29

All my qualifications are in electrical engineering, up to PhD level. Over the past 10 years, I have done so many things concurrently that I have become equally good at them. The positions I have worked have thrown me into electrical/electronics/embedded systems and also into general software development, usually to interact with the hardware but also to develop Android, desktop applications and cloud/web APIs.

I have also found myself often in the middle of scientific projects that require custom software for DSP, Image analysis, Unique simulations and algorithm design. Because of this, I have become very competent (IMO) in both fields.

I am starting to think recruiters do not take a 2nd look at my CV when I am applying for software development jobs, since most of my positions have had a hardware element in their name. For example, I have applied for a number of quantitative developer jobs because I love coding math and building algorithms but no one seems to want to go to the next level. I do get very many offers for hardware-related jobs though.

Should I make 2 CVs, one highlighting my software development expertise?

9
  • 3
    Use of a cover letter, if the application allows you to include one, could also help you here by allowing you to further explain your software development work.
    – BSMP
    Nov 14, 2021 at 20:21
  • 3
    " most of my positions have had a hardware element in their name." Do you mean that you were "hardware project manager"? please write just "project manager"!
    – EarlGrey
    Nov 15, 2021 at 9:30
  • 3
    Have you considered going into FPGAs? It's highly in demand, requires solid EE skills, solid math skills and solid programming skills. With HLS (high-level synthesis) and some of the really nice tools out there, you don't even need to know RTL (verilog/VHDL) to use them. (Although I suspect you'd learn a HDL pretty quickly).There are companies that would really appreciate the mix of EE + programming. EDIT: I see you also have DSP skills. Really. Look into FPGAs. You're an insanely good fit for the industry and would probably really enjoy the challenge.
    – stanri
    Nov 15, 2021 at 10:14
  • 2
    An explanation may be helpful if you're working in a culture which treats CVs more like an employment passport than a marketing brochure. It seems most answers assume the marketing brochure aspect of a CV currently.
    – psaxton
    Nov 15, 2021 at 21:53
  • 5
    I like to tweak CVs for each position I'm applying for. Nov 16, 2021 at 3:54

8 Answers 8

149

You should always tailor your CV to the job you apply for. If in your case, that means starting with two "base" CVs, do it.

Or put another way: why wouldn't you do this?

7
  • 29
    Just to emphasise this point, if you apply for 20 jobs then you should have 20 unique CVs! It's a judgement call depending on the applications as to whether it's worth preparing different "base" CVs, or just copy-and-paste from others where possible.
    – Graham
    Nov 15, 2021 at 17:24
  • 1
    If you're applying for only very specific jobs at very similar companies you could just use the same CV but in reality that's never the case. Even if the job listings are near-identical you should check what specifically the company does and tailor your CV a little to focus on the most relevant things. Obviously it's very likely there will be crossover between all of your "different" CVs, and the more jobs you've already applied for, the more likely it is you'll be able to reuse most or all of one of the CVs you've used before.
    – WhatEvil
    Nov 15, 2021 at 18:34
  • 1
    I do have a generic CV that I give to recruiters - it's 4 pages long to list all of the experience and skills that I have mastered. But going to a company's job application site, I tailor a CV to match (as best possible without exaggerating) the experience I have to the experience they are looking for (with maybe some brief allusions to other experience I think might influence them into believing I'm a better candidate than someone that just matches the described experience).
    – Arluin
    Nov 15, 2021 at 18:47
  • 3
    With enough experience, you must definitely tailor your CV to the job or else you'll submit something that is mostly unrelated or super long and put on the bottom pile. A CV that reads like a perfect fit takes work.
    – Nelson
    Nov 16, 2021 at 9:59
  • I'm surprised that this answer is upvoted so much. It's not wrong, but it's very terse and could definitely be improved by expanding a little on why it's a good idea. Nov 17, 2021 at 14:54
8

Rather than making a completely different CV when you apply for software related roles it would be better to highlight software development as a recent experience. In many cases how up to date you are in certain fields and how fresh in your mind are determined tasks matters.

2
  • 2
    Highlighting recent experience is not a reason to avoid having a different CV. You can, and should, do both. Nov 16, 2021 at 10:55
  • 1
    I don't think that the suggested solution of many customised CVs is as good as it seems. Even though when you apply for a job you read everywhere that your CV will be retained for a maximum of 6 months that never happens. Furthermore most big companies outsource the initial filtering of the CVs to small agencies that often keep a copy of the CV for themselves. So if you apply many times it is probable that a recruiter will have in their hands several CVs of yours and compare them. If there is a big difference it could appear that there is something false.
    – FluidCode
    Nov 17, 2021 at 13:21
6

Absolutely you should tailor your CV to the position being applied for. In your case having two base CVs to start from would seem to be a wise choice, and I have done something similar in the past my self.

