How do you write your CV?

I do, as it allows me to save some space for a slightly less packed layout and I don’t think precise months bring so much on the résumé itself. The precise dates appear on the work certificates and can be discussed at the interview.



09/2019-11/2021 takes so much more space than 2019-2021? :sweat_smile:
Actually, the moment I see a resume without (clear) dates/months/years at least, I start doubting something fishy. :stuck_out_tongue:


Really. I’ve even begun lumping some similar jobs together. :wink:

It takes about 5-8 mm more in the column, which I am desperately searching for (I’m often fighting for that last line that sends the hobbies on the second page, I’ll probably have to rework it at some point and make it a 2 pages résumé, though I like to use the second one to list my projects).

My view about it is that I have 3 tools to make myself attractive:

  1. the résumé should be short and focused: you take a glance at it, you know my experiences and my skillset. Depending on the job, I’ll add a page specifically dedicated to the projects I’ve conducted/been a part of.

  2. the cover letter is there to show I’m an agreeable, smart person who understands your needs and give you a desire to know more.

The job of 1+2 is to spark interest and cursiosity to get an interview, which is #3:

  1. the interview. That’s what does the heavy lifting in my opinion. Any question about the cover letter (which should have been written with an aim to spark some topics in the interview) and the résumé should be adressed there.
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Maybe it’s just me, but I have developed a dislike to obvious virtue signalling with the hobbies and get annoyed if I see stuff like that on the first page. If you think it really adds something, then maybe the second page is good enough. Otherwise drop it entirely?

Essentially, on the first page I want to see a good intersection of a) my needs and b) what you bring to the table. Hobbies, civil status, number of kids, etc. are not part of it.

I may have been confusing in my choice of words. At this point in time, I am sticking with a 1 page résumé so what I was meaning to say is that when something goes “on the second page”, that means, to me, that I have put too many things and some of it needs to be cut down.

I may use a second page specifically dedicated to detailing some of the projects I’ve conducted/been a part of, or I could use it to detail the work experiences more, in which case, putting in the whole date may make sense.

To illustrate better, here is a rough template of what my résumé looks like (not to scale/also, hi boss!):

I used to put a few references on there too but have stopped both for lack of space and because I’d rather volunteer them during the interview than have several people reach out to my references when I send several applications at once.

I’d be interested about the references part, do you put them on your résumé? How do you handle it to make sure the time your references are giving out is properly valued while also making sure a prospective employer can get a full view of how you operate and get confirmation of what you’ve done?

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There’s a difference between having worked 11/2022 - 01/2023 vs. 04/2022 - 10/2023. Though you could call both „2022-2023“. And by the time somebody has glanced over your resumé, he or she may be unwilling to look at the individual confirmations from employers and piece them together, let alone invite you for an interview.

There is something to be said for brevity, focus and making yourself stand out from the crowd.
And there’s a line where you cross into „violating common conventions and practice“ territory.

I believe omitting months in dates does that for more than just a few HR people (see the „smells fishy“ comment above).

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I’ve been told that the standard way to do it in IT is to write “References provided upon request” and nobody so far has asked for any. And I didn’t observe anyone reacting negatively to not putting any in there directly

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It sounds very good, thanks!

It may be. I’ve mainly applied in small structures without a dedicated HR department/ fully trained person so that may have helped but I’ve landed enough interviews for positions I wanted to occupy that I am happy with my current setting. I think the application package should be assessed as a whole, as most decisions are a matter of tradeoffs and yes, that means that one document, usually the résumé, should be designed specifically to catch the attention and not ring alarm bells for the person reading it, so that they are more likely to want to actually spend more time reading the other documents/having an interview with you. That, I wholeheartedly agree with.

I would agree there is a difference between working 2 or 8 months in a position, though it’s not that big of one in my opinion and the more time passes, the less of a difference it makes.

If you stayed at a relevant job for less than 1 year and I was looking to fill a long term position that would ring alarm bells for me anyways and need to be properly explained (there are legitimate reasons that could explain it but I would want to know them).

Past 1 year, I’m not sure there’s such a difference between 13 or 22 months. Sure you can grasp more knowledge in 22 but not really that much. I’d be worried if I saw a pattern of spending 1-2 years at the same place then moving on but if I see a 1 year line among other positions occupied for longer, I wouldn’t blink too much.

I’m not a trained HR person, though, so my opinion may not matter much. As I liked to recall to my former bosses who decided they didn’t need a dedicated HR department, doing HR is a job in and of itself and it requires a specific training and a specific set of skills (which not all HR departments have).

I would agree with you that when in doubt, we should follow the standards. As a creative and proactive person geared toward understanding the needs of others, I also acknowledge that sometimes, some norms can be sacrificed to reach some other benefit that couldn’t be gotten without it though what works for me may, of course, not work for others.

Edit: I hadn’t read that properly:

I mean, you could do it but a 2 months experience isn’t really relevant on a résumé once you have a few years behind you. One may try, though, and from a HR perspective, you wouldn’t know what’s really behind that indication. I consider that easy to spot if you decide to give more time to studying the application/ask questions in an interview/call the proper references, not mentioning that it does not occur in a vacuum and that there should be other experiences to back it up but some may not want to do that and discard the résumé from the get go.

That’s fair enough, though that is not my experience and the focus on making the résumé visually appealing as well as trying to catch the eye with the most relevant parts of the application file can also spark some interest that may conduct to further inquiry rather than outright discarding. Once again, I think the application must be crafted as a whole and that the global result might be worth being rejected in the screening process of some applications. There again, your mileage may vary.