You’ll write many documents at University, but there is one document that is really important in a potentially life-changing way. Your curriculum vitae9 or resume. An example CV is shown in Figure 6.1.
Creating a professional looking CV is particularly important, because it determines if you are invited to interview for opportunities you are applying for. The decision to interview is typically based on several factors:
- how your CV looks, the typesetting and style (typography)
- the content of your CV, what you’ve done
- the quality and clarity of your written communication, how you describe yourself and your experience
- the editing, what you’ve decided to leave in (and leave out) of your CV
By opportunities we mean both immediate ones within the next 12 months as well as those further in the future.
During your first year of study, opportunities include:
- Spring insights during easter next year
- see ratemyplacement.co.uk/insights some of which have application deadlines before Christmas
- see insight events at gradcracker.com/search/computing-technology/work-placements-internships?duration=Insight_Events
- Summer internships suitable for first years:
- see summer internships (open to first years) at gradcracker.com/search/computing-technology/work-placements-internships?duration=Summer-open_to_1st_years
- see the chapter on Finding your Future in Coding your Future (Hull 2023b)
After your first year opportunities include:
- Year long placements in your penultimate year, if you’re considering doing industrial experience
- Summer internships (aimed at penultimate year students) + there are usually around ten summer internships in the Department of Computer Science for example, these normally don’t get advertised around April/May time
- Graduate jobs or graduate schemes after graduation
- Postgraduate study or research via masters or PhD etc
Any time you invest in creating a convincing CV will pay off in the long run. Yes, you’ve only just started University, so might not have much to talk about just yet, but it’s never too early to make a start.
Create a basic CV which tells your story, in particular:
- your education, including high school and University
- your experience, voluntary, paid, casual, technical and non-technical: any experience demonstrates your range of soft and hard skills
- your projects, personal, social, educational and entrepreneurial
You can do this using the ready-made templates at overleaf.com/gallery/tagged/cv. Have a good look around, there are over 600 templates to choose from.
As you progress through University, continuously update your CV and solicit feedback from as many people as you can. Your fellow students, personal tutors, friends, family and anyone else you trust can all give you valuable feedback. There will be opportunities to debug your CV later, but you’ll need a “beta release” (version 1.0) of your CV to get started. The best time to start debugging is now, so that you can squash any bugs before employers see them. Innocent bugs can be fatal because most employers typically have to deal with lots of applicants. Here’s a check list of some common bugs we have seen in students CVs:
- Is your year of graduation, degree program, University and expected (or achieved) degree classification clear?
- Are there any spelling mistakes, typos and grammatical errors? Don’t just rely on a spellchecker, they can’t detect everything
- Does it look good, decent layout, easy to scan?
- Does it fit comfortably on one page (preferably) or two pages only? Not too cramped or gappy?
- Is it in reverse chronological order? Are the most important (usually recent) things first?
- Have you talked about what you have actually done using prominent verbs, rather than just what you know? See the Actioning your Future chapter of Coding your Future for more examples
- Have you mentioned disciplines you are studying now and throughout the current academic year, not just courses you have finished?
- Have you quantified and provided evidence for the claims you make?
- Is your CV robot proof? Many large employers use automated applicant tracking systems that use software to screen CVs long before a human ever sees them. You can feed your CV through software like careerset.com/manchester and resume.io, what feedback do the robots give you? How can you make your CV more robot proof?
- Find out more in the debugging your future checklist at cdyf.me/debugging#checklist (Hull 2023a)
- If you’re a University of Manchester student, take a look at the CV pathway from the careers service at bit.ly/uomcvpathway which requires a
careerconnect.manchester.ac.uklogin - unfortunately not the same as your University credentials
Your curriculum vitae is a really important document and it will most likely take many iterations to get it right. We recommend you start working on it sooner rather than later and get feedback from as many different people (and bots) as you reasonably can.
In the meantime, enjoy exploring and using LaTeX to create professional documents for:
- your individual COMP101 coursework (see blackboard)
- your CV / resume
- your third year project dissertation. It might seem a long way off now but it comes around very quickly!
strictly speaking it should be vitæ (not vitae) if you’re being pedantic↩︎