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CV Tips

  1. The 10-Second Rule - You've got 10-seconds to make a good first impression​. All critical keywords for the position must be on the first page, and clearly visible to the reader. Consider what is important to the employer and make sure that it is on page one. In 2012, 'BeHiring' carried out a research project which found that the average time a recruiter spends reading a CV is 5- to 7-seconds. This research was repeated by 'TheLadders' and the newspaper 'The Telegraph' in 2014, and the average time spent reading a résumé came in at a staggering 6.25 seconds. Everything needed to get an interview, also known as your relevance quotient, must be visible within the first 10-seconds of looking at your CV. 
  2. Your CV Is Your Marketing Flyer - Look for particular points of interest and relevance.  Your CV needs to get you an interview and is essentially nothing more than an "elevator pitch" on paper. 
  3. Mention Your Top Technologies First  - Another no-go is naming every single technology you've worked with. As an extreme example, there is absolutely no need to mention Microsoft Office. There are several ways you can do it. Choose to either group your skills and technologies into categories, and make an expanded list. Alternatively, list your core skills and technologies with a self-rating, and how well you've mastered them.  
  4. Honesty Is The Only Policy - Do not lie about your skills. A positive spin and self-promotion are to be expected, but lying is taking it a step too far. This may seem obvious, but the "spin doctor" can often get a bit out of control when writing a CV. This is especially true if the candidate is applying to developer and software jobs in Berlin from abroad. Make sure that all your skills are accurately represented. A skilled interviewer will quickly recognize and inconsistencies.
  5. Ask For Help From An Expert - Talk To Caissa! - Professional help from a recruiter specializing in your field gives you the best chance at landing a job that’s perfect for you. We evaluate all your personal strengths & preferences, forming a partnership that allows us to deliver a complete recruitment service. 
  6. Do Not Lie About Your Location - If an applicant puts “Berlin” as his or her location, while at the same time citing a phone number that suggests a different country (perhaps outside of the EU), a few questions arise - Why is the applicant lying about their location, and what else could he or she possibly be hiding? 
  7. Keep It Simple & Relevant - Keep the design simple. Say no to putting each section into a separate box. Draw the hiring manager's attention to the text, not to the frame that surrounds it. Guarantee that the most relevant info is on the first page of your CV. Focus on relevant jobs only - don't include your odd jobs. For example, if you worked as a barista in a cafe for 3-months last summer, leave it out. If the company has something to do with coffee, you can mention it in the "Interests" section at the end. 
  8. Cite Examples Of Your Skills In Action - Your CV must have examples of each of your skills, as well as how, when, and in what context you used them, and to what effect. 
  9. Avoid Self-Flattery & Convoluted Language - Keep titles & language conservative. Avoid high-flying words and fancy titles. Don't call yourself a 'rockstar,' 'ninja,' or 'guru.' Do not say that you are an expert or a specialist unless you can back it by numbers and experience. Professionals get paid, and have proven track records.
  10. Concise Job Role Summaries Only - Three to four bullet points per role is perfect. Go for either a few bullets or a single paragraph of text covering each job summary.  This normally includes your major tasks and responsibilities, and also key results. Put all the extra information on the last page. Keep sentences brief (seriously - avoid long sentences) and don’t list every single tool you have worked with (or every single project you’ve done. Start sentences with action verbs to get points across quickly. 
  11. CV Length & Job History - Ask yourself, "How will it help me get an interview for the position 'Y' with the company 'Z'?" before adding the job to your history. Three pages is the maximum length for a CV, while one is normally too little. Don't list more than 15-years of job history at the most.
  12. Europass CV Formatting - The 'Europass CV' format for engineers & developers in Berlin, Germany, is extremely ineffective and antiquated. When it comes to showcasing your skills, a 'Europass CV' prioritizes breadth over depth, resulting in something that is far too long, difficult to read, and hard to interpret. It's one of the most difficult formats to showcase talent, and especially hard to work with if you have a broad skill set. Avoid it at all costs.  
  13. Photographs And Your CV - No client of ours has ever rejected a CV because the application didn’t have a photo. We at Caissa do not believe this is necessary, although, culturally, German companies will receive CVs that do have photos. Ultimately, it is a personal choice.  
  14. Creative And Design Lead CVs (Like Canva Or Etsy)  - We recommend using a simple CV structure, so your skillset as a developer or engineer is the first thing people see.  Unless you are a UX/UI designer, a simple template will be better. If you are a frontend developer with UX experience, a good layout, and some flair is expected from your résumé. Just don't overdo it :) Also, don't use inspirational quotes. They serve no purpose, are distracting, and can be easily misinterpreted. 
  15. Customize Your CV For Each Job - Edit your CV for different job applications to increase your chances. Don’t list all your experience, include only what’s relevant for this particular job.

Example CV for Developers & Engineers in Berlin, Germany  

Put both your employment history and core tech skills & technologies at the very beginning of a CV. Present your profile in a concise, factual, accurate, and positive manner. Make sure you've got a snapshot of your best professional attributes, instead of an extended list of skills. Contact details must be present, as well as an overview of the tech skills used at each employer. 

Job History & The Value of Presentation

Employment history should always start at the most recent, and make sure that you've got links to all your professional profiles, and perhaps your personal website or portfolio. Spell and grammar check everything. Typos and simple grammatical errors are a key early warning sign for potential employers. If you didn't bother to check your CV before sending it, perhaps you're not that into the job? The way that you choose present yourself makes an impact across all avenues from typesetting to your covering letter’s style, and the layout of your CV – it all matters. 

Accuracy, Transparency & Other Info

Ensure all information is present and correct. This includes detailed info concerning your previous roles with exact dates. Listing years alone won’t do. Education and languages must be there, with hobbies finally heading up the end of the CV. Certain candidates will need an additional 'Other' section to close. All this requires is the title, the core technologies used, and a link to an example or sample project. Let's say you're applying for a React.js Developer position and wish to mention your personal iOS project to show you're interested in different technologies – list and link to it the 'Other' or 'Other Experience' section. Always keep it brief in this closing area. There no need for extensive detail here.

How to Get A Developer Job in Berlin: Appendix

Part 1: Job Preparation - What to do before applying

Part 2: How to Effectively Work With Recruiters

Part 3: CV Writing Tips for Developers

Part 4:Interview Tips: Everything You Need To Know

Part 5: Analyse a Job Offer: Accept or Reject?

Part 6Handing In Your Resignation

Want us to review your CV?

  • Get in touch via our Contact Page with questions or to tell us what you're looking for. 
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CV Tips & Examples for Developers & Software Engineers (Part Four Of Caissa's How To Get A Job Guide)