What to pay attention to and what to absolutely avoid.

It is a common misconception that an IT specialist will find a job everywhere. According to GUS (Polish General Statistic Office), 45 per cent of large companies find it hard to employ IT specialists. Any preparations or intentions to change jobs should begin with refreshing your CV. What should find its way into an IT specialist’s curriculum vitae?

According to research carried out by GUS in 2013, 45% of large companies (of more than 250 employees) have trouble hiring IT specialists.

The worst situation is in the Mazovian region where 13% of companies encounter recruitment problems. Lower Silesian (12%) and the Pomeranian (9%) regions are slightly better in that regard. The best situation is in the Świętokrzystkie regions, where only 4 companies in 100 are troubled by this problem.

We can identify a few IT industry, CV writing tricks, which will make the document a gold mine of information about an applicant’s skills. We can also list a number of mistakes, which can affect the recruitment process – says Marta Zerka, HR Specialist in Hicron, an IT company.

 

What should find its way onto the CV?

A CV is a statement of a set of skills and experience that enables the employer to learn about an applicant’s professional history. Its aim is to present their educational development and achievements in such way that it would encourage the employer to invite them to interview.  Hence, it is worthwhile to pay attention; both to the substance and visual side of the CV.

In the IT industry the most important information for the employer is applicant’s knowledge of systems and technologies as well as programming languages. This information should be presented directly below the education and professional experience sections.

It is worthwhile making a brief comment on each skill: communicating the level of knowledge. It’s a good idea to present this section in a graphical form or describe the level of knowledge of a particular program on a 1-10 score scale – says Marta Zerka.

It is also well received if the CV contains information about any additional profession-related projects. Private blogs, maybe participation in an industry forum show or anything to suggest that IT is also a hobby can show the applicant in a better light. A few-sentences description of the candidate, a so-called “professional summary”, is a good place to present an applicant’s aspirations and assets. Concrete, professional goals might draw the recruiter’s attention. It works especially well in cases of students and graduates with little professional experience.

Workshops, courses and certificates

A list of noteworthy certificates, courses and training present in the CV constitutes important information for the employer. Each end every “paper” of such sort indicates acquired knowledge, but more importantly, signifies the need to possibly raise your own qualifications. Experience in training delivery is an additional asset since it suggests high specialisation and the “soft” skills level of the applicant.

The CV should not be too long. Normally it should not exceed two pages. However, if we have more concrete achievements that you would like to show the recruiter, you can add a link to the web page or professional profile in a LinkedIn-type portal. A web page should be a business card for the developer: it is worthwhile spending enough time to polish it to perfection.

Social media specialising in professional contacts enable a broader description of professional experience. They also facilitate its users to receive virtual recommendations from companies, co-workers and customers alike – says Dorota Pisula, Head of the Career Bureau of Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań. It’s crucial to remember that not every employer benefits from the ability to extend the applicant’s information, so the details on the CV should not be too brief – she adds.

 

And what is often missing from a CV?

Statements that are too broad often appear on CVs, but they do not provide the recruiter with information about knowledge level. Always list technologies that you have worked with in your career and provide the level of proficiency. Crucially, remain concise. Long descriptions might look unprofessional.

Applicants rarely write about their professional achievements, like applications they have written: you should mention that and, for instance, place a link to the app. A prospective boss will be happy to estimate an applicant’s skills basing on their work.

Listing skills you do not possess is totally futile. Once the employer realises that, you can most likely forget about progressing further along the application route. It is better to write less, but write honestly. Inaccuracies often arise when it comes to languages. Present the language knowledge level from the industry perspective. Fluency in informal communication does not mean you will have no problems in talking to a foreign programmer.

 

Why do applicants lie?

Broadly speaking, there are two main reasons for lies on CVs: protection or improvement of self-esteem, and the fact that liars have a greater chance of winning than other applicants (provided that the lie won’t come out) – says Dr Jarosław Polak, from the Faculty of Psychology of Work and Organisation of the Silesian University, psychotherapist. The inclination to lie certainly rises when the stakes are high, meaning when the number of job offers decreases.

Programmers rarely place information about hobbies on their CV. It is worth mentioning those though, especially those unusual, less common ones. It will make the CV stand out and provide an additional subject for conversation.

During the interview there are many subjects to talk about and the recruiter might not make it to the subject of hobbies at all. However, it might happen that they enjoy similar things, which will subconsciously make them look at the candidate more favourably.

Finally, one should remember that the CV should reach the HR department in a non-editable format, for instance, as a PDF file. Even the most beautiful document will lose a lot of its look if the formatting will vanish or morph on another machine.