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I am updating my CV. I am 26 and have been working full time for about 8 years now, I have some decent experience which I think looks pretty good on paper. I'm a senior developer at my current (small) company, but I'd probably be looking for a mid level developer job at a larger company. I've