Suppose your project is over and you are looking for a new one. One that will surpass the previous and make you feel in your element. It doesn’t take too long and the offer is on the table. How to succeed among other competitors? It starts with a high-quality resume, something you often can’t do without. A CV that is interesting and properly composed is not a relic, on the contrary, it is a sign of seniority and professionalism. Let’s take a look at how to draw up such a high quality CV, so that you can become the first candidate to be invited for an interview in your dream job.
A high quality template is half the job
Let’s start from scratch. In order to show yourself in the best possible light, find a suitable template for a structured CV, one that will be appealing. HR managers and employers are interested in whether you will fit into their existing team and the CV is your first chance to show what you are looking for and what you like. Thanks to your CV, they can quickly evaluate whether you are a suitable candidate, so better take good care of it. To make your work a little easier, we have prepared an editable template for you to start with.
Write like wildfire, but make it reasonable
Before we go into the individual parts of an ideal CV in detail, let’s remind ourselves of the basic rule: No one has time for long stories today. The key is a structured CV. Still, be aware of excessive brevity and go into detail where appropriate. If you want to disclose where you worked before, what your job was and what technology you used, go ahead. But avoid long sentences, leave out the cranky, archaic words or phrases, they have no place here. Write briefly and comprehensibly, organize information in points or in short well-designed paragraphs (one paragraph should ideally consist of around 3-6 sentences or points). If some of the information in the text is important, you can write it in bold to highlight it. The total length of the CV should be up to 2 A4-size pages. Show that you can choose the essentials and always think about the well-arranged graphic design, so that the whole CV looks clear.
Start very simply: with personal data. Name, city (ideally the one you actually live in, not where you grew up with your parents), phone (in the format with the international area code, i.e. +420 for the Czech Republic) and e-mail (but not the one you set up at the age of 13 with the name of your favourite comic book hero). Indicating the date of birth, exact address and marital status is entirely up to you, but be sure that this is the data employers should not be interested in when making decisions.
Just a few sentences that describe you. Don’t forget that you make your first impression with this short description in a few sentences. Try answering the following questions in your introduction:
- Who are you?
- What do you enjoy?
- What do you do?
- What are your goals?
- Is there a field or activity that attracts you and you’d like to learn?
Don’t forget to highlight your best quality or skill and describe it directly using an example. If you are a team player, explain where you used your team spirit the best when you worked in an international team. If, on the other hand, you prefer to work in a smaller team, don’t be afraid to say that you like a team where you know each other well and can rely on each other, such as in your last job.
Let your future colleagues get to know you better and reveal something from your personal life. Mention what you enjoy in your free time, what you do or whether you have any personal achievements with your hobbies. Marathon as well as stargazing count!
If you are a tester, you can write the introductory performance in this spirit: “I fulfil my dream and make a living as a manual tester. I have experience in the financial sector and I would like to support my knowledge with certifications. I have experience in planning testing, creating testing strategies and leading a smaller team of testers. My goal is to become a Test Leader. I enjoy squash and good coffee on my time off.”
As a developer, you can easily show which technologies you like the most, e.g.: “I am a positive-minded IT enthusiast, mainly into Java, but I am also interested in Python, AI and developing in React. I enjoy the full-stack developer journey. I would like to develop a meaningful product in a small team using real-time libraries or artificial intelligence. Outside of work, I like to climb rocks and organize scout camps for children.”
Don’t forget to attach your photo to the header, the HR specialist will be happy to connect specific information with your face. When choosing a suitable photo, do not forget about the neutral background and make sure your face is clearly visible. Photos from parties or those with sunglasses at the pool or mountains are good for social media, not here.
Sell your work experience
Your work experience is the most important item in the entire CV, so make a real effort here with the list and description. Consider which jobs are worth pointing out and which will help you in getting a new one. For example, if you worked as a waiter during your studies or stood at the reception at the hotel, you can easily skip these jobs. Someone has a lot of experience and if they wrote it all down in their CV, it would take up several pages… but this is not your goal. If you have a lot of experience, focus on the essentials. The ones where you were proud of your work. The others should be mentioned in a nutshell, but do not leave them out. Do not be afraid to say that you finished some jobs in the trial period, you can discuss the details at the interview.
How to correctly fill in your work experience?
