you aren't up to it? Do you invest nothing in your future?

    When I worked as an editor for a publisher, I got submissions that were the equivalent of CVs, and this article could have been written for that role, too. The message: make it easy for me. YOU do the work, because I have NOTHING invested in you. If you don't make it easy for me to select you out of the dross, then you too are dross. It's a tough world.

    1. John G Imrie

      If you can't sell yourself on paper, you can't do the job I need you to do.

      Which is fine for a sales job, but why should a techie need to learn these skills. You are employing them for their technical skills aren’t you. Or do you think that all your writers should learn Unicode and LaText so that the disk with their latest offering on it can be fed straight into the printing press?

      1. Stacy

        Maybe because...

        You need to be able to show that you can write because I would like to be able to understand the CV’s that get forwarded to me and because in this day and age even techies have to communicate with 'the outside world'. In our department we have to talk to the business a lot of the time, if you can’t communicate then you shouldn’t be working here – no cave dwelling pizza eaters here.

      2. Admiral Grace Hopper

        "but why should a techie need to learn these skills."

        Because if you don't, your CV won't get read and you won't get the job, it will go to the techy who could be arsed to learn those skills as well the ones that they hope to be hired to exercise.

      3. Shakje

        Professionalism, focus, ability to communicate clearly, will to do things right. How can you expect a developer to communicate with a client (which you might have to do for one of many reasons) or even just an internal email to someone who isn't a techie, when they won't take the time to put some effort into their CV?

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        If you want a highly paid techie job, you need to demonstrate that you have an ability to work a wordprocessor, if you can't do something so simple and easy to find out how, why would an employer think you can diagnose or design their systems? Also you need to present a competent advert for yourself, if you can't do that, how would you be able to hold your own discussing your proposed designs or fixes with other staff?

      5. Tom Wood

        What sort of techie never writes an email... or a report... or a proposal? If you can't write clearly about yourself why would anyone expect you to be able to write clearly about business matters?

        I took great care over the layout of my CV when I last got a job, and sent a PDF to the recruitment firm, who insisted on having an Word version so they could cut and paste it into their own template to send on to the employer. At least the employer had the sense to see that the resulting layout issues were the fault of the recruitment people and the content was thankfully still the same.

        1. DN4

          "What sort of techie never writes an email... or a report... or a proposal?"

          A happy techie.

        2. MrCheese

          Just goes to show

          This article and others before harking on about what the middlemen want from your "CV" are only of limited use at best as some halfwit recruiter with a one-size-fits-all approach will invariably do something out of your control that may impede if not entirely jeapordise your chances because "we've got too many CVs to read".

          I truly wish the recruiters and headhunters of this world would just grow up; would you accept tech support not fixing your PC because he's got too many calls to do and your wasn't interesting enough?

          No, thought not.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ John G Imrie

        It is LaTeX not "LaText" -- and why not learn it? It would prevent some of the horrific disasters that pass for a CV these days.

        It also would show you were in fact a "techie" and not just kidding on to be one.

      7. vic 4

        LaTeX maybe?

        But you'd still expect a techie to be able to spell the technologies.

      8. Hollerith 1

        even techies need to communicate

        I look for writing skills because I want my technical people to be able to interact with others -- to be articulate at meetings, to be able to be involved with meetings with business managers, and also, if they will be writing, say, error messages or content for the intranet, that it is done well.

        I also think that people who are excellent in one field tend to be good in others. If someone can't organise a CV, how to do they organise their work load? How clean is their code? If they are good at writing,they are often good at pretty much everything else they do. This has been my experience through about 20 years.

    2. MrCheese

      Something for Nothing eh?

      This "you do all the work because I have nothing invested in you" seems a bit self-defeatist; surely you can't be getting the best talent nor justifying the pay check you command if you're leaving it down to everyone to essentially guess what you're looking for and market it to you?

  8. Cthonus

    Just hang on a sekond...

    "The average HR [...] can, however, spell and identify sloppiness."

    Are you quite sure of your statistics on these points? We've all seen job adverts with salary ranging from "£40000/day" to "£250 pa" and with location down as every major city between the Kent coast and Duncansby Head.

    From yesterday's deletion pile - "Coffee Demonstrator - Up to 10.00 GBP Hourly + £10 per hour" and the lovely "Business Development - £1 to £100k pa + Excellent salary" (both Jobsite).

    You can't blame these on overworked typesetters!

    Personally I'd welcome the opportunity to deal with an HR person with an eye for detail and the ability to think rationally but I rather fear they're just as fallable as any other profession.

    1. Anonymous Coward 101
      Thumb Down


      The fact that recruiters are sometimes sloppy does not mean that you should be sloppy as well. The fact that you now hold that particular recruiter in low esteem is surely informative?

    2. br0die

      Indeed. Just last week, on this very website (over there ---> "latest jobs") I saw a job posting that was paying £0pa Awesome proofreading there!

    3. AdamWill

      oh, very nice

      "Personally I'd welcome the opportunity to deal with an HR person with an eye for detail and the ability to think rationally but I rather fear they're just as fallable as any other profession."

      nice one.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ..For reminding me why I don't use recruiters, you lot are almost as useless as estate agents.

    1. David Harper 1

      That's a bit harsh on estate agents, don't you think?

      1. br0die

        Not harsh enough. Estate agents are, by and large, the scum of the earth. Like recruiters, they are middle-men, who usually do not actually have any qualifications (or even skills).

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What this guy?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      that guy ?

      the guy that includes

      Favourite Music

      * Career in Quantitative Finance

      I never employ anyone who doesn't pay attention to detail.

      1. AdamWill


        Also has a problem with the elusive object:

        "I am a headhunter for quants, risk managers, quant development, algorithmic trading, etc."

        So, he headhunts 'quants' and 'risk managers' - so far, so good, those groups are both clearly people, but...he also headhunts 'quant development' and 'algorithmic trading'? Those are clearly abstract concepts, not sets of people. Bad, very bad. See teacher.

  11. Cosmo


    If someone could e-mail me a list of the companies that this Dominic person headhunts for, I'd be ever grateful.

    I now know which companies to avoid in the future.

    I have a foreign sounding last name. My parents were immigrants to this country. I'm not. Why the **** should I have to meekly state that I'm allowed to work here. Pfft.

    1. David Harper 1

      Good point about foreign names

      I wonder whether Dominic realises that anyone in the European Union is legally entitled to work in Britain, and they ALL have foreign names!

      1. Zee_SS

        Re: Good point about foreign names

        Almost there David, a few years to go yet though.

        Romanian and Bulgarian citizens are not yet automatically allowed to work in the UK and from what the Migration Advisory Committee said recently they look like they have a bit longer to wait too.

      2. Neil Spellings

        Not true - people from some countries in the European Union (such as Romania) are not entitled to work in the UK without a visa.

        Attention to detail, as the chap stated :)

    2. Carlitos
      Thumb Up

      Wow, I so agree. I'd love to know who this guy deals with so I can make sure not to waste my time with them.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Foreign Names

      My name isn't foreign. My surname is MacLean and it always shows up underlined in red as a spelling error... it even did when I wrote this post!

    4. a cynic writes...

      "Why the **** should I have to meekly state that I'm allowed to work here"

      Because it stops whoever's sifting the CVs from binning yours because they can't be bothered calling you up and asking? Should that be the case? - no. Is it? - in my personal experience, yes.

      I have a foreign surname, my great-great-grandparents having arrived in the mid-nineteenth century. Back when dinosaurs walked the Earth (the mid-90s), I got hardly any interviews until I put "Nationality: British" on my CV. Once I had I got loads.

    5. alwarming


      Change your last name to "Kramer" and you'll get all the attention you want!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And heres how we can help?

    I see no help here just a spew of contempt from a recruiter who no doubt adds the lines "would suit college leaver" and "3 years previous experience required" into the same job advert.

    Week in week out the same job arrives in your inbox from the same recruiter for years at a time. (does the job even exist in reality?)

    the same Job appears in local job site listings for every city in the UK.

    To sum it up, Recruiters like the writer of this article are worthless middlemen who need to be got rid of.

    I'd rather deal with a company directly than send my cv in to these morons for jobs that do not exist so they can update their databases.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good article - pulls no punches

    This is the reality of job hunting, and this guy has just given a raft of examples of what will cause you to fail to get a job since you fail at the first hurdle of being able to write a good CV.

    These are not made-up mistakes - these are real world examples, and what happens if your CV fails to make the grade.

    Even if you are a 'talent' - if you come across poorly in a CV, or for that matter, a personal interview - guess what - you are not getting that job you think you deserve.

    The first obstacle to change is recognising you need to change in the first place.

    Wake up an smell the coffee people.

    1. Arrrggghh-otron

      You're trolling right?

      So none of them would get a job by your yard stick?

      This smacks of being an extension of the assumption that IT people must be brilliant at everything. That IT People must be business people or sales people is the most ridiculous supposition being trotted around the corporate world these days. It's up there with business people thinking the cloud is the answer to everything. I don't see business people learning how to use Outlook properly or how to update the content management system because it's too technical.

      Some of the best coders and designers I have ever worked with were fucking terrible at spelling and grammar. When I interviewed for devs, I tended to look at their technical skills and not get too hung up on their CVs, preferring to quiz them on their tech skills rather than their spelling and grammar or their social skills. If this is how tech recruiters at the top of their game think then it might explain the IT skills shortages I keep hearing about. We have an aptitude for this stuff for a reason...

      And its 'fall at the first hurdle'.

    2. MrCheese

      Advice to Employers

      Don't use recruiters; their broad brush, sloppy and spam-like approach to recruiting means you'll only get average talent, but they'll be ace at writing CVs and emails and that's all a developer or sysadmin really needs right?

  14. Tom_

    And this is why I don't use recruiters.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's irrelevant whether you use recruiters or not.

      The fact is employers use them, and the fees charged to weed out the initial dross is in their minds worth the cost.

      1. MrCheese

        More fool them

        The whole system you're defending is broken and apparently full of self-important idiots too stubborn to change; it's such a poor method of extracting diamonds from the rough, so much so you'll only ever find fool's gold.

        In fact it's almost the epitome of IT industry management; too many managers who lack the real skill they're recruiting for ignoring the advice of the experts in favour of fluff, marketing snake-oil and too much form over too little function.

        And those of us who want to be judged on merit are just f**ked.

        As the late Mr Jobs, and I suspect most recruiters would say, Not that big of a deal!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Mr Cheese

          Whereas your posts suggest that you are meek, flexible and willing to change. Oh, no, actually they suggest that you are exactly what you are accusing others of. Funny that.

  15. genoceres
    Thumb Up


    Given the number of crap CVs I've had to read over the years - this hits precisely the right spot. Hopefully people in IT will read this article and take heed.

    I throw more CVs away becaue they're unreadable than I do because they're obviously not up to the job; and why? because if they can't write a good cv, then how crap is their code going to be?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      since I think that

      CV-writing skills and code-writing skills are largely orthogonal,

      I'd say to can tell almost nothing about how good their code is.

      You might take a guess at their documentation skills though,

      if you had to.

    2. The First Dave

      Simple - for most techies, social skills are _far_ less important than technical skills (hence the name) and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that autism is a benefit...

    3. Anton Zeelie

      And do you know the difference between a CISSP and a CCSP?

      One of my MAIN objections to HR and agencies, is that they have NO clue what they are recruiting for.

      I was once turned down for a job because I did not put TCP/IP as one of my skills.

      Mr HR person, if you had ANY clue, you would know that my CCNA and MCT mean that I have quite a reasonable grasp of TCP/IP and have quite a decent clue what DNS, AD, WINS, subnetting etc are.

      Actually - I know FEW people that can do IP subnetting from binary to decimal without having to use a calculator like I am able to. I can explain the TCP 3-way handshake to you in detail, etc, etc, etc. Then you want to complain when I send you a 3-page CV covering my more than 20 yrs experience in IT. And you complain even more when my appendix is 9 pages detailing my skillset, because I have to try and pre-empt your absolute ignorance of what I can do, so I list every single little acronym I can think of which I know inside out.

