Getting your CV Noticed

I’ve been getting quite a few calls lately from agencies and companies looking to fill positions. It’s odd – it’ll be quiet for a few months then suddenly the phone’s buzzing again.

Almost all of them found my number on the net. They found that from my CV (PDF) – also published on the net. In fact, when I ask where they heard of me, the answer is almost universally ‘Google’.

That makes me wonder a little about the effectiveness of all these job sites. Are they not being used? Are the charges too high or are there simply not enough developers out there in those directories to fill positions.

Anyway, the point of this post is to try and identify some key points and suggestions, from what I’ve gathered about posting your CV online:

  1. Get a website that you can create several pages on. Put up a nice little clean design – doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, I always think unstyled <h1> and <p> tags are overlooked these days, but they actually convey quite a bit on simple sites, and Google will like you.
  2. Create your CV in something like Word (so it’s easy to edit locally), and produce a PDF. If you don’t have Acrobat there are free alternatives. Quite a few of my referers have come by searching specifically for PDFs, so it seems you’ll only stand to gain if you offer this format.
  3. List all your skills in the CV. You should be doing this anyway, but for recruiters searching for ‘php and mysql and cv’ (an actual example) they will only pick up CVs with the words ‘php’,’mysql’ and ‘cv’.
  4. On a similar note, use both ‘cv’ and ‘curriculum vitae’ in your CV. Probably ‘resumé’ too. Recruiters use one of these terms to find exactly what they’re looking for, so you want to make sure you’re listed too.
  5. Give your phone number and email. I have both, and recruiters almost always choose to call me instead of emailing. Furthermore, there’s always the chance an email will get lost in your spam filters.
  6. List, either on the CV itself or a nearby page, the location you live in and cities & areas you are prepared to commute to. If a recruiter is looking for people in a particular area (e.g. ‘php mysql wiltshire’) and you are able/prepared to get to that area you want to be listed there. Don’t bother listing all the counties/cities in the country: that is more likely to raise flags on Google for spamming their search index, which you don’t want to do.
  7. Update your CV frequently. You should show that you regard the document as important and accurate. A year-old CV looks bad. Google will also (I understand) index the document more regularly if it notices you update it quite often.
  8. If you have websites out there that you have built, point any credit link with your name to your personal website, and from there to your CV. This is not to game the search engines (although exposure helps, as long as it’s genuine and not paid-for!). The point of this is simple – if a recruiter (or anybody for that matter) happens to see your work, they may want to find out more about the person behind it, and if they’re employable. Make sure your CV is easy to reach from any links you put out there.

There are plenty of other things you can do, but it’s important to stay on the ‘legal’ side of Google and not to spam them (the line is a little sketchy at times). After all, your Page Rank is important for results and you don’t want to be delisted.

If you have any further tips please post them in the comments!

BTW – yes, I know my CV is out-of-date. I will practise what I preach as soon as I have written the new job up!

Canal Redux

Hmm. I owe Granny Buttons a bit of thanks and apology that I didn’t give before. Andrew of Granny Buttons made a point of linking to my blog post about the canal holiday a while ago, and I failed to return the link favour, despite saying that I would.

Andrew corrected an erroneous statement I made about the majority of our course being uphill (it was, in fact, mostly downhill). He also pointed me to a very interesting site, CanalPlan (the link takes you to our full route).


This post has been brewing for a long time – but it’s about time I wrote this down. Last December I had the pleasure of meeting Robert Scoble twice. In Ireland and London. Both times he was surrounded by other people equally keen on grabbing his ear for a few minutes. Poor bloke seemed to spend all evening without a moment to himself!

When Robert came by our part of the table in Ireland, the discussion led to feed readers. Most people voiced their support for various products, but I had a different view. I don’t generally use an aggregator, so I said as much. ‘Why?’ asked the small group of people. I told them I prefer to read the site itself. I liked the designs of the sites and prefered to read articles on a full-blown HTML page, but struggled to give a clear reason.

Robert suggested this was a common view for advertisers (makes sense), but was quickly distracted by other people vying for his attention and went away.

That irritated me quite a bit. Not the response – it was my comment that irritated me. I couldn’t believe that I gave such a vague and pathetic reason, that was easy to dismiss and didn’t give much value to the conversation. The fact was, I don’t use aggregators and I hadn’t actually figured out why.

It actually took me a few months of playing with various aggregators; reading blogs day in, day out (as always) – this time with a view to actually figuring out what it is I did and didn’t like about them. Another few months to get around to actually writing this….

Turns out, the main reason I don’t use aggregators is – ironically – because they play such an important and regular part of my day if I do use them. The trouble is that in applications used so frequently, even the slightest kink becomes a regular irritation.

I’ve yet to find an aggregator I actually like and don’t get annoyed with. FeedDemon kept demanding a NewsGator login (which I didn’t want to give), and I couldn’t disable the message without logging in.

Outlook 2007‘s feed reader seemed to miss half of all new posts, and refused to parse some feeds at all.

The reader in Flock was good for a while, but I kept getting ‘Script is busy’ error messages, and it wouldn’t let me customise the refresh time (I’ve since found out how to do that).

I’m currently using FeedReader. It’s okay, but can have a very slow interface at times. That said, it’s growing on me.

