Common CV mistakes in IT recruitment


Based on hundreds of CVs I have scanned throughout my developer hiring career I fully agree that a good CV is a key to success! The purpose of a CV is to provide a recruiter with as much relevant information as necessary in the most approachable and cohesive manner. This is not always the case though. I have noticed a number of mistakes on CVs that in the case of some companies may spoil the chances of even the best man for the job. Here, at GOYELLO, we try not to be so strict and not jump at conclusions too hastily.

cv1_pic1. Software developers include lengthy lists of skills that are not fully acquired or without explaining the levels they are at. They write long lines with various technologies that are not even required for the job. What is worse, when it comes to the interview it often turns out that the applicant has merely skin-deep knowledge of the subject or in the worst case none. They “pimp” their Cvs hoping to get away with it. Very naïve. Isn’t that the purpose of a successful interview to assess the abilities and uncover whatever hidden to make sure we found a perfect match?

2. On the other hand, if the applicant actually has a very broad set of skills they seldom highlight the most relevant ones so they stand out from the crowd to be noticeable for the recruiter.

3. CVs contain irrelevant job experience and skills or are cluttered with too many “petty” projects. Why do I need to see a list of all duties the candidate performed as a bank clerk while he is applying for a designer’s position? I would rather expect to see a link to a decent portfolio instead. I understand that if this data wasn’t there it would create a gap in the resume. But why not spare the recruiter all the unnecessary details and keep the employment history to the minimum when the past experience is of little importance?

4. Too long and elaborate resumes written in a narrative and very descriptive way. Some developers describe the projects they worked on in an extremely detailed way, presenting the stages of the projects, the clients’ requirements,  the goal of the product etc. Since recruiters need to scan huge amounts of CVs we really appreciate bullet listing and sticking to the point instead of rambling. What we need to know is simply what kind of software they were building and the applied technologies. Once I received a CV of a very senior developer containing 14 pages with the table of contents for the HR people not to get lost.

5. CVs are not precise enough regarding the dates and months. People responsible for hiring usually need to know the amount of experience in the particular technology. Consequently, presenting the employment history including only years doesn’t speak to me. 2007-2008 .NET developer for X company. At first glance, it tricks the recruiter into assuming that the candidate worked there for a year. But what if they started in November 2007 and left in February 2008? This would mean only over 3 months of experience. So faulty assumptions may lead to serious miscalculations and give a false picture of the situation. Months are equally important for us!

6. CVs without a clear profile. Sometimes people apply for all the current vacancies that they find on our website and do not attach cover letters. While reading their CVs you cannot really tell what their profile is. What they are aiming for in life. What their ambitions are. It looks like they are willing to do anything without any specific preferences. Why should an employer value mediocre minds? Do we need people who have difficulty defining their own goals? Also tailoring the CV to the specific role shows how seriously the applicant treats the recruitment process.

These are the most common mistakes I have come across in my career. Did I miss anything? What mistakes have you found that made you put a CV on a “maybe pile’?