For each employer, indicate:
- Year and month when you started and finished
- The exact job title and a brief description of the position
- What were you responsible for?
- What did you do?
- What tools, programming languages, technologies did you use? (Remember to ALWAYS give the exact name of the technology and its level.)
- What have you learned?
- What was the result of your work?
Sort the work experience chronologically in a sequence, start with the latest one and put the oldest ones at the end. Positions should also be linked to each other. If the period between two positions is too long, prepare to be asked about this ‘gap’ at the interview. To avoid questioning why you were looking for a new project for such a long time, you can state ‘vacation, travel’ in your CV to mention the reason why there is a longer break between two projects. This will clarify everything from the start and no one will need to ask you questions. Also, avoid internal abbreviations, because not everyone can be familiar with them. And if the company is small, it is good to briefly mention what it does.
If you have worked as a tester, developer, analyst, or just want to be inspired what a job description can look like, your work experience can look like the following:
Test Analyst, Major Bank a.s. (1/2019 - present)
- Leading a team of 3, support and mentoring of testers
- Creating a test plan, reporting, designing a test strategy
- Creating test cases for other QA - test analysis and design
- Creation of test data, performing SIT & UAT, defect reporting
- Business and development support
- Technologies: Jira, Postman, HP QC, SQL, SOAP UI, Wireshark
IT Development Co.
Senior Java Developer
March 2021 - present (10 months), Brno
- Designing a completely new cloud infrastructure in AWS and Kubernetes
- Development of an internal test of the framework with a focus on cloud platforms
- Development of full stack back office applications and other support tools
- Technologies: Spring Boot, Spring Cloud, React, Kotlin
Life is IT Ltd.
April 2022 - present
- Business analysis for the customer outgoing payment system (OPS)
- Validation of solutions with suppliers of individual systems for system integration (CZ, SK, UK)
- Revision of functional specification, WS mapping check (Postman, SoapUI)
- Technical and development documentation - Word, Excel, JIRA, Confluence
Senior Backend Engineer, Tech Lead @ IT Lovers
12/2016 - 06/2018, Praha
Development of backend systems for Mastercard solutions. Redesign of an old monolithic application and creation of a new modern microservices architecture based on Spring Boot and Spring Cloud (Eureka, Zuul, Hystrix, Ribbon, ...). My other responsibility in the project was to plan, manage releases, and optimize development workflows (PCI-DSS compatible solutions from GIT repositories) to achieve better efficiency and minimize human error. In-depth knowledge of Spring Framework, Java 8, Docker, GIT, Atlassian technologies (Bamboo, Jira, Bitbucket, Confluence), and AWS was required.
Education that has shaped you
Education really matters, so don’t forget it. Indicate always only the completed education or the one in progress. Begin with the highest level achieved and continue below. Skip elementary school, no worries about it. For school, state the year of commencement of study only after its completion, continue with the field, title, or name of your final thesis, which may be of interest to some HR managers. Believe that your future employer will be most interested in your experience, so do not be afraid to put the education at the very end in the structure of your CV.
Courses, certificates, hackathons, your own projects
Especially in IT professions, your participation in a hackathon will really stand out, and be sure that at the interview you will probably talk about it. Show what you do beyond the scope of your work. Indicate the institution which provided your supplementary education, year when you applied, length of the course and whether it was completed, for example, with a certificate (do not be afraid to include the courses completed without any exam, the point here is to show that you like to learn, not how many papers you have posted on the wall).
In the IT field, it is typical that many specialists have tried to work on their own project. And if it’s not ultra-secret and you like to brag about it, tell the world about it. Show what the project was dedicated to and what successes you have achieved with it. Proactivity beyond the regular work routine is often the most valuable asset. You can also include a link to your personal website, professional work, GIT, GITLab, GITHUb, or other links to present or show your codes.
Language here, language there
Don’t forget your language skills. Indicate the level you can actually communicate at, so that it is clear in advance whether you can work with colleagues from foreign countries. Choose one of the standardized levels: complete beginner (A1), beginner (A2), moderately advanced (B1), intermediate (B2), advanced (C1), expert (C2). It’s really worth not to lie here, believe us that languages are very easy to verify right at the interview using a simple sentence: “Can we switch to English?” And if you attend a language school, mention it. Each plus point counts.