When applying for a job

The Kernel ran an interesting piece on the state of the tech recruitment industry last week; one post highlighted some of the more questionable practices of recruiters. One of these ‘scams’ was adjusting candidates CVs which they shouldn’t do without getting the candidates permission, but I can understand why they might.  I’ve spent a good portion of time over the last two weeks going over the applications for our open positions at Knowsis. The hiring process is not something I enjoy and something that could have be made easier by the candidates thinking a bit for themselves.

If you’re applying for jobs, especially those of you who are just about to graduate, I’d suggest you make sure you think about the following:

1. Filenames

Don’t call it cv.pdf (or resume.doc) – you are asking for it to get lost/overwritten at the first step in the process. You may only have one CV on your computer but your prospective employer has hundreds of them on theirs.

Make sure at the very least, the filename contains your full name and even better the position you’re applying for.

2. Covering Note

Include one. Tell the employer why you want to work for them, how you found the job,  it will make you stand out. You’ll look less like someone who couldn’t be bothered and just fired off their standard CV that they send to everyone.

Make sure the covering letter is part of the same file as your CV. Having it as a separate file or only in the original email means it may get misplaced, forgotten about or ignored.

3. Tailor the CV for the job

As above, if you want to stand out make it look less like a standard CV that you send to everyone and more applicable for the position you are applying for.  Make sure the most relevant information that the employer mentioned in the job description is highlighted.

4. Length

Dont make your CV too long. Two or three pages should be enough to get the message across. If you have gone over remove the things that aren’t necessary or less interesting. Don’t make the prospective employer sift through all of your summer jobs since you were 16, if they aren’t relevant leave them out. Some other points:

  • Don’t use massive fonts.
  • Don’t use excessive line spacing, gutters and margins
  • Don’t include a photo that takes up 1/4 of a page

5. Add a Footer

Add a page number and your name to the bottom of every page. That way, if a page gets misplaced it’s easier to spot and doesn’t look like you disappeared without a trace for 10 years. It also means if a random page is found it’s easier to know where it came from without having to try and match up based on the formatting.

6. Hobbies

Unless it’s wholly relevant to the job, leave out the interests section. I honestly doubt that there are any employers would be sold on your penchant for ferret racing or samurai sword collecting.

7. Represent yourself on-line

If there are things you’ve left out of your CV following points 3 and 4, make sure they are still available online somewhere and include a link to it in your CV. There’s plenty of places you can create a professional profile such as LinkedIn which will allow you to maintain a full record of employment, recommendations and skills for anyone to see.  In fact if you don’t know how to create a CV you can fill out all your details on LinkedIn and use their resume builder to automatically format a CV file for you

Developers, create yourselves a Github account, use it to show some of the interesting things you’ve written or any open source projects you’ve committed to.

If you’re working in another digital profession it’s also sensible to have a portfolio of your work available for employers to see.

8. Lock down your social networks

This is just general advice really but make sure that your Facebook profile is only visible to your friends. Prospective employers are now regularly checking Facebook and other social networks to see what their prospective candidates are like in real life and whilst some employers probably wouldn’t hold it against you many others probably will.


Anything Else?

If there are any bug bears you’ve experienced whilst hiring that I have missed out, add it into the comments and I’ll update the post


The NFC arms race

The renewed thought of Amazon creating their own device has made me realise how they are actually one of only a handful of companies currently able to challenge Apple’s dominance in the device arena, specifically around the emerging field of contact-less payments.

The next iPhone purportedly contains NFC technology which would allow the device to act as a contact-less payment method. This is already currently available in some Android devices, but due to the open nature of the platform there’s no single company who is going to actually implement the underlying payment service.

image courtesy of maclife

In order to own an iPhone you need to have an iTunes account, whilst it’s not necessary to add a card to the account I would expect all of those users who own an iPhone (or an iPad) will have at least one card registered. Apple can therefore hit the ground running with the iPhone 5 and become one if the biggest payment services in the world overnight.

Google on the other hand have little to challenge with in comparison, they have never really dealt with consumer transactions at scale; Google Checkout has never found much traction against Paypal. Due to the open nature of the Android OS, operators will want to build their own solution to charge purchases to their customer’s phone bills, which will serve to dilute Google’s ability to develop the Checkout platform.

Amazon, however, do have the customers, they also have a payment method for every single one of them. If they were to introduce an Amazon device this year, it would allow them to run head to head with the iPhone in what could potentially be the start of a very disruptive period for the finance industry.

Paypal are in a strong position with their existing user accounts for payments but obviously aren’t into manufacturing devices. They could benefit from either a manufacturer tie in or creating device specific apps that use the NFC chip to charge the user’s Paypal account. Consumer adoption is likely to be limited and the experience would be second rate to one at device level.

Facebook Places

Facebook Places, Deals and NFC could be huge

Facebook have recently brought on Goldmann Sachs as an investor which could potentially be linked to their strengthening of Facebook credits which, this year, will become mandatory for any purchasing inside Facebook apps. ASOS and now French Connection have built complete eCommerce platforms inside of Facebook and if it’s users are buying credits to use inside these Facebook apps this has the potential to make Facebook one of the biggest banks in the world. If that’s the case then I wouldn’t be surprised if we see them start using NFC technology which coupled with the Facebook Places/Deals platform would make them a strong contender in this race.

NFC based payments itself could pull up lame at the first hurdle as the entire success or failure of all of this rests on adoption of the technology by both the retailers and more importantly the consumers.