There is a lot of information out there about what you should or should not include in your CV. We have screened several thousand CVs and here are a couple of tips we can offer if you are looking to improve your application.
Disclaimer: this is the opinion of the Nordigen Talent Acquisition Team and in no way the highest truth.
Should I add my picture to the CV?
Short answer: no.
Why? Humans are biased and get a solid first impression of a person in a couple of seconds. By adding a photo to your CV, those precious seconds will be spent looking at your photo instead of the content. Here at Nordigen, we use software for recruitment, but the CV screening is done by real humans. The purpose of your CV is to reflect your personality, skills, previous experience, and passions and a photo definitely does not serve this purpose. So stick to the good old textual content and avoid the risk of getting a wrong, superficial impression of yourself.
How much personal information should be included?
Short answer: as little as possible.
Why? Everything else - birth date, gender, marital status and the number of kids you have - is unnecessary. You are giving away personal information that is actually your responsibility to safeguard. We are GDPR compliant, but that does not mean you should share everything about yourself. This information does not say anything about your professionalism and ability to be good at your job. Include only what is necessary to reach you - email, phone number and country of residence. Also, be sure to add LinkedIn, GitHub and links to other relevant sites, e.g. a portfolio. We can't wait to get to know you personally but the CV screening is us getting to know you professionally, so the right person gets the right job!
How do you describe your experience?
Short answer: briefly and concisely.
Why? Mention only what matters, use specific and correct keywords so we can gain an accurate understanding of your skillset. No need to water it down. Add any volunteering and other professional experience you have, even if it wasn’t a “paid job”. You can gain valuable skills by doing a lot of things - be sure to show your best self.
What to do with gaps in your resume?
Short answer: absolutely nothing.
Why? You might have noticed discussion here and there about gaps. Nobody cares about gaps. What you include and in what way is more important than a year or two of silence. We get that life happens, we get that kids and other commitments happen - you are human and we are human, so do not waste a second worrying about a gap in your CV.
Should I customize my CV for every position I apply for?
Short answer: great, but not mandatory.
Why? We will always be looking for the experience that is relevant, even if you have made it a bit harder with a “potentially irrelevant” experience. And remember that a CV shouldn’t include everything that you have ever done - stick to the most recent and valuable experiences. Furthermore, the length of your CV shouldn't be equivalent to an essay - minimize it to 1-2 pages.
In what format should I submit the CV?
Short answer: PDF, PDF and one more time (say it with me) PDF.
Why? Computers, software and programs on them can differ. Why bother worrying about whether someone on the other side will be able to open .doc, .docx, .ppt etc. if you can just use the international currency of PDF. A great and easy option is to download your LinkedIn profile content in PDF - it has a great structure and all the relevant information.
Do design and structure matter?
Short answer: it should be easy to perceive.
Why? We think this makes sense without further explanation. If you cannot understand whether your CV is well structured - ask your friends or family to have a look. Always start with the most relevant and recent job experience. Add what you have done recently, followed by the education (formal/informal) and so on. There are a lot of free tools out there, for example, Canva.com (not a paid collaboration) where you can use the provided templates - pleasant design with the added bonus of instructing you on the structure
Should I apply even if I think I am not qualified?
Short answer: yes.
Why? The thing is that - you might not get invited to an interview, but you’ll become more visible to the recruiters and hiring managers and possibly be invited to interview for a different position. You’ll be in the company’s database (if you consent) and will receive updates about new positions that might be more suitable for you. Even if you are not qualified or experienced enough at the moment, your skills might be noticed later on when you will have gained more experience.
We really do our best and spend more than 11 seconds (another legend looming in social media) evaluating your application. But, as it is with our interview process, this is also a two-way street. If you give us a helping hand, we will really appreciate it and you will increase your chances of being invited to the interview.