Common mistakes juniors make in their CV

09 May 2016

I was recently invited to a job fair organised by MichaƂ Makaruk from szkolenierails.pl where I gave a talk about Paladin Software, the company I work for. After the presentation, some attendees asked me to review their CVs. These discussions inspired me to put together a few points regarding how (not) to present your resume as a junior tech employee or industry hopeful.

It's too long

If you've got a 2-page CV when you are a junior, you are doing something wrong. It's usually the result of other mistakes I've listed below.

Positions not connected with IT

Recruiters spend an average of six seconds on each resume. Don't waste their time! If you've worked in companies that are not related with IT, I recommend you remove them. Some say that it's good to have such positions in your CV because it shows you have some kind of experience. I disagree. In my opinion, it only adds volume to your CV without adding much substance and distracts a recruiter from more significant points.

Here are the gems I know...

Nearly every person I spoke to had listed gems they know. As a recruiter, I don't care what gems you know... What's more, bragging about knowing the documentation of a gem is just silly :P. Instead of simply listing gems you know, include them when describing specific project you worked on.

Lack of projects

In my opinion, a clear list of projects you've worked on is the most crucial section of your CV, yet it was the least common among those I talked to. Only two guys had listed their simple, CRUD, "blog like" projects. Nope, that is a dead end. To make the best possible impression on your future employer you need some projects in your resume, and it would be best if those were commercial, because people tend to bend the requirements of a project when they don't know how to fix an error ;).

I understand that you might be scared to bite off more than you can chew, but taking on a serious project is worth a try. Take a look at a freelance portal or a local RoR community board and search for your first project. Don't be discouraged if you don't know how to implement every feature your client needs, because you can always find help or consult the requirements spec with someone more experienced. Of course you won't earn as much as you would normally, but it's a good price for the learning experience.

Summary

I hope this advice will help you to score your first junior position. Let me know how you liked it and share your thoughts in the comments below!