Arguably, I’ve been using some products in beta so should expect to be burned at times. I might go back and try more stable versions, but am reluctant to go through the whole installation/transfer OPML/try out cycle again.

I’m quite keen to find a ‘river of news‘ reader. I tend to read feeds quite regularly throughout the day, so it’s easier for me to see the latest couple of new posts each time, rather than click through individual updated feeds.

I’m also keen on finding a reader that lets me ‘mark all as read’ (for both a particular feed, and across the lot). Most should already do this, but some can be suprisingly unresponsive and slow. Remember that, given my point earlier about using aggregators all the time, the program should respond immediately – and yes, my computer is quite fast with a lot of memory and very little in the background. Other programs blaze along.

Dunno – I’m probably being very fussy here, but this – I believe – more accurately represents why I don’t use aggregators (for long).

Perhaps I’d be more driven to using one (and would ‘get over’ any issues) if I had more feeds to read. At the moment I have perhaps 15 or so; if I had 300+ it would be an issue. I can remember each URL I regularly visit, so it’s not a problem to switch off the aggregator and just type each URL into Flock.

Finally, despite being a generally impatient user, I would be quite interested to give it all another go. If you have a favourite reader you think is quick off the mark, reasonably uncomplicated and has a ‘river of news’ view please let me know. In return I’ll make more of an effort to document what I do and don’t like about each program.

BBC – 'The Editors’ blog

The BBC have introduced a new blog, ‘The Editors‘. Editors from across the Beeb contribute articles and insights into their day-to-day decision-making and operations.

I rather like the style, and the articles so far have been quite engaging and interesting.

The latest article, discusses the Bush & Blair conversation caught on tape at the G8 Summit. A fairly casual, retrospective look at a piece of news (although really, does it really matter if Bush said ‘shit’? That was the lead-in for the piece on the actual news)

Their blog system seems to have a slight niggle though – it currently reads ‘Comments (6)’ yet only one is displayed. The others are presumably awaiting moderation, but still it seems slightly odd to include those in the count.

New Flat

Moved into the new flat yesterday. Lots of room and plenty of space for visitors…. it comes completely furnished, and the sofabed’s not as annoying or uncomfortable as I thought it might be.

Weather this week is set to continue to rise – 38 degrees C on Wednesday (100.4 degrees F). Worse, the overnight temperature is set to be 26 degrees C (78.8 F)

Thankfully, the flat also comes with a large fan and nice, dark curtains!

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Google Maps updates Zoom code; higher res images

Fantastic. Google Maps finally supports the wheel mouse for zoom. They’ve also tidied up zooming a little – it seems faster and more responsive. When you zoom in, the current map is animated to zoom whilst the new higher-res map is loaded.

From the API blog, you can see Madurodam, a miniature model of a Dutch city (one lucky visitor to my flat will be treated to a day out at Scheveningen, including this – I want to see it but I’m not going alone :-). Zoom out from the image and the scale becomes a bit clearer.

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Photo Journal

All quiet in the city of trams and open-air urinals, so a few photos for you (none of open-air urinals):

Storm cloud coming over the city of Den Haag.

Top Gear on BBC World. What a hideous disappointment this was. An hour long show in the UK cut down to less than thirty minutes (BBC World has ads too). They just showed the Renault Espace video (where they make it convertible) and a bit of Richard demoing a bright pink car. Still, it made a Sunday night slightly more interesting.

Similar view as earlier, only with more sunshine. The weather for the last two weeks has basically featured sun – lots of it. Forecast is back in the 30s for this weekend.

My hotel room at the Noordzee hotel. Nice place with lots of Heineken.

The beach at Scheveningen. At some point soon I’ll jump in the water. It’s calling out my name!

Move into the flat on Monday, which’ll be nice. It’s not that far from the beach, but nice and close to the shopping and cinema place too. It’s also right opposite the tram station. So — from Monday I should have permanent Internet access.

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Deleting Files on Windows

Over the past few days I’ve been writing a program to create static HTML pages from Wikipedia XML dumps (long story – actual program and more info to come in a few more days…)

The program creates a lot of subdirectories in the process, and a lot of these happen to be in Unicode.

99.9% of the time this is fine. Windows is happy. I’m happy. Everybody’s happy. The 0.1% has been a particular folder ‘Cuisine of Israel’ which, for the past day, I’ve been unable to delete. I  get the following message:

Cannot delete Cuisine of Israel : Cannot find the specified file.

Make sure you specify the correct path and file  name.

It took some searching on Google, and this Groups page for me to find the answer:

  1. Open a command line (Start > Run > Type cmd and press Enter)
  2. Navigate to the folder above the one you want to delete
  3. Type dir /x to see the MS-DOS 8.3 filenames. In my case it was CUISIN~1
  4. Type (eg. for me:) rmdir /s CUISIN~1 and confirm the delete.
  5. The folder should now be removed.

It should be a similar process for files (except, using del instead of rmdir).

Apparently Windows has a problem with certain characters. In this case I think there was a Unicode space character of some kind in the file. Windows wasn’t capable of dealing with it, and gave the error message.

Make sure you’re deleting the right directory. This solution provided without warranty – please back up your files, etc. etc. Use at your own risk.

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