      Never mind that - do you even KNOW the difference between a CISSP and a CCSP? When you do, only then will you start to be qualified to read and make career decisions based on my CV...

      1. The BigYin


        But who didn't get the interview offer, you or them?

        This is why it's your problem.

        Not that I agree with the situation...

  16. Dieter

    I hate (most) recruitment agents just like estate agents - easy money if you're a bully and a liar.

    But then it is quite interesting to see these comments from the other (dark) side that might make me think twice when going through my CV.

  17. Richard Pennington 1

    I have just been to a CV workshop...

    ... and it was very apparent that most of the attendees were looking for non-tech jobs, with little to show on their CVs.

    Perhaps the highlight of the workshop was when they suggested passing off "being a mother of four" as "managing a small team".

    All in all, it was great for increasing one's buzzword literacy, but did not address how to improve on a CV which describes 25 years of IT experience with 8 employers, following several Cambridge degrees up to and including a PhD.

    There was one interesting point of debate. The workshop came down in favour of a one-page CV. My current version - somewhat cut down (it omits, for example, an occasion when I translated a set of project documentation from Italian to English as a sideline to an IT project) - runs to 9 pages. To me, a one-page CV is appropriate for a candidate with a one-page life.

    I know that there are arguments for and against one-page CVs. Perhaps this is a good place to start the debate. Flame away!

    1. TheItCat

      Nine pages :O

      Good luck with that.

    2. Lee Dowling Silver badge

      A 9-page CV is great. Until you have to read it.

      You SHOULD have a 9-10 page CV.... somewhere. Everyone who's been working or studying for a while should. But if you send that to an employer, it's doubtful that even 1 page of it will be interesting to them. Your CV is not a "This is Your Life" red book. It's an advert to sell yourself for that position in the shortest possible scanning time. Each CV you submit should be written to the person reading it - i.e. to that job and what they need from you ALONE with only side-mentions of other things they might like about you.

      9-page CV's will end up in the bin. I've seen it happen. A 2-page CV with lots of stuff summarised and where details can be supplied later, that's much better. I hesitate the second my own CV for a job hits the third page and start culling. But I do that starting from a 10-page CV which lists EVERYTHING I've ever done (plus every paragraph I've ever put into a CV and have impressed people with, or been particularly happy with).

      A 9-page CV is great copy-and-paste source material to start a CV. But it's NOT a job-application on its own because it's far too verbose. It's like over-documenting your code, or rattling on about how great your product is when actually, all I want is the code/product and how to use it. If I want to know that other stuff, I'd have picked you out of the 2-page CV's and brought you to interview where we would have all the time in the world to discuss it.

      Your description of an Italian-English translation is of no interest to the CV-reader (who will probably NOT be the same person as the guy who will actually work with/above you, or even the same guy you meet in the interview) beyond "Can speak / write fluent Italian". It really holds zero interest and if you try putting crap like that into a bog-standard job application CV you'll start having it binned before you get further.

      You can have a HUGE CV. Just don't submit it to jobs as-is. Use it as source material for your real CV, which should be just long enough for a HR bod to scan it and say "He fits the criteria" but not long enough that they get bored looking to see if you DO have experience in <insert skill here>.

      1. David Dawson

        I totally agree with your post, however...

        "Your CV is not a "This is Your Life" red book"

        Curriculum Vitae does in fact translate as something approaching - "This is My Life"

      2. C Yates

        @ Lee

        I couldn't agree with you more (though you could have just written that into one paragraph *snigger* =P)

        I myself have 3 CV's; each customised for the different fields I'm applying for.

        All irrelevant crap, GCSE grades have gone byebye because they're now irrelevant and I actually need the space! I agree with a lot of the folks here, page one is the "impact" page, the one I try to make count.

        To the OP of this mini-thread: you just carry on with your 9 page effort, you're making it much easier for me even though you're doubtlessly better equipped for the job =P"

        1. Richard Pennington 1

          It's the mini-thread OP again ...

          FYI, the 9-pager excludes not just the O-levels but the A-levels as well. The education section starts with a Cambridge degree and works upwards.

          The thing I really hate is the agency which asks for a softcopy CV to put into their database to mine for keywords ... which is really asking for the "bullshit bingo" edition!

      3. MrCheese

        CV FAIL

        Didn't even clear the first paragraph: "Your CV is not a "This is Your Life" red book"

        Google Curriculum Vitae and post the definition as a reply to your article for all to see please

    3. MrCheese

      As an earlier poster has already said...

      I'm not sure which one as this is along thread (so make yourself knowing as I'm quoting you!) but a CV shouldn't be a one page summary, that's a résumé. a CV is a long-form document details the whole "course of one's life".

      Recruitment FAIL for not knowing what to ask for and then complaining about it

  18. Denarius Silver badge

    hard but fair

    he is right. Seen a few CV/job apps and winced. Using the F7 key and grammar checker is not hard in Word. It is hard to find competant IT staff with so many sales weasel minds out there

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      you tease

      > hard to find *competant* IT staff

    2. Steve Button Silver badge

      Denarius you are a moron

      "Using the F7 key and grammar checker is not hard in Word. It is hard to find competant ..."

      You can also get browser extentions which spell check your text entry boxes. Or you could just learn to spell.

      This whole article is pretty realistic about the way it is. It's not nice, and these "pimps" are not your friends (unless you are making them money). I learned this years ago, and make sure I brush up my CV ... FOR EVERY JOB I APPLY FOR.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I just can't tell whether this is a rather good joke, or simple stupidity..

      1. Vincent Ballard

        It's called Muphry's Law.

  19. Lee Dowling Silver badge

    CV writing is apparently more difficult than I imagine, not because employers are as picky and arrogant as this article-writer (please rule me out of any position in any company that hires such a self-congratulating pillock), but because people are *JUST THAT STUPID* when it comes to making a CV.

    It's not hard: Have a document on your computer. Every time you change jobs, pass a course, or do something big and interesting, add it to the document. Seriously. Every time. If nothing else, do it to accurately record the dates so you're not caught out later because you said you worked somewhere for much longer than you actually did because you forgot that you left and returned.

    When you next apply for a job, copy that document and RUTHLESSLY pull it down to 1-2 pages of A4. If that means you list employment history for two jobs in full (not necessarily the most recent, but the most relevant), a handful of others as one-liners and then "Various other jobs in the X industry, details available on request" for the stuff you did 20 years ago that wasn't interesting or relevant, then that's what you do. The majority of things should be bullet-points, bare facts and (well, I usually do it) some kind of personal statement which just covers the bits you can't summarise too well ("Project X, that I initiated, saved the company £300,000 a year in tax", etc.).

    Don't make it pretty. Don't make it complicated. Don't jazz it up, adjust the spacing or enlarge your font because you have nothing to write on it. Nobody cares about the formatting so long as it's readable. If you don't have enough things to put in it, don't make up uninteresting crap to pad it out, and make sure that next time you write a CV you DO (by writing everything down and deliberately doing things that can be put in there). Don't include anything not relevant to the job at hand (unless you're REALLY struggling for content) and CHANGE IT for every job you apply to. Don't just have a single blanket CV, have one HUGE one that you never show anyone and from it sculpt out brief, job-specific ones each time you need one.

    The most important piece of advice is: Have someone else read it. Really. You'd be amazed at what you miss. My wife had a "GSCE" qualification on her CV for years, and I spot at least one mistake or query that I'd have on every CV I've ever seen. Don't fear about people copying your CV (which seems to be quite common) - if someone wanted to steal my work history, they'd do a better job to just make stuff up than copying someone else's CV. Nobody's going to laugh at you for your CV unless - and this is important - an employer would also laugh at you. In which case, it's the CV that's bad and NOT you, and you need to get people to point out things that you need to change. You *can* probably ignore most of the "Well, I'd have this" kind of changes but you need people to check for the obvious holes more than the subtleties of what they think sounds better on a CV (they may be right, they may be wrong, you'll have to judge).

    Failing that, send it to a proper CV expert who can craft it for you. They exist, and they're usually very cheap.

    Nobody cares about the minutiae of your personal history. They want a brief, seemingly easy document that they can scan for the skills they want. If you don't have the skills, it will get binned. If you do but you hide them in pages of diatribe, it will get binned. A CV is like an honest advert - short, sweet, to-the-point, and giving ONLY provable facts that are relevant in order to sell yourself.

    Your CV has ONE chance of catching the eye of the HR department. That's it. Just one. You don't want it to catch their eye in a bad way (fonts, colours, layout, etc.) when simple lists of facts will get through their checks. You don't want it to flag up warnings (everything from spelling mistakes, to unexplained employment holes, to bullshit-overflow when you could have just said what you meant). You just want a clean, simple, categorised, easy-to-read list of facts that fits in 1-2 pages and where any questions are answered before HR can ask them (that's what the small "personal statement" paragraph can do).

    Address the envelope properly. Write your covering letter (which can be a lot more standard-template than a CV) properly, addressing the correct person in the correct way. Provide everything asked for in the format asked for (they *won't* chase you up for missing forms, etc.). Stick a nice stamp on it neatly, etc. Don't faff about with fancy paper when bog-standard white A4 will do. Hell, hand it in to their company if you can and BE POLITE WHEN YOU DO. You're asking these people to trust that everything about you is the same as the way you treated the CV - clean, tidy, professional, and lacking in diatribe and other waste.

    1. Yag
      Thumb Up

      This post...

      ... is almost more useful than the article.

      Well, the article was an assumed rant however...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This post...

        Yes, but note that the post is about actually applying for jobs with real employers, not recruiters who will, between cold-calling people at work and putting on their best smarmy voice about a "great position" much to the irritation of the person whose working day has been interrupted, whip out the box of crayons that is Microsoft Word and proceed to mutilate the CV in front of them that supposedly did pass muster - don't think that nobody in IT hasn't heard of and implemented all these recommendations - before sending it on to the actual employer minus various important bits that they don't understand but which would indicate to the actual employer the competence of the applicant.

        The recruiter "profession" is more often than not a complete obstruction in the recruitment process. If you use these people for hiring and then wonder why there doesn't seem to be very many qualified applicants, you may like to consider the role of the recruiter who has "sifted out", with no knowledge or understanding of the domain, all supposedly "unsuitable" applicants.

        And after considering the role of the recruiter, consider firing them! You're probably doing most of what they're supposed to be doing, anyway.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Terrible article...

    Either a lot of it is *completely* obvious, with all the info - and a LOT more valuable stuff - already out there for the picking, or it's just downright ... weird?

    My experience of recruitment agencies for my specific field - web development - is that 9 times out of 10 they are useless at putting the right person into the right role.

    For this express reason, some of the top web development agencies in the UK have a very clear policy when recruiting. They do it themselves.

    If that's the case, then you have to make *damn* sure your CV aligns with the role, as your going *directly* to source, instead of through some jumped-up recruitment professional who is your 'big buddy' for the 2 minutes of head hunting, then forgets you immediately if you don't tick each and every box.

    "Oh yeah, this is a junior role, you need to XHTML, CSS3, Javascript, MySQL, PHP, Java, Photoshop, Perl, C#, C++ . You need to be university educated with at least 10 years experience. Free parking and coffee provided."

    My take - if your a web developer - get your job by going directly to source, by word of mouth, by attending digital events. In this case, your CV is there for backup - or to get your foot in the door. The rest is up to how you present yourself.

    The best way to do that is obvious - built a kick-arse portfolio website.

    1. Tim
      Thumb Up

      I think that's a fair point you've made, at least in the context of web development. However there is a bit more to the picture. Without any disrespect towards the many excellent, highly skilled and deeply professional WDs out there, a company can be successful recruiting these for themselves because there are an awful lot to choose from.

