In part two of this series, I discussed the technical know how I think will help get you your next PHP job. This part will discuss writing your Curriculum Vitae(CV, resume, etc.). There are a lot of contrasting opinions on this subject, I'll make a few points, give you some further reading and you can adapt the opinions in to a top notch CV of your own. I'm no major expert and most of the recruitment I have been involved in has been for trainee developers, but these positions attract a high number of CVs, so I've seen a fair few.
Your CV does not get you a job
Your CV gets you an interview, your performance in the interview gets you a job. Your CV is a right of passage, this stage is used to filter out the wrong candidates.
Your CV should evolve like you
You should be continually evolving and improving yourself, your CV should continually evolve with you. I can't see any reason why any two companies should see the same version of your CV. Every time you apply for a position, you CV should be tailored to suit the position. Cut out anything you think will not interest your prospective employer, embellish on what will interest them. You come across as a better candidate and you don't waste their time.
Don't stuff your CV with keywords/acronyms
Skills: PHP4/5, SOAP, XML, XSLT, JSON, AJAX, (X)HTML, CSS, RoR, MySQL, SEO, WAI, WCAG, MVC, XML-RPC....
These kinds of lists are great for getting your CV past an agency recruiter, but the actual employers would rather see a reasonable description of how you used 5 of those technologies. I try to briefly describe what I did and why I used those methods/skills/technologies.
.. Overcame performance issues due to large volumes of data by including caching, AJAX and moving some business logic to database triggers and stored procedures. (LAMP)
Besides, if you're good, they'll hire you and expect you to quickly learn the skills, technologies and methods they use.
Formatting and Proof Reading
I like CVs short, they take less time to read. One page is good, any more than two is bad. Keep it simple, spell check it, grammar check it, get people smarter than you to proof read it. Speaking of which, here's my current offering, although it still needs a lot of work. I intend to try switching to plain text, ala Stevey, plus I recently got promoted so I've more work history to add. Comments appreciated.
- Manager Tools - Resume podcast
- Manager Tools - Sample Resume
- Steve Yegge on CVs
- Joel Spolsky - Getting your resume read
- Joel Spolsky - Sorting Resumes
- BCS CV Clinic