Curriculum Vitae

I've recently been trying to rewrite my résumé, and making some decisions on contents and aesthetics has been quite challenging. There aren't many answers in this post, just musings and questions. I'm already resolved to the fact that there is no all-purpose résumé and I'm fairly resolved to the idea that most conventional wisdom in this area is unhelpful. I think I can get away with three fairly generic templates which can be tweaked for a specific role:

  • Technical
  • Writing
  • Analytical

These sum up broadly the fields I'm likely to apply for in the foreseeable future. They are pretty broad though. The difficulty comes in presenting the relevant data. I have a pretty good idea of what my work history and qualifications are - it's the superfluous information that causes a bit of a headache. What interests can I divulge at this stage to attempt to improve my appeal when a recruiter is selecting interview prospects?

It's a simple truth that a résumé doesn't win you a job. It wins you an interview and some things are more appropriately disclosed at the first stage than others. The manager of a team of software developers is less likely to be interested in your volunteer work for a local charity than someone who is recruiting their new personal assistant. Your hobbies and interests may become relevant in an interview but a more narrow focus is required to display your competence and suitability for the role.

An issue also arises in that a recruiter is probably reading through hundreds of résumés. It has to be one of the most boring tasks in creation. The quicker that person can get a grasp of your awesomeness the better for them and therefore for you. I strongly believe that the shorter a résumé can be while containing all the relevant information the better it is. The pitfall is of course in coming across as too cold and impersonal.

A technical résumé is the one that will be the least personal. I need to include more detail on the minutiae of the various jobs I've had and certifications and qualifications that would not be particularly useful for other roles. A writing résumé on the other hand needs to be easier to read and more approachable, even a little more intimate in that it has to display a clear flair for communication, even if it's for technical documentation. Clearly I can include a little more of my hobbies in this one, and it can probably afford to have a slightly higher word count.

I'm also considering writing something of an online résumé. Something impersonal enough to be publicly accessible, which would likely be some work history details and a little on writing goals and where I want to go professionally. That's another kettle of fish altogether.