      Dominic Connor specialises in placing very, very highly paid quants with City firms. These are people with Maths and Physics PhDs, hardcore C++ expertise and expectations of salaries well into six figures. There are not that many of these people around at all and the services of a well-connected headhunter can make a hiring manager's job an awful lot easier.

      He is right to hold candidates like this to a very high standard. He is also right to expect people wanting to break into this area to be consummately professional in every aspect of their working lives. Shoddy spelling on a CV is indicative of laziness and a slapdash attitude; that is not something to which you'd want to entrust millions of pounds. His candidates demand a lot and he is absolutely right to expect as much in return.

      The rest of this isn't aimed so much at your comment as at the legions of chippy coders here who seem to think that they're being hired for their "technical skills" and that nothing else they do matters.

      Communication with other people - with business managers, with traders, with others on the team - is vitally important. No techie works in a bubble and, like it or not, their coding skills won't save their jobs if they express yourself like a four year old.

      The number of absolute rock-star coders, worldwide, whose skills are so intergalactic that they can get away with not washing and refusing to speak to colleagues is probably in the single digits. Unfortunately this attitude - I'm paid to write code, not docs; I'm too important to speak to Sales; the team revolves around ME - is all to prevalent among the millions of other developers whose skills, no matter how good, will never be enough to back up that kind of arrogance. Dominic's article is a welcome slap in the face to these kinds of people who, judging by the tone of many posts on here, still don't get it. Coincidentally, they won't get the high-paying jobs either.

  21. deadlockvictim

    Reviewing CVs

    I agree with Mr. Connor. The whole process of finding a job is a dishonest, self-serving business with the clueless judging the greedy. The purpose of a CV is to get you an interview. The purpose of the first interview is to get you a second interview and so on until you get the job. Honesty has no real place here. Appearance is what matters first. Just ask plain girls with wonderful personalities.

    Techies, because of the way that they are, value talent, interest, self-learning much, much higher than appearance. One would think that those who hire techies would be looking for this. Alas, most personnel and HR people have no idea what techies do. So they judge by aestethics instead, because it's all they can do. They have been given the chore of whittling away 90% of the CVs received. It's what they do.

    I wonder if Mr. Connor runs a service to check one's CV. He could supplement his income greatly with it, methinks.

    1. I'm Brian and so's my wife
      Thumb Up

      >... with the clueless judging the greedy

      A harsh truth that made me snort with laughter - thank you!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good article but you can feel the resentment

    I agree with the sentiment in the article and in fact I completely re-write my own CV for each job I've ever applied for. The intention is that where my competencies match the prospective employer's needs it's really obvious.

    But the commenters here also make valid points about recruiters' failings. I had the wonderful experience of being phoned up and offered a job at the firm that had made me redundant from that same role just a few months earlier. That firm's name on the CV apparently didn't register and even my incredulous 'Are you sure?' on the phone didn't make him double-check.

  23. Turtle_Fan

    This guy is entertaining

    And let's face it, basic errors in typing, lies and irrelevant data are part of cv writing 101.

    At the end of the day it's the candidate who needs to sell themselves into a job.

    But I agree that recruiters for anything below C-suite jobs are worthless rent seekers leeching on candidates' desperation and companies' icompetence/laziness.

    From my little experience with hiring, the higher up you recruit for the more often one sees blatant mistakes in cv's.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm a rarity, I quite like recruitment agents, they make my life easier by bringing all the roles into one bin and then trying to join the dots and dealing with HR and managers at the other end. If you get a good agent and you get on they'll help you out. Sure it's in their own interest, but then it saves me the hassle and lets me get on with my current job as opposed to trying to keep on top of what you're doing with your CV.

    Some agents are annoying and mailshots suck. Then again a lot of IT people are annoying (in lots of different ways.)

    Also having been lucky enough to get the job of filtering through CVs it's true I bin most of them after a brief glance.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My next CV will be in PINK on RUSTY BROWN.

    Have a snazzy layout, letterhead for the cover letter that makes people visibly look twice, business cards that people *remember* two years down the road. Carefully scrubbed all the negatives, had a native speaker proofread the English, have bloody everything to both get grepped and leave a bit of an impression. The old stuff is duly handwaved over, the new stuff put on the front with a nice pitch. I'd put weeks of work in the bloody thing, being as pedantic on my own work as I get, which is a lot. ONLY TO BE IGNORED A THOUSANDFOLD.

    Sorry, love, I just don't believe you. In fact, I get rejected for "failing to send word" when that wasn't anywhere in the advert nor the website. Or hear from the recruiter they decline for not already living in yon city when the same company just announced they'd just hired people from two countries over. Bypass the recruiter --the next shop doing the same thing is in Moscow-- and get rejected for not being a guru in the topics explicitly marked "nice to have but really no problem otherwise". O'Really.

    Well, this game is for the dogs. In fact I would rather starve than bother with that again. Want unix-y skills? Find me. Bring single malt. Otherwise, find a nice PFY MCSE in a plastic suit to b0rk up your "network". HTH, HAND.

    1. Hollerith 1

      OK, I will

      If you can't be bothered wading through the tedious garbage (and I know it is) of dealing with recruiters, spiffing up your CV, anticipating what they want (e.g. Word doc) and generally seekign to please me, the ultimate employer, then fine. That is your choice. However, I will NOT be coming to you, empty-handed or with single malt, because you are NOT that special. I can get UNIX guys, C++ guys, you-name-it- guys by the bucket-full. Some of them are hungry for work and willing to make my life easy so that I like them and choose them. They won't do a bad job -- I hire them because they have bene willing to suck up the pain of being employable, and that sort of hard work impresses me, and because the interview process will be asking them to demo their skills.

      You, however, would come across in your interview, I suspect, as you come across here. Life is cruel and unfair. Get used to it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not sharing my mailbox'o'garbage

        but there's plenty in it that would show I did try. With the being nice. With the spiffing up. With the calling up and sounding pro-active and strutting my verbal skills and everything. Feh, even "you called us, we didn't call you" got used against me. What? Reaching out is bad now?

        Unix? Six flavours on the old CV, all of them I'm confident I can get started with right away. "Not enough unix" says recruiter. Yes, I have that on file. I've run networks, debugged stuff so obscure the people who's actual job it was scratch their heads in wonder. Mixed two different packet filter stacks on a production network successfully, yet it's not enough. I've run mail and services and all the rest. I got C, and C++, and scripting, and a sack full more where that came from. Open source? Committer bit at a rather large project to show off too. Community participation? Sure. Consulting? Done that. Writing? My non-native English is better than plenty native speakers'. Still not impressed. What else? Oh sod it, you're just slagging because you can.

        Bitter, moi? You bet. But it's not for lack of trying. All it did was get me sick and tired of "technology recruiting specialists" that don't understand what the words they spout mean, and cannot learn. Yet they stay in business somehow, meaning that the free market apparently puts no premium on actual knowledge. That's not so much unfair, it's stupid. But then, that's what recruiters are made of. If that makes me sound like an utter tosser, well foo, I'm a sysadmin, I'm not supposed to be nice. I'm supposed to make sure your fancy machines that go "ping" keep going. That I will do, whether you like it or not. And should I get to talk to someone who actually has a clue, things go lots smoother somehow. Can't imagine why.

        And yes: You want the skills, you come to me. This is not mere arrogance, this is what eminent management thinkers say, too. It is also the perennial complaint that somehow the really good techies aren't to be had. Well, you're not finding the really bright people because you can't spot them even if they were taking the piss with you. So you console yourself with the plastic replacement and a "network" that doesn't. But hey, at least the poor sod passed HR's yearly sensitivity training. Now who's full of it?

        1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

          Ever thought that those excuses you're given for not reading your CV were actually just that, excuses? And if someone genuinely did ignore you for having UNIX on your CV when they wanted UNIX skills, or told you off for calling them up, that's really their loss, isn't it? Would you want to work for someone who treats applicants like that or is stupid enough to hire someone who treats applicants like that?

          More likely, though, those excuses are more plain and simple: "We don't like your attitude, so we'll make something up to get rid of you". In two posts here, you've come across as an arrogant arse. There's nothing "special" in those things you've done - it's called your job and I've done just about the same myself and it's nothing I'd crow about in a CV. If anything, you sound "jack of all trades, master of none" from here.

          My job was actually titled "IT Technician" for years and I actually did ALL of the things you listed above as part of the job for up to six different schools at a time . Everything. UNIX, mail, debugging (proper GDB and assembly-level to find a poorly-written-library-on-ARM problem), building and running entire networks including every little detail necessary and no-one to whinge to that X wasn't compatible with Y - I just had to make it work, C programming, scripting (entire schools still run on my scripts and programs every year and even things like the door-control people wanted my scripts that tap directly into the (hidden, custom-format) databases that their software used to do more interesting things than their own software could), open-source, etc.etc.etc.

          I was self-employed and some schools called me "IT Technician", some "IT Manager" and some "IT Consultant" because of the range of stuff that I did. Hell, I made a living because myself, on my own, for 3 hours a week for each school was doing a better job than an entire London Borough Educational IT Support Team on yearly-contracts and entire schools ditched their contracts and went with myself instead. You won't find 99% of that on my CV and details would only come up in interview if you bothered to ask. I don't need to tell them, and they don't need to know in order to hire me.

          I don't find any of it remotely interesting to crow about on a CV - it was my job, and still is and the only thing that's changed over the years are my employers, what they pay, and what they feel they want to call me. There's nothing "special" about that at all. And yet am I suitable for 99% of the "C programmer" jobs out there? No. Or UNIX admin. Or application development. Or IT consulting. Or vast swathes of the field. Just because you've "done it" doesn't mean you're an expert that does it day-in, day-out. You can find people who've "done" those things absolutely anywhere, and they're great for filling junior positions and becoming trainees. They *aren't* good for just throwing in charge of businesses and their critical networks, especially if their attitude is "I've done all that, I can handle anything".

          I once worked in a small IT team where one of my colleagues (an equal doing the same job as me) assured everyone he'd "done" Linux, Apache, etc. to the same level as everyone else. My boss got so pissed off with the assertion that he had the same skills as others who'd worked in datacentres that she (former banking IT manager who'd worked in South African banks and could put anyone to shame with her skills) challenged us both to complete the next project we had scheduled independently. It was deployment of a purchased PHP app onto a dedicated server that we had to build from scratch - totally free choice of what to use, how to use it and the "winner" - chosen by suitability, not speed of delivery - would go into production as soon as it was ready. Mine was a Linux server ready in 6 hours, and had all sorts of failover, OOM detection, security, etc. His never managed to show the rendered HTML to a single client after two weeks of work, then he tried to switch to a Windows Server install to do it, still never managed and it was left abandoned when he left three months later. As far as I'm aware, my machine is still in production 3 years later doing the same job without any changes except automatic software upgrades.

          Now, my last employer (full-time) employed me because of this:

          I got to interview because they read my 2-page CV that mentions none of this and only briefly states work-history and a personal statement (that explains I was self-employed and how I used to operate because if you just tell people "I worked 3 hours per week per school", it sounds shite, but if you can put across "I only worked 18 hours a week and earned enough to live comfortably", they get the picture). In the interview, they had a list of 12 projects they wanted to do and I had physical evidence on me of having completed almost-identical projects for other places - whether by being able to log directly into the damn thing that I built, or being able to show them an example of the software we'd use and where I'd deployed it before (and I think we complete all 12 projects within my first year of employment).

          They weren't interested that I could do C, or Python, or anything else. They'd only heard of UNIX from their 30-year-old mathematics course. One of the things was CCTV related and they ummed and arred about just getting a CCTV company in to do it (which I was happy to do, but showed them I could do it if they wanted). They didn't have a clue what it meant to be open-source (though they quickly learned that having your IT guy be able to patch software that you're using on the fly to customise it to your needs is so handy, it's worth paying more than the equivalent proprietary software for). If they had, they wouldn't have considered it relevant at all. Even if they were looking specifically for a C programmer, do you think they'd be interested in the other junk? It just makes you sound like you spread yourself so thin in the hopes of being able to get work doing *something* in IT.