Both should include all your experience but prioritise different aspects according to the audience.

In addition to the CV do not neglect the covering letter! Just my opinion, but the CV should be very high level and succinct, then the covering letter can go into more detail on the areas you really want the recipient to focus on.

3
  • should it not be the other way round? I have typically written my cover letters to summarize what is in my CV and been detailed in the CV.
    – mbyamukama
    Nov 16, 2021 at 22:24
  • As I said, much off the above is mostly my opinion, based on experience of what has worked for me. Others will have different experience, and form different opinions that are equally valid. There are many different recognised cv styles and formats and none of them are "right" or "wrong". What is effective varies across industries and cultures. It all depends on the impression the writer wishes to convey, the expectations of the recipient and how they react to having those expectations met or challenged - hence the general advice to tailor the cv to the position applied for!
    – ShellGhost
    Nov 17, 2021 at 11:14
  • It's hard to generalise because some companies don't seem to read the cover letter, others will use it to decide whether to read the CV. But that means it's still worthwhile putting effort into a cover letter.
    – Stuart F
    Nov 17, 2021 at 15:20
5

Your CV is a piece of marketing copy to get you into interviews for the jobs you want. In all likelihood the first time your "potential customer" reads it will be a quick skim, so it has to very efficiently, clear and minimal document. But it also has to stand up to further scrutiny, if you do catch their interest. What makes this an engaging document varies more according to the role than the job (although you can tailor it to the job as well if you want). One can apply for two Engineering Manager positions with the same CV, or even one of those and a Lead Dev role with the same CV. But one cannot apply for a Dev and a Ship's Captain with the same CV. It's impossible to be relevant, focused and simultaneously appeal to both audiences.

You need to consider what the roles you want are, rather than just the skills you have are. Is the next job you want one where the employer wants a candidate that straddles both areas? In which case that's probably just one CV you need. Are you looking at separate roles where your main focus would be on one or the other? In which case you should write two CVs that contain all your skills, but have different main focuses. Are they completely unrelated (like software development and seamanship)? In which case you will want radically different CVs.

Read some Job ads for the roles you want. Put yourself "in their shoes" and consider what they'd like to read on your CV. And then go and make the correct number of them that you require to quickly and efficiently engage them when your CV lands in their inbox.

2

I've used to be a journalist and a developer so I can relate to some extent. In my experience it's definitely better to have two CS tailored for different needs however it's still better to mention all your working experience in both of them.

My advise would be - don't hide or omit anything but make it very succinct if it doesn't relate to the job you are applying to.

2

I think at least two (2) resume's or CV's is a good idea.

In general, as stated above you can tailor your submissions per job.

Practical tip: I take the job description, paste it into a cover letter and delete the skills I don't have (so please maintain honesty in doing so).

EXAMPLE: Job description: HTML, COBOL, JAVA, SQL, C, C++, Perl programming skills (etc)

I would put in (for me) strong HTML, SQL, C, and C++ skills. Have done some minimal Perl and Java. I don't have COBOL skills, but I once read a textbook.

Note that this is honest, but an automated word-matcher might match the COBOL anyway!

Also, my resume' has impressed many a person, especially the real engineering job managers.

Once again, I am certain the OP and others reading this will be honest. However, maintaining honesty is always important. In addition to basic ethics, one doesn't want to get a job one really can't do. Once, a recruiter edited my resume' in a way that was not fully honest. Needless to say, this created an awkward situation.

Also, eagerness is strictly up to the person writing the resume' / cover-letter. So if it's true, you can be as eager for the job and its skills as you want!

1

As SW developer with more than 10 years in one field I must definitely say that 10 years is not enough to be expert in 1 field, not mentioning 2 or more. So 10 years + self-judge as expert in more than 1 field = suspicious for me.

So when applying for a job make CV which makes you the best candidate for the job, not for 2 jobs. Company will never seek for 1 man to do 2 jobs unless they want to squeeze you like a lemon (and it's not good place to work because they cannot afford 2 people).

You may of course mention the other skills somewhere in the "others" section of your CV - just in case the recruiter wants to pick it up in the chit-chat part of the interview.

-1

Germany.

I have already applied for a job where the company accidentally used an old CV of mine, from a previous application. It might violate some data protection law: probably they are not allowed to archive and reuse my CV, full with the personal data, but they are required to delete it after the application (if they reject). But honestly it was my least problem at the time.

So, particularly if you apply to many places, there is some chance that your multiple CV versions will meet on some points. These points will likely interpret the situation that you are a liar/cheater/obfuscator/manipulator. Their likely reaction will be that they reject it with a crap reason.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .