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!