          There are adverts off to my right now for a C# Application Developer. That's not me. One for a Linux Systems Engineer. Could probably do it but it's in finance and pays £500 a day, so it's probably not as simple as just whacking up some Red Hat instances or anything else that I'd touch in a normal working day. Chances are I'd never get it.

          If you have skills, list them. Be prepared to back them up. But if you apply for the wrong jobs and your CV looks the same as the guy who fell out of university yesterday and has touched on all those same things, it will be indistinguishable. If you want a C programming job, you need to get to the point where you're virtually doing nothing BUT programming. If you want a UNIX admin job, you need to get to the point where you live and breathe UNIX all day long for every task imaginable. Why would you hire someone who'd only dabbled in the thing they would be doing 8 hours a day, every day?

          "Tinkerers" CV's are all too common. Everyone's done bits and bobs, and almost everyone has done them as part of another job (but calling them jobs done "professionally" may not mean the same to an employer as to yourself). It doesn't mean you could throw me at an open-source C codebase for a huge multi-national who deals exclusively on Linux and ask me to do their consultant's job for them. Hell, I delved into the OpenSSL library code the other day and it scared the crap out of me. It doesn't mean I couldn't knock up an SSL library in C myself (I did Maths and Computing at Uni because of my obsession with cryptography) - it's just an entirely different kettle of fish.

          And when the employers have something specific in mind, someone general doesn't fit the bill - and they're the ones paying the bill. You don't have to convince them you're Superman, you just have to convince them that you'll hit the ground running and they'll never have a problem with you doing that job. A tinkerer might be wonderful as a general overview, e.g. some form of middle-management, but only if the thing he'll be dealing with the most is his speciality. It's like employing a brickie who once did his house electrics to rewire the underside of a Cray supercomputer.

          But, seriously, you're biggest problems are 1) Relevant in-depth experience, 2) Applying to the right job and I would also add 3) Attitude because you come across as you're somehow "entitled" to run the C programming section of a large UNIX supplier making network-card drivers, when in fact the things you say and (presumably) the CV you send makes you sound more like someone straight out of Uni who once typed followed a "Hello, World" C tutorial on a Linux machine.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Quite possibly.

            Of course, this is not me trying to sell myself. I'm not remotely trying to be nice, just relating some of the stupidity I had to run into. It's me venting frustration about being thoroughly sidelined and not managing to gain any further paid experience, which is apparently all that counts. Much like you, I did do whatever needed doing down to terminating networks and playing mover man, and whenever I get the chance to show off it's usually pretty well received. But creating that chance somehow consistently eludes me.

            And yes, of course that's all excuses. I'm a techie, I don't deal well with that crap. Tell me "no" if you must, but don't waffle or lie about it. I expect HR people for techie shops to understand this. And sure, if the company is a fuckhead then I'm not going to want to work there. But it still annoys me a great deal. Especially if the job looked promising, exciting even; something very few job adverts have managed to convey. It's why they did get a second chance only to again blow it. The "you called us, we didn't call you" dweebs, however, were an "all your CV belong to us" database driven type recruiting outfit. I mean, really now.

            I positively enjoy getting stuff done, and sending letters to people begging them for work and not getting any, regardless of what it is or where it is*, or even what level, is not it. So instead I've stopped trying and maybe something else will come along. Maybe not and I'll starve. Honestly I can't be arsed to care any longer. Burning out once was quite enough, TYVM.

            * As long as it's something to do with some unix, any unix. Almost anywhere in Europe is fine, too. Apparently that's just too weird.

  26. Gerrit Hoekstra

    Bet you've never seen this in a CV:

    A section in the "résumé" of a so-called "technology evangilist" in Silicon Valley looking for work at a company in the USA I worked for, was titled: "THE EARLY DAYS". Here he described how his parents met (Mummy was an air hostie and Daddy on business), how soon after that and how he was conceived, how he was born (breach), and what an absolute joy he was to his parents as a baby.

    Not even my Yankee colleagues could stomach this saccharine!

    1. Yag

      Tell me you still have this thing around, and willing to share? It's a slow day, and a laugh would be welcome...

  27. qweqweqwe
    Thumb Up

    I'm not a schill

    but this is how all articles should be - punchy, direct and interesting.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I've been on both ends.

    The local IT job sites in NI seem to be saturated by recruiters. Usually no salaries are listed, so you have no idea of what you are worth (except that it is 1/2->3/4 of an English wage).

    I've had recruiters throw my CV into 2 separate roles at an organisation, only for both to be declined as 'It appears he wants to do x/y' for y/x role.

    I've seen CVs come in that are like biographies, essays that list half a page on features they once used on Windows NT 4, spelling errors, incorrect usage of basic grammar.

    Then at the interview stage, the ones that have a decent CV but when you invite them in, ask them to go through their CV - 'Oh, I don't know what's on it. My uncle wrote it.', or cannot explain technologies they've listed - 'Expert Unix experience / SQL database administration' yet cannot explain what a ps command does or how to structure a simple SQL query.

  29. mickeyziggyk

    lol dominic connor's company website

    I appreciate Dominic's candour and with having friends in recruitment I sympathise with some of Dominic's points, however so I hope he doesn't mind me chortling at the state of his website.

    1. TheOtherHobbbes

      Be fair now

      At least his logo has a font with serifs.

      Very financial, then.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    and this is why writing a good CV is essential

    I wrote a good CV, had it checked a couple times, only gave it in PDF format so that it would not be rewritten by recruiters, and once I found the right job site, had people ringing me left-right and centre. 7-8 in person interviews and found a new job in three weeks. Recruiters are not all that bad.

    I've seen CV's and example code in my new job to hire a contract, and some of it was masterfully unimpressive. People seem to forget that this is the first impression you give and that you have to get that right. A CV is simply to get you to an interview where you shine.

    So, Write a good CV, go through the painful process of someone else telling you it's rubbish, and repeat until a couple of people you really trust have OK'ed it, and you shine much better

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fun excercise:

    Go back through the comments and guess who is an employer and who solely an employee...

  32. Sir Lancelot

    Can we have a look at mister Connor's CV please?

    "Why did you send the file as a Word document? That may not sound too bad until you realise that every damned word you spelled wrong is underlined in red on my screen and your grammar is also ridiculed by a £70 bit of software that is apparently smarter than you."

    I always send my CV in PDF format (stops the middlemen from messing it up). Strangely enough in most cases I am then asked to send it in ... Word format "because our doc mgmnt system/database does not support PDF"!

    A tip for mister Connor: you can switch of the red underlining in Word. Perhaps you should stick to using a Word reader?

    1. Anonymous Coward
    2. tfewster
      Thumb Up


      "...every damned word you spelled wrong is underlined in red..."

      And every technical word. Unless you've trained your spellchecker over many years...

      1. Rob - Denmark


        "And every technical word. Unless you've trained your spellchecker over many years.."

        Or just used a few minutes more, to check the spelling (and to ad the words the spell checker didn't recognize), when you wrote the CV.

        1. tfewster
          Thumb Up

          re: re: spellchecker

          Exactly, I've "trained" my spellchecker by adding the tech words/acronyms in my field. But a recruiter will be looking at candidates from many fields, so it would take a while for him/her to add every acronym from every field.

          OTOH, maybe s/he DOESN'T want to do that - Then most of the technologies would be highlighted by a handy red squiggle, making them easy to pick out for the recruiters checklist (and the misspelt "English" words would be a distraction).

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    27 Page CV...

    Some agency that we were working with sent us a dozen CV's for a position we had going.

    I was told to review them in one afternoon by the boss (due to the high amount of contractors I, a mere developer was the most senior permanent code-aware staff in our company). That gave me approx 15minutes to read each CV.

    Some CV's were long the 16 page one was too long, but the last one I got to was 27 pages. If I was to give each side a fair chance, that gave me approx 30s to read and make notes on each page, ignoring that I had to score against our HR matrix as well.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dominic has a point

    It seems Dominic has annoyed a lot of people with this article. But it still doesn't mean he isn't right. In my opinion the process of looking for a job has a lot of flaws. Personally, I'm in my dream job and have no intention to get back into the market, but I have been in the job market a few times in my life. And I've reviewed more CVs than I care to mention, as well as interviewed many hundreds of people over the years. When applying for a job, you need to remember these points:

    1) Job adverts tell you virtually nothing about a job. It is not unreasonable to apply for virtually anything that might be relevant. At one point in my life I was applying to about 50 jobs a day.

    2) Your CV has one goal only: get you an interview. To do that you need to understand how a CV is used. Regardless of whether your CV gets in front of an actual techie, it will be in front of someone who doesn't have time to read it, and has hundreds of other similar CVs in front of them at the same time. You will get an interview because of buzzwords. I learnt this the hard way. For example, adding the fact that my Masters project contained some Monte Carlo analysis doubled my hit rate on finance interviews.

    3) The interview has 2 uses. It lets you figure out whether you want the job, and it gives you a chance to go out and get the job. Your CV at this point will be used against you. Don't put expert C++ on there unless you can discuss the finer points of SFINAE and RAII, or you can't explain the detailed differences between partial and explicit specialisation, etc. If you can't justify what your CV says you will get rejected. If the company fail to convince you to join them, don't. My first offer of a job in finance I refused because I discovered at interview that I didn't like the way the company worked.

    It might be annoying, but Dominic is completely correct. At one point in my life, I got my CV tuned to such a good point, that one recruiter kept trying to get me a new job every year, because it was money in the bank for him.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The thing is...

      ... that this job market thing is horribly inefficient.

      Sure there's bad applicants, and far too many of them. Sure there's poor job adverts, and plenty of those too. So recruiters sit between the two parties. But the incentive isn't to get the best match; it's to get the one with the highest commission, and hey if they can sell the same person time and again, easy money. But that doesn't mean this benefits either employer or employee.

      If you read "Joel on software", there's a couple things about it from the employer's perspective, and it's not pretty, much the same as several attest here. Plenty people know about it from the employee's perspective, and it's not pretty. And now the supposedly market improving mediating recruiter is complaining as well.

      Something smells fishy here.

      There's a reason why I bypass recruiters as much as I can. Then again, if a company --whose core business is to do computer-y things-- puts out a techy advert yet doesn't deign to have a tech talk to promising applicants, not even a manager or a HR bum, but a work-from-home PR bod in the next country over, well, then it's no wonder they put off their applicants something fierce. No recruiter is going to fix that, even if they were able. No applicant is going to fix that either, no matter how much he brushes up his writing skills.

      The curious thing is that there are companies that didn't want me but that I'd recommend in a heartbeat, if their business is something you happen to need. Meaning that there really is no need for all the anguish. It didn't cost them anything but professional skill, and it might easily net them down the road. Yet even the people who make it their job, don't succeed there. They're not even trying, working only for the quick buck. Well. I'll stick to bypassing this not functioning so very well attempt at improving the market.

  35. Seanmon

    Letters and/or digits

    Anything said or written by a recruiter or recruitment agency should be ignored. I could go on, but I'm not going to waste the time.

  36. Neil Charles

    Please don't teach bad people to write good CVs

    I like bad CVs. It's so much quicker to bin a CV with spelling mistakes in it, than to invite somebody in for a 45 minute interview before you find out that you don't want to hire them.

    I used to be quite lenient about CVs and think that people might be ok - despite a weak CV - as they've worked for good companies. After a lot of wasted interview time, I'm not any more. Good people write good CVs. If you're not genuinely excited about interviewing somebody after reading their two sides of A4 (not more. Ever.) then just don't interview them - it's a waste of your own time.

    Thanks for the article though. I particularly enjoyed "You are a waste of space", coming from a recruitment consultant. Linkedin and a competent HR department for me, please.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Linkedin and a competent HR department for me, please."

      A competent HR department might be a bit much to ask for, but there's hope that one day with the march of technology continuing apace, recruiters will be as relevant as a spiv in a supermarket.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Credit Score ?

    I understand verifying my career history.

    What has checking my credit score got to do with my job application and CV ?

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some pretty good points

    I've seen hundreds of dreadful CV's in my time.

    Format, I don't care what it is so long as I can open it.

    Clear, keep it clear. No fancy fonts and avoid jargon unless absolutely needed. Plain language please because buzzwords are bin words and binwards :)

    If you haven't caught my attention within the top third of the first page - it's in the bin.

    Two pages max, you flesh out the rest in the interview. Everybody likes talking about themselves. A good interviewer will let you.

  39. ElNumbre

    Reverse Advice.

    Can I write an article listing advice TO recruiters generally consisting of:-

    1) Don't speculatively call up companies to see if they 'need people'. Seriously, if we want people, we'll ask for them. We don't "forget" why there is an empty desk over there and need reminding.

    2) Don't mess around with people's CV's to put them in your companies format. Generally, you have less of a grasp of word than your potential employee and bugger it up more than they do.

    3) If you're a tech recruiter, then maybe perhaps possibly learn a bit about technology? Just because someone knows how to work MS Access, does not make them a database administrator.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Some more advice

      4) Do not fucking call people up in other countries when they're at work and when you know damned well that they don't want recruiters contacting them but this somehow doesn't apply to Your Holiness, and then actually call them up via that person's colleagues because you are too stupid to read that person's contact details from a list (was more than a page too long?) and ask them if they're interested in a job in London-fucking-Town because it's the centre of your universe, before issuing a superficial apology and claiming ignorance that your actions might be against various direct marketing laws as well as being ethically dubious even though you're supposedly the expert on all that, and after all this ask whether the target of your call might know other people who would be amenable to pestering so that you might still get your fucking commission.

  40. Gordan


    Every time I read an agent's rant like this I cannot believe that some people do things that you describe on their CV.

    But in the interest of fairness, after your rant I feel I have to point this out. The last sentence of your article: "learning Apache Struts with Java is about 20 times as much work as fixing your CV and pays back more." doesn't quite parse the way I think you intended it to. I suspect what you meant to say is that fixing one's CV pays back more. So perhaps you should take some of your own proof-reading advice?

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Suggestion for next article

    Now that we have the views of the writer, perhaps the next article he writes would be more usefully spent by giving us an example of the right type of CV to send for a technical job. Then we could all benefit and hopefully make his life easier.

  42. bitmap animal
    Thumb Up

    A lot of good points

    When I was in the market I used to have a very neat and carefully crafted CV. It was very well honed, a few of us would regularly review each others CV's to make sure they read well. I had a 2-3 page detailed one plus a one page summary and both were available.

    Having also been an employer I have seen a large number of horrific CV's and my view was if the person cared so little about their CV then what would they give to the company. I've had people turn up to management jobs in jeans and a sweatshirt. Truly shocking.

    I had a young lad come for a warehouse job interview. He'd put on a suit, had looked up about the company and had made an effort. He's been with us two years and is a hard and conciousness worker.

    It's not hard to spell check, or read it out aloud to your mum, just MAKE THE EFFORT, it's your future.

  43. Hollow

    You sir, are THE unemployment problem!

    This article is disgusting, it completely and utterly encapsulates the recruitment industry, stupid, idiotic, arrogant arseholes who wouldn't know a good applicant if it hit them in the face!

    Why do we put our education on our CVs? Because it took us a bloody long time to get, in some cases cost us a fortune to get, because most employers look for degrees or relevant vendor qualifications and that was the reason we spent so much time and money getting them. We could of course just leave school and tell you that "I can com-pooo-tor" if you like? Fucktard!

    Those who can, do, those who can't, teach, those who can literally do NOTHING, recruit! Most recruiters don't have a CLUE what my job entails, they have NO idea how to write code, how to build a server, how to set up a network, half of them barely know how to turn on a computer in the first place. "I can't turn the damn thing on, look" ........... "That's the HP logo, not the on button, let me help".

    Your CV checking agency does credit checks does it? Is this something industry wide? I don't remember ever agreeing to a credit check with an agent, I'm sure that's against the law!?

    The reason people put their summer jobs on the CV and have a 4 or 5 page CV instead of a 2 page one, is because interviewers are more intelligent than recruiters, so they ask questions. If I don't put down that I spent 7 months doing nothing but DJing for a living in 2003, I'll get asked why I went from working in BTs back office to working for a finance company in Epsom, but spent 7 months out of work in between, at which point I have to start talking, once I start talking, I run the risk of saying something they don't want to hear, something that's going to not get me the job, if it's on my well thought out and triple checked CV however, they won't ask, because it's already there as 2 lines, briefly explaining what I was doing and where I was, this then enables me to just answer the techie questions that are actually fucking relevant!

    I would absolutely LOVE to destroy the recruitment industry, it's nothing but a blood sucking whore with a bunch of zombies in their employ! You go for an interview, get pipped at the post by one other applicant, the recruiter won't ring you back! You ring their office and you get told they're "out", what fucking ever, you just don't want to talk to me because I didn't earn you any commission you shallow fuck! How about giving me some feedback as to why the other guy pipped me at the post? How about telling me what they liked about me, so I can make sure to do it again the next time you ring me up, in a months time, like nothing happened and you weren't an arrogant prick and send me somewhere else?

    Recruitment, IS the reason for unemployment. All those broken websites out there in the world, Recruitments fault, I'd go as far as to say the whole PSN fiasco, that was recruitments fault, because no doubt Sony went to a recruitment agent to hire the developers and the ones who could secure the site and make it resilient against attack, spent their child hoods hacking things and playing with technology, instead of learning how to use Word or correcting their fucking grammar! My god you boil my blood, you arrogant, ignorant prick!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You sir, are THE unemployment problem!

      I don't care how much time / money you spent on your education unless it's relevant to the job I need filling. I'm not making you ask me for a job. If you want someone to massage your ego, send your CV to you Mum.

      A lot of commentards seem to think that Dominic is expressing his opinion. As he says, his comments apply to a lot of HR, etc.

      When I advertise a java job I get 300 to 400 CVs! If I can't tell that one is potentially a good fit for my requirements in a single glance at the first page (or possibly covering letter), it goes straight in the bin. This process might remove a third of the CVs. Anything with obvious typos or other ugliness goes next. After that I start grading them by unadvertised attributes (this is really going to make you blow your top): skills that are not specific to the job advertised but of interest; females (like many coding shops, we have an unhealthy male / female ratio); etc. This might give me 10 CVs worthy of close reading. Close reading may or may not result in some being binned. I then start flicking through the remaining pile until I've got about 15 at which point it's worth arranging interviews.

      If you don't like it, compare it to the famous stock broker recruitment method: throw the whole pile of CVs down the stairs and just pick the ones that land on step x. That way, at the very least, you know they're lucky...

      1. Jon Press

        @When I advertise a java job I get 300 to 400 CVs

        Look at it the other way round: for every appointment, 299-399 CVs have to be created. I don't think anyone looking for a job is really going to submit an average of 399 carefully-tailored individual applications.

        Especially when a lot of the jobs recruiters advertise don't actually exist, they're just "representative" potential jobs to boost their bodycount.

        There's a lot wrong with a recruitment process in which there are hundreds of applications per vacancy, but I'd wager that the fault doesn't actually lie with the applicants who know that in the unlikely event of there being an actual job, the principal recruiter is grep.

        If you've done a good job of specifying your requirements and you're still concerned about numbers, put some obstacles in the recruitment path that show not only that the candidates are serious but that you are too. A bit of online pre-screening? Asking for applications by post?

        I'm afraid if your idea of specificity is "java job" you're making a rod for your own back and wasting the time of hundreds of people for whom you seem to have nothing but contempt but expect to want to work for you.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "When I advertise a java job I get 300 to 400 CVs!"

        You might want to target your advertising a bit better. Theoretically recruiters could do this, but that would require actual work - understanding the demographic, figuring out how you reach those people and not all the other people - and so they generally don't do it.

        I had a fairly incoherent and arguably unprofessional brush with the recruitment/HR part of a company whose name wouldn't be unfamiliar to most of the readership here, and then days later the head of recruitment/HR of that company was once again in the media saying how hard it was to find good people and yet they get so many CVs that they couldn't cope. And yet they were advertising positions in just about every mainstream channel you could find.

        When I voiced some fairly tame, limited and factual criticism of their recruitment process as I had experienced it, the tone in response was of perceived offence, but really those people needed to learn how to do their job properly instead of openly whining about their own ineptitude in the media as if it's someone else's fault. And that brings us nicely back to this article.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Smells like an Apple

          And if it was, you really should have known better than to criticize anything about their company. They cannot handle criticism. They act like a hypersensitive 14 year old girl and throw a huge fit anytime anyone says something that isnt praising how great they are. Literally anything. And if you've done it in the past then you'd might as well not apply with them.

  44. Dominic Connor, headhunter of old London Town
    Thumb Up

    Dominic respopnds...

    You may want me to starve by bypassing recruiters, fine, but be aware that I want to sell you, if you send a badly spelled and formatted CV to HR they will be less kind than I am because I will often help debug nearly-good CVs, HR will bin them.

    Matt89 says my stuff is obvious, which is why I am less tolerant of those that don't do it properly, some parts of getting a job are subtle, this wasn't. I don't handle web dev jobs, you can see that as good or bad, you choose.

    LeeDowling, yes I am arrogant and picky and I agree with most of his advice.

    This is not specific to finance, even slightly, M&S (for instance) really are very picky about your CV being coherent.

    Cthonus, I did say the *average* HR .... But I have to tell you that the same person who will write Linucks as an O/S will bin your CV for doing the same.

    I do not know if one or two pages is optimal for a CV, actually that's a lie (I am a headhunter after all)... Some managers prefer one, others two, I know which is right for some, you can't, and frankly we are both just guessing in the general case.

    My point about you costing the same as a Ferrari should be the right for >80% of Reg readers. Say you keep the job for 5 years, and earn 50K, your equipment, s/w, desk space, benefits and other costs will be about the same as your pay (ish). That's 500K, enough to buy a really nice car from almost anyone. Apply different times and numbers, hard to make it not true for most.

    Few of you are sales types, fewer still have written anything other than emails since leaving education, fine. Flowery text and words like "stakeholders", "empowerment", "business alignment", and puffy prose do you more harm than good in tech CVs. I'm just asking you to avoid obvious errors that make me think you're sloppy.

    Cosmo really needs to read my piece again. My parents were also immigrants and I made it clear that I don't approve of the situation that leads me to give that advice. It just so happens that many people (apparently including Cosmo) think my name sounds English, which it ain't.

    But you have a choice here...

    I recognize a bad thing that you might want to deal with and suggest how you deal with it. That advice reminds you that things aren't ideal and you don't like it.

    You can instead take advice from people who tell you only what you want to hear and who will remain silent about things you don't want to hear.

    I am of the first type, but there are far more recruiters of the second and they are easily found, I wish you luck with them.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      A badly written article

      Your entire article could be summed up as "Your CV should be honest, well written and to the point". Yes, you may indeed see a lot of poorly written CVs, but perhaps that goes with the territory? :) Your article is a one sided rant without much useful information for 95% of the experienced people out there. Maybe try writing for some graduate jobsites?

      When I vetted CVs for a large IT company I could clearly see the experience divide. Yes I did see the 'graduate CVs' with summer jobs etc, but I understand why this happens and I guess once upon a time mine looked like that. It doesn't justify a rant, and certainly not an article on the Reg.

      And I had to chuckle at the "don't send Word documents" LOL. Most agencies will *only* deal with Word 'cos its all they know, and its the damn agents edit out all the phone numbers and addresses before you see it, which is also why they fear .pdf as they don't know how to alter them and 'massage' the CV. Its even possible many of the typos you see are due to the fool agents in between.

      And yes I do work in finance now, although my earnings are more in the Harley range than the Ferrari :)

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have found ...

    It is easier to do a damn good CV for someone other than myself -- because I actually hate talking about myself or my "achievements" in any extended way.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The answer is... it depends

    If the ad to which you're replying has some pretty detailed requirements then it makes sense to have a CV which reflects that.

    Also most places I've worked over the last 25 years have wanted people who have experience outside of the technical area that they currently working in so I personally would have thought that its worth including this too - but not in as much detail.

    Given the rather odious tone that this article was written in its hard to pick out whether this is serious or not

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Recently, my cv...

    I recently took voluntary redundancy from my previous employer. I tarted up my CV and sent it out to the relevant sites. I was rather underwhelmed by the response, a month or so passed and no interviews, so with a few of my colleagues we ripped it apart and made it again from scratch.

    My previous CV had been rather bullet pointed with what I can do, a sentence about each thing I have done/employer I've worked for and what I did there.

    My new CV is a lot more akin to a covering letter, much more conversational larger amounts written about more recent experience, down to just a bullet point about older jobs. It's also more nicely typeset. My education comes right down the bottom of the list as I've been working for 12 years in my specialist field, so it's pretty much irrelevant.

    The new CV went onto the job sites and within a week I'd got three interviews lined up - this is the power of a good CV, the same content just expressed better is much more effective. Two of the interviews and one of the recruiters commented that I had obviously spent a lot of time making it.

    The other piece of advice - Never, ever lie on a CV, especially in a technical job, you will be found out.

  48. tommej
    Thumb Down

    I love having my CV bombarded to every job post in <10 mile radius multiple times. Especially without asking me first! Fuck you recruiters.

  49. James O'Shea

    He's right.

    Your CV should be easy to read.

    This means no fancy fonts; so far as I can tell the majority of HR departments toss CVs written in fancy fonts out, unread, if submitted on paper, and they don't have fancy fonts installed on their computers and so never see your fancy font if your CV was submitted electronically. (Or, worse, see only a series of rectangles...).

    This means plain black text on plain white paper or a plain white background; anything else gets tossed unread.

    This means that your CV has to be _short_; one, two, maybe three pages, no more. HR drones' eyes will glaze over at about page 2.5, so if your CV is too long, it won't get read. HR does not care that 20 years ago you ran a SCADA system for an electric utility or that you know VAX/VMS backwards and forwards, they're looking for someone who knows something about Windows-based servers, and in the unlikely event that they know anything about systems they'll know that no-one still cares about Harris H800 superminis or VAX systems of any type. (Yes, I used to run a SCADA system which used five H800s, and I also have a lot of VAX experience, and no, neither item is still on my CV, 'cause it's simply not relevant to the modern world. To show how irrelevant they are, do a google on 'harris h800' and see how far you have to go before you find something that's not a printer. Go on. I'll wait.)

    This means that you must, must, MUST spel everythng _correctly_. Yes, HR looks for spelling errors. They have nothing better to do with their time. Your CV must also the rules of English grammar follow. HR is not populated by Yodas or, in most English-speaking countries, Germans. If HR has to work to figure out what the hell you're talking about, they'll simply stop reading your CV and move to the next one.

    Your CV must show _relevant_ experience and skills for the position being offered. HR doesn't know or care about the obvious vast superiority Linux-based servers have over Microsoft-based servers, they do know that they're looking for someone who knows something about MS Windows Server 2003, and if your CV doesn't show that you can do that, and show that in a simple, easy to read way, they will not consider you. One of the simple, easy to read ways that indicate to HR that you might know something about MS Windows Server 2003 is that you have the relevant Microsoft certs... and yes, they _will_ check to be sure that you have the certs you say you have. They don't care if you think that those who have MS certs are babbling drones; they care that having the certs means that the applicant meets one of their minimum requirements. If you don't meet the requirements, they'll toss the CV and look for someone who does.

    The only thing worse than having HR toss your CV is when they read far enough down it to think that you deserve eternal fame, and stick it in their Wall of Shame. That way _everyone_ in HR knows your name and future CVs will be rejected on sight, and, worse, HR drones move from company to company themselves, and _will_ remember your name at the next company. I once got into the Deep Inner Sanctum at a HR department in a large corporation, and someone had literally tacked up several Awful Examples. The one I particularly remember had 'Ciriculum Vitae' (yes, splld that way) in 36-point Olde English, in red right at the top (margin? what's a margin, we know not these things), on blue paper, and didn't bother to mention his name until about a quarter of the way down the page... and that was in 12-point Bauhaus Heavy. In green. Apparently the applicant wanted to make an impression. He succeeded, but not in a good way.

    And, oh, yeah, should your CV get past HR and you get an interview... if you show up jeans and tee-shirt, with a smartphone (Android, of course) hooked to your waistband (no belt, and your trousers are sagging) you're not getting the job, and I don't care how leet you think you are.

    If HR doesn't read your CV, you're not getting the job, no matter how great your CV might be.

    This may distress some people. Tough.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If recruiters could be ar5ed to read CVs rather than just doing a keyword search I'd have more time for comments like this. Just because I've got pre-sales on my CV doesn't mean I'm interested in a sales job that needs a skill set I don't have on half my current salary.

    I also have to commend the idiot who's email title is "London Headhunter", compensating for something are we?

  51. James Dunmore

    I have no contact details....

    .... not because I didn't put them on, but because some agency took them out because they want to make sure I'm contacted directly and they get their cut (yes, it wouldn't take much to find me via google though!).

    My CV has been formatted badly, because an agent has got hold of it, but it on their database, changed all the things that I knew were good, paraphrased things for me, but a mission statement on, formatted it badly and emailed it off in word format (however hard to try to avoid the CV factory agencies, they still get your CV, somehow).

  52. Jon Grattage

    Surely it's a good thing that idiots are doing these things. We don't want these people actually getting jobs. Sending a word doc, while one of the lesser problems described here, does give a bad impression (yes, PDF is preferred, or good quality paper) - especially if it is full of mistakes that word itself highlights. Word documents are ok for collaboration, but you don't really want the HR people to edit your CV.

    I was disappointed in this article though as I expected some tips a bit beyond "don't be a moron". The guy also doesn't come across well, and his job does seem pointless.

  53. Dances With Sheep

    Mobile Phone Number ?

    "Why do you send your CV to me with no mobile phone number? "

    Is he taking the piss?

    Who the fuck is going to give a mobile phone number so you can call me at my current place of employment or when I'm sat on the bog? You get a home landline (with voice-mail) and a private email address sunshine.

    If you think you need to contact me instantly, right this minute..... you don't. Any company I will work for isn't shitting themselves trying to employ the first person they can phone in a blind panic.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    not being funny or anything...

    But this Dominic Connor sounds like a bit of a cnut.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I stopped reading after you said you worked for recruitment in finance. I don't think there are many things worse (other then estate agents maybe) in this world then people who work in finance and recruitment agents. Your article is null and void. Thanks for the angry rant though, entertaining, not sure how engaging and angry rant is for other people, but frankly for me it's worthless

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Yeah but people dont, alot of people dont, this is why he wrote the artical"

    ...And you are the type of person this article was written for.

    Poor English, basic punctuation errors and spelling mistakes.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Formatting your CV

    For many gov't positions in Canada, you paste your CV and covering letter into text boxes on a website. (The instructions state plain text only -- RTF will not display and may be rejected.)

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dear Dominic...

    ... if you're a 'headhunter', why do you need my CV? You already know where I work and what I can do. That's why you're headhunting me.

    Similarly, if you're a headhunter, why are you giving people recommendations regarding hiring managers and HR departments? You know, just like I do, that the only way to get the job you want is to bypass those very people. That's why you're headhunting me.

    Ah, I get it. You're not really a headhunter at all. You're just a recruitment agent.

  59. Why Not?
    Thumb Up

    Unfortunately recruitment agents & HR are like bouncers

    Bouncers take a few milliseconds to asses you. You might make Madonna & J-Lo look like a slouch on the dance floor and be able to teach Casanova a thing or two about making women happy. But if you wear scuffed shoes & out of fashion jeans and you don't get in to prove it.

    They may be poorly paid, unable to hold a candle to you when it comes an outer join or unable to hold a conversation about anything other than 'strategising' or development opportunities. But they are on the door so you need to be nice to them.

    The CV is the only thing they see and it will be one of many, make it count is the lesson.

    Agree word is the standard, wish it wasn't. I have walked in given the interviewer a copy of my CV and they have flicked through it and they say 'So you haven't got 50 years of Server 2003 experience? That is what the Agency's copy says?'.

    But then Betamax had better picture quality - get over it. (oops just proved I'm over 40).

    The recruitment agents that phone for leads or try to give you a salary drop are very annoying, but just think most of these aren't shaving yet and earn less than a cleaner, that thought normally makes me smile. Find a few decent ones, the rest of them can ring your silent phone.

    Most phones nowadays can have various ring tones for recognised numbers and some even let some numbers bypass silent mode.

  60. Captain Underpants
    Thumb Down

    Dominic, was your primary goal with this article to deter people from seeking jobs through you or others in your field? It certainly seems that way.

    Yes, crap CVs are annoying. If you're such an awesome headhunter, though, you should be waaaaaaay past the point where you're talking to the kind of people who submit shit CVs, or trying to fill the kind of job that might even conceivably be within reach of someone who submits a shit CV.

    Of course, bullshit articles with damn near fuck-all in the way of useful advice passing themselves off as advice on how to improve your CV for technical job applications are *also* annoying.

  61. SunBoy

    Nice Article!

    What a well written article - I recently helped a friend of mine put together his first CV. So we had something to work on, I asked him to come up with something first.

    University educated, 1st from and oldie but a goodie place, and this guy fell into all the traps you describe above.

    Why do people persist in making life hard by doing things so absurdly badly like their CV ?

    CVs are boring, horrible and painful no matter if you are the recruiter or recruitee...why not make it easier for the recruiter - that way you might get a job in a decent company.

    For IT jobs - who cares that you can use MS Office - like an admin girl(okay or boy...but hey theres not many of them!) - if you work in this line - then its taken forgranted you can use an application to write documents, make spreadsheets and read emails.

    What I do care about though is what the job you are applying for is looking for and how you can do the job I am advertising.....SELL ME YOU - WHY DO I WANT TO PAY YOU LOADSA DOSH instead of getting me 3 or 4 cuties to make my business look good (and yes, I include cute guys - if there is such a thing!).

  62. The BigYin

    Top investment bank, eh?

    I know COBOL, JCL and am not 65 years old which means I'll be around for quite a while. Let's face it, you still use COBOL and training people is expensive. The old COBOL engineers are dying and there is not a lot of young-blood around, is there?

    Send me your company's annual statements for the past decade and I'll see if you are good enough to employ me.

    I could put any number of other TLAs and buzzword into my CV and pass quite a few other check-lists. And you know what? It's pointless. Totally and utterly pointless.

    For a tech company (e.g. a software house) it's worthwhile, but a bank? Get real. Most actual dev work will be off-shored/outsourced to an actual tech company, your tech work will be applications or infrastructure support. Any decent dev can learn any high-level language well enough to do applications support. The big trick is is finding one who can learn the problem domain, work with others, think fast, follow procedures, define procedures, unit test, document, mentor, train and do all those other things that do not have buzzwords and do not feature in your pathetic little check list.

    Also, when I say I do not what a job in region X or I only want a job in region Y; I really do mean I DO NOT what a job in region X or ONLY a job in region Y so stop fucking calling me about shit that is in X or not in Y!!!

  63. Jess--

    missing time on C.V.

    I would have 7 years missing from my CV (a block of three years and then a block of four years) where it has to remain blank, I cannot say where I was working, for who or what I was doing (not even able to list the technologies involved). According to Mr Connor this must mean I have spent time in prison.

    Just as well that I have NEVER been asked for a CV (or submitted one) in almost 20 years

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC 14:48

    "I get it. You're not really a headhunter at all. You're just a recruitment agent."


    But for some reason he's got delusions of grandeur. And for some different reason I could neither upvote nor reply directly to AC 14:48.

    Still, by the look of things it's doing OK for El Reg's page views. Do they still matter?

  65. vgrig_us

    Recruiters are idiots... So is any company that uses them. Period.

  66. disgruntled yank

    Not wrong, but

    Why write an article that infuriates a fair chunk of the readership--most of them presumably employed in IT, many likely with valuable skills? To make us feel the way a multi-hued misspelled 24-point CV makes the author feel? An interesting strategy if so, with the irony perhaps a bit too subtle.

    1. James O'Shea

      "Why write"?

      Because far too many commentards around here think that they're leet and will submit CVs with that attitude, and then will never know why they don't get a call back.

      Now they know. A lot of them would rather shoot the messenger than fix the problem.

      1. James O'Shea

        And I got downvoted, thereby proving my point for me.

        Y'all are _not_ as leet as you think you are. if you want the job you _must_ first get by the gatekeepers... and that's HR. And they _will_ judge your CV just the way that he said they would. And if you don't submit CVs that fulfill _their_ requirements, you will not get the interview.

        You no like? Me no care. And neither does HR. Facts remain facts no matter how special you might think you are.

    2. Sean Baggaley 1

      @disgruntled yank...

      Article like these do make some sense, despite the article writer's apparent ignorance of the difference between a CV (your life's story) and a résumé (a summary of your life's story):

      1. It helps to illustrate why so many employees at larger companies are of such mediocre quality.

      2. It proves the suspicion many of us have that out-sourcing your recruitment and HR to people with little or no understanding of basic industry knowledge is a bloody stupid idea.

      3. It is clearly best suited to people who have decent social skills, plenty of self-confidence, and an ability to communicate well. Unfortunately, the IT industry has a higher than average incidence of autism; almost by definition, the best are unlikely to be good at blowing their own trumpet, so the present recruitment system is quite, quite broken.

      Here's a summary of the IT industry's recruitment problems that's very heavy on metaphor:

      Relying on such an archaic and anachronistic manual system for finding suitable employees—despite this being, you know, the fucking *IT* industry, which is all about those "computer" thingies—is a staggeringly moronic idea.

      There is a wide open market just gagging for an ISO-approved standard for a "CV Exchange" data format. One that can be used by *every* job-search engine, and which can go beyond the traditional flat, linear, CV or résumé.

      The CV and résumé must die. And we have the power to do it.

  67. Phil Endecott

    Two kind of people...

    There are two kinds of people:

    1. You're a poor to moderate candidate. In this case, you need to do everything in this article, and more, to make sure that you get considered. A side effect is that recruiters CUNTS will phone you up at inconvenient times and tell you about opportunities. And they'll email you vague information about those opportunities that is full of all the same problems of presentation that this article talks about. (Hint to companies using agencies: you should be putting as much care into the blurbs for your jobs as you expect applicants to put into their CVs.) You will soon tire of these phone calls and emails, but you have to put up with them and feign interest with "Hi, this is Zoe from Scumtwats, how are you?", else you will end up unemployed.

    2. You're *really smart*. In this case, you probably hardly need to write a CV at all; the companies who are looking to hire you HATE recruiters too, and have probably heard of you, or you've heard of them (or your friend has). You'll get to find each other without an intermediary. You probably should write a really short CV with just facts that you can pass on to their HR people, if they ask for it.

  68. TimChuma
    Thumb Down

    Why? No one reads it any way

    99% of the time questions in the phone call/interview are things that I have already covered in the CV/key selection criteria and application letter.

    1. Handel was a crank

      Hmm, let me see. Perhaps in the interview they are trying to check what the actual depth of your knowledge is and that you haven't been embellishing the truth or outright lying on your CV?

    2. janimal


      It is quite easy to lie about experience or knowledge on your CV but much harder to carry that off when asked direct questions about it.

      In addition if you were to put enough detail about that particular point in your CV it would balloon to the dreaded 27 pager that would have been binned long before you got to the interview.

      I have encountered individuals who have stated excellent skills at coding and gui design only to discover in interview that they meant being able to define foreground and background colours in html (hilariously though not using CSS) when we were looking for c++ programmers to design complex graphing applications for engineering data visualisation.

  69. Anonymous Coward

    Why you suck!

    MORE RIGHT-WING PROPAGANDA. We're human "RESOURCES", not staff anymore, let alone human beings. We're a "RESOURCE", and we get treated like one.

    How about an article about bad companies, bad corporations, firms that expect it ALL FOR FREE. How about companies making an effort to train their staff, giving people a chance, how about if they stop demanding this degree, that qualification, such that people are FORCED to run up HUGE STUDENT LOANS and sacrifice their lives merely to help other corporations make money - the BANKS!

    HOW ABOUT SOME DAMN DECENCY FOR A CHANGE. Next article, no doubt, will be a long whinge about high corporate taxes, hard done-by CEOs, and how we'd all be so much worse off without these money-obsessed individuals who see human beings as mere resources to exploit, who expect the rest of us to live from cradle to grave serving BUSINESS INTERESTS AND THE PROFIT MOTIVE.

    That's all Britain has become - A NASTY LITTLE COUNTRY WITH THOSE AT THE SO-CALLED TOP LECTURING THE REST OF US. The only thing that matters is MONEY, and the lives of CEOs.

    How about if corporations stop exploiting the poor for PROFIT, stop driving people to suicide, and stop lying, stop saying they are helping develop countries, when it's all about theft. How about some DECENCY AND POLITENESS.

    "The Register" needs to stick to computer topics and get out of political commentary. If I want politics, if I want to read abusive comments about people, I'll read a lousy corporate-owned and corporate-controlled newspaper.


    Because corporations control government now and our entire lives - THAT'S WHY! Everything that's human is being destroyed, everything that gives a person the will to live is being taken away.

  70. erhumdm

    Having spent 10 + years in a previous life as an expert tech recruiter, i know a thing or 3 about this game. Made an awful lot of money, but i got bored and became an oxygen thief.

    The reality is that a rec-con has little interest in the applicant - it's just a numbers game. 1placement=2 offers= 5 second interviews. = 10 initial interviews= ...depending how good you are at understanding the tech and cultural skews, anywhere between 10 and 100 CVs sent out. Now my numbers were much better than that, but in the end, the recruiter is looking for both the reason to say No, but is also searching for the veritable needle in a haystack.

    And in these days of over abundant supply, prospective employers have a geat many choices ... Someone who is prepared to pay $250k for a genius has to many potential suitors.

    I think the key point here is ... Dont be an idiot and give people a chance to say No unneccesarily.

  71. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Head-hunters, recruiters eh?


    Who needs them?

    I've always managed to get my jobs via other channels.

    It's not what you know, but who you know.

    It's always been this way.

    As for HR NAZI's, well......

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Credit history?

    For a job application? It may not be hi tech, but it certainly is fucking rude, and in my opinion, an invasion of privacy. Employment != ownership.

    1. Nun of Thee Above

      Rude, huh?

      It's business, not personal. D'Oh!

      I can't recall ever getting a job through a recruiter. However, I did spend over 30 years renting nice little houses to people. Best thing that happened was being able to get quick, comprehensive credit reports.

      A glance told me everything that a person left out of their written and verbal interviews, including how good they were at organizing their life, and what I might expect to see if/when something went wrong with the situation (and even how likely it was that something would go wrong).

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    He's right about agencies being complete liars.

    Been chasing a few jobs myself recently and its always "we'll come back to you tomorrow, next week, waiting for a Manager at the client, etc.

    So what the hell are these buzzwords then?

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think that what people forget here is that this guy is an Agency Recruiter.

    What does that mean? It means his job is to find jobs for other people.

    What does that mean?

    It means he's no different from the bloke behind the desk at the job centre, except this guy has managed to con a bit more money out of the game but is just as big a failure at life and is in all probability an ex-techie who couldn't get a proper job.

    If you want a job in a certain company you make contacts and links with the company by going to shows, fairs, expos, etc or alternatively, find who runs the show in the company and call them and invite them out for a business lunch.

    Have some balls about you.

  75. erhumdm

    Having spent 10 years of a previous life as a relatively successful rec-con in the IT industry I know a thing or 3 about this - but it was too boring and moronic so now I have a new life as an oxygen thief.

    The reality is that a rec-con has little interest in the applicant - it's just a numbers game. 1placement=2 offers= 5 second interviews. = 10 initial interviews= ...depending how good you are at understanding the tech and cultural skews, anywhere between 10 and 100 CVs sent out. Now my numbers were much better than that, but in the end, the recruiter is looking for both the reason to say No, but is also searching for the veritable needle in a haystack.

    And in these days of over abundant supply, prospective employers have a geat many choices ... Someone who is prepared to pay $250k for a genius has to many potential suitors.

    I think the key point here is ... Dont be an idiot and give people a chance to say "No" unneccesarily

  76. MrCheese

    CV Length

    I don't support the short CV idea, I have conform to it but it's recruitment laziness being foisted upon us because we're the one's after the job where in actual fact the team on the paper sift just can't be bothered, my CV maxes two pages and it still doesn't have everything of relevance on it which I'd imagine will cost me a job or two.

    But it appears that no matter how relevant the information on the CV a hirer doesn't want to (or can't be bothered to) look for anything meaningful just some "hire me" marketing fluff and then they wonder why they don't get the best talent.

    The result of any job, including hiring are directly proportional to the effort you put in, even if you think you shouldn't have to.

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Two mobiles are the norm these days for professionals, no?

    I only give out work funded mobile number to recruiters. This mobile is turned off most of the time and I use it only to make out going calls, like conference calls or to order take out. I give out my personal number to work colleagues so they can reach me if they need to. But recruiters and alike, can call my "other" mobile and leave a message which I'll check maybe once a day.

  78. Anonymous Coward

    as a techie and an employer...

    ...this article only demonstrates why i don't use recruiters.

    He bangs on about all the mistakes candidates make in CVs.

    And then goes and puts his foot in his mouth by admitting he knows fuck all about any of the very specific skills he's supposed to be able to find for me.

    Yeah mate. I run a business and I've dealt with enough recruiters to know you're absolutely typical.

    The smartest guy I know at university went on to do a masters at Oxford and PhD somewhere else rather impressive. He couldn't spell to save his life, and his presentation wasn't great, but you won't find a better guy for writing code, especially for really, really difficult engineering applications. Sure, if I am hiring a PA or a technical editor, then I'd expect the CV presentation to be top notch because it's relevant. Would Einstein have written a great CV? He couldn't even comb his hair properly.

    And this twat of a recruiter would overlook him and instead get me some tosser who can spell and probably paid some arts graduate to make them up a swanky CV?

    It sums up exactly why if you run a business you should be hiring people yourself, and not relying in some spiv in a suit who knows nothing about your business and is basically a double-glazing salesman.

  79. Anomalous Cowherd Silver badge

    Lot of hate here

    Dominic, I don't know if you're still reading after 190 comments, but just wanted to say - spot on. Really. On every point.

    And that's coming from a techie who contracted for 10 years (and ran a review site where you could slate your recruitment agent, pissing no small number off until I was done in by the libel laws) and is now the one doing the hiring.

    Your CV is the way in, so you polish that fucker until it sparkles, then do it again. IT requires attention to detail - demonstrate some.

  80. HandleGoesHere

    Track Changes

    I once sent a CV off with track changes turned on, having had my sister review it and add comments etc. Still got a telephone internview, although I still waiting to hear back (interview was in December 209)

    1. Nun of Thee Above

      I seriously hope that you aren't. . .

      putting your age on your CVs, since you are apparently over 1,800 years old! (Maybe you could post a pic of the phone that you used back then :)

  81. This post has been deleted by its author

  82. Melanie Winiger
    Thumb Up

    "Why do you think your religion means you are a great match for my requirement of hardcore C++ skills?"

    LOL!! Classic.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Don't knock it...

      Religion ticks 'diversity' boxes in some organisations, and could guarantee you an interview.

      Various 'disabilities' can also get you guaranteed an interview in a lot of big companies. One of which, techies will be please to hear, is autism :)

  83. unklehomered

    well that was dissapointing

    2 years ago i was made redundant from the consumer finance sector and since then i have been trying to gain the skills to get an IT job, i get frequent call backs from recruitment staff, but never the interview. I was genuinly hopeful this article may help me understand why.

    No, just told me what i already know,l recruitment staff are all &£$*($s. ( i knew that years ago!)

  84. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Common courtesy has disappeared

    It's the ignorance of recruiters that gets me - not in a technical sense but in etiquette. I've taken the trouble to send in my CV by email, phoned up to see if they've received it (using the contact details in the advert) and then been told the recruiter is busy and will call back. 2 days later, still nothing - surely it is common courtesy to acknowledge that I've taken the trouble to apply?

    And recently I've gone for a couple of interviews arranged by recruiters afterwhich I've called them up for some feedback as they suggested that I do - strangely not now returning my calls or emails... More ignorance.

    And it's not just recruiters, HR departments can be just as offhand. When I've recruited people I have always tried to make sure that I let them know that I've received their CV and the action I will be taking.

  85. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Relevant information!!!

    "God do you think I care that you did OS/2 v1.1 in 1989?"

    I work for a well known global manufacturing company and for your information, we are still using this product.

    Now if there is a skill shortage, I know it's your bloody fault, for telling the candidates to remove it from their CV's!!

  86. ahfakopsdfi

    Application forms rather than CVs, but same difference

    If we ask you to complete an application form, that asks you to explain why you are the ideal candidate for the job, please take the trouble to do so - don't cut and paste your entire CV into the box (particularly including your name and other personal details when the instructions ask you to only include such details on the equal ops monitoring part of the form that only HR see). I am not going to read it all the way through to try and see whether you actually match the job description (and even if I did start to, if you're is the 97th application I'm reading I may well miss something, and you won't get an interview even though you are ideally suited)

    If we ask for specific skills, please make a point of mentioning that you do actually have them. I have to score your application against those criteria: if you don't actually mention them HR won't let me give you full credit for them ... even if it's kind of implied in something else you say.

    Please apply for the job we advertised, not the one you want to do.

    If you are going to regurgitate the list of attributes from the person spec in a list that starts "I have the following attributes" at least copy and paste the things correctly. Particularly if we've said "Must be able to work methodically and retain a keen eye for detail" do not say "I work methodiclly and have a kean eye for deatail", 'cos that's not the impression you're giving!

    On the other hand, if you actually read the instructions and the job description and person spec and write your application to make sure that you've mentioned all the things we asked about, you'll probably get an interview!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Application forms are the bane of my life.

      I spend hours crafting my CV, only for some HR bastard to turn around and force me to fill in a damn form, effectively breaking my CV into database fields, so they can apply meaningless word filters to the results and make their lives a tiny bit easier.

      There is only one firm I've ever bothered with one of these forms for, simply because I really wanted to work for them. Any other time I come across a form, I don't even bother.

  87. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'The best known headhunter in finance'

    So this bloke is indirectly responsible for the economic mess we now find ourselves in because he probably recruited the articles that also had a 'lust for cash' and a turbo charged gob but wouldn't know hard work if it came up and slapped them in the face.

    So you don't care I've used and supported all the versions of Windows from 95 onward, no? I think your clients might disagree as it shows that the candidate keeps up to date with changes and is versatile.

    Does it not occur to you that the applicant could be dyslexic or just maybe have a visual impairment? Neither of these may detract from the skill your client is looking for so maybe you should contact them before you throw their CV in the bin.

  88. Werner McGoole
    Thumb Down

    Not much of a recruiter are you?

    I've processed sackloads of CVs in my time, mostly for hard-core coding positions.

    If you have that responsibility you should realise that it's not your job to critique the style of the CV writer. It's your job to hire the best possible employees. If Albert Einstein applied, do you think his CV would stand on a pinnacle above the rest? I rather doubt it.

    The skill you need is to be able to visualise the person behind the CV and their suitability for the job from the information you've been given. If you can't be bothered to read through the longer CVs then you're not exactly a shining example of an employee yourself - because that's what you're being paid to do!

    And what if you do get a job somewhere where a CV gets just a cursory glance? Chances are your colleagues will turn out to be the type who are full of BS with no substance to back it up. Lots of jobs in IT are hard to do and demand staff with real talent. That makes recruiting them pretty demanding too. I hope there are still a few companies around who put the effort in.

  89. Mike Flugennock

    coming from the "other end"...

    While I can totally understand Mr. Connor's gripes, perhaps he'd like a bit of the view from the other end.

    I'm a graphic designer by profession, but since the late '80s, as the tools of my trade moved into the digital realm, I became knowledgeable about computers and networks as part of my work and stayed ahead of the curve through continuous and judicious self-education -- cultivating friendships with programmers, CSS geeks and network engineers and, of course, my daily reading of El Reg.

    As far as how my CV looks, let's just say that being a graphic designer, my CV -- along with containing pertinent info -- needs to look snappy. The CV I send out runs a grand total of a page and a half. I don't over-do on the design, keeping the page bright and white, going easy on the graphics and keeping the typography clean and tasteful. At my last "cubicle job" before I began freelancing, I was the tech coordinator (aka "house geek" in a design shop full of technophobes) as well as one of the team leaders, so I had the privilege -- or misfortune -- of reviewing the resumes of designers applying for positions in the design shop. While most of the CVs were in the form of subtly tasteful letter-size trifolds and such, I still had to evaluate designers' CVs coming in the form of little boxes, tubes and pop-up books, just to name a few. I ended up canning almost all of them because they were just too goddamn' precious for words, and told me a lot about the nature of the designers sending them out.

    The general rule, as I understood it, was that nobody wants to see what I did for more than five years -- ten years, tops. Other things such as the how-to columns I did for "Step-By-Step Design" in the early '90s I place under a separate "Professional Accomplishments And Awards" heading.

    Lying on CVs? As Claude Rains would've said, "I'm shocked -- SHOCKED -- to find that applicants are falsifying their CVs here!" I'm sure I'm not the first person to -- shall we say -- "gussy up" his CV, but I'm glad to say that I've never flat-out lied. Still, I can understand why many people out there do. I've been tempted to myself, in the depths of job-hunting frustration, after reading in the news lately about all the high-profile, big-dollar executive types who were found to have lied massively on their CVs and totally gotten away with it -- at least for a while. What always stops me, though, is those very same news reports stating that said CxO was, in fact, totally busted with falsified CVs and forced to resign in disgrace. Besides, I've managed to pile up enough real, actual achievements in my career that I don't need to lie about stuff -- plus having been taught by my parents about the ethics and morality of lying at a young age.

    The part about inserting buzzwords that would get me an interview, though, kind of stuck in my craw. I can't begin to describe my frustration with Personnel Department boneheads who send along designers' CVs packed to the gills with empty bullshit, but trash perfectly respectable CVs due to the absence of vacuous jargon like "bring to the table", "outside the box", or my personal favorite, "team player". Imho, people who still use the phrase "outside the box" show themselves entirely incapable of actually thinking outside the proverbial box, and should be made to wear an electric sign around their necks flashing the message "I HAVEN'T HAD A SINGLE ORIGINAL THOUGHT IN MY ENTIRE GODDAMN' LIFE."

    I also hate Personnel departments who insist on resumes in Word, even those from graphic design applicants. It's not so much because I can't edit and format something as basic as a resume in Word, but I guess it's because as a graphic designer, the old maxim about how your CV is an advertisement for yourself applies even more -- and when some cubicle drone in a Personnel department demands I send my CV as a Word file, it basically robs me of my chance to show off my chops just a bit -- not that I'd be one of those prima donnas who sends out his CV as a pop-up book (really, I wasn't kidding about that). (For the record, I lay out my CV in InDesign and export it to a lean'n'mean inkjet-quality pdf)

    I can totally dig Connor's frustration with poorly-written CVs, though. I don't know if it's really gotten that bad or if the wide availability of the Internet just makes it seem that way, but I've lost track of how many Web sites and blogs are polluted by the writing of people who don't know the difference between "there", "their", and "they're", the difference between "its" and "it's", who write "would of" when they mean "would have"...I won't list it all here. It's as if all those boneheads from back in school who were flunking English class have all reappeared and are writing blogs whose copy is full of these mistakes and makes me want to gouge my eyes out, especially when the authors are native English speakers. Seriously, man; it's not nitpicking, it's basic communication skills in your _native_language_, f'cripesake.

    I'd go Connor one better in this regard: have someone else copyproof your CV, no matter what your native language is. One thing I learned from working on newspapers in high school and college -- and, professionally, at ad agencies -- is that you can never proof your own copy; you're always going to miss errors because you know what the copy is supposed to say.

  90. Nick Pettefar


    Excellent advice. Thank you very much for bringing a bit of sanity to the real world. My how the truth hurts the twits!


  91. Anonymous Coward

    What to do with this CV?

    His grammar and punctuation are not good. He misuses words like "algorithm" which matters in a technical environment, but would be popular in marketing.

    On the other hand, he obviously likes to tell it how it is --- or, maybe, to scream at people. That gets the attention, but it also rings alarm bells.

    OK... middle of the pile.

  92. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I employ people

    I am in the minority

    You are a potential employee

    You are one of thousands

    Sell yourself or get sidelined.

    That, in a nutshell, is the situation - like it, or stay mediocre

  93. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sales Droids!!!!

    I work in Sales and am a damn good salesman. That means better than my peers at the company I work in.

    Sales people are the ones who drive the business, who get the work, which drives the profits. Recruiters can sit in their warm comfortable offices all day whilst sales are out in the field hustling and creating the wealth.

    DON'T call me a bloody droid you sonofabitch - I work hard and am good at what I do.

  94. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To paraphrase Omar from the wire...

    Connor sure know how to bring it outta people don' he.

  95. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    kill the HR/Beancounter

    If you dont understand why C++ is good you are recruiting for the wrong job.

    On the other hand, this person seems to be the kind that would like Barney Stinson's CV (How I met your mother)

    Kill them, kill them all lest the evil persists!

  96. flashww

    not hard to find, why waste time someone that doesn't care

    I'm Dominic Connor, a pimp for quants. I may be found at as DCFC. People trying to sell me something use the more polite version of Headhunter in Global Financial Markets, but when I had a real job I called HH's pimps, so I see no reason to change now. Previously I ran an IT department for a fixed income brokerage in the City, have been a C++ programmer, Excel jockey, and my first real paid employment was devising the method by which you can electroplate gold to stick to Teflon. I'm a CQF alumnus, and together with Paul Wilmott am a director of the cunningly named "Paul & Dominic Ltd", and the even more cunningly named Cunning Software. Apparently that order of the P&D names was my idea, over a rather nice French meal at Le Café du Marche, witnessed by Paul's model wife and mine who's a lawyer. A good restaurant, but where it says you may have problems finding "this little gem", believe them.

    Our idea is that you can do quant recruitment better if you don't think that "Mean Reversion" is a Clint Eastwood film, or that "Iterators" are the evil creatures from Stargate SG1. End of plug.

    In case you care, I'm older than you, have two boys just starting at school and live in Buckhurst Hill. You don't know where BH is. No one does. Even people who've lived in London 40 years don't. We like it that way. Keeps out riff raff.

  97. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "You don't know where BH is. No one does."

    Oh but I do.

    But I'll never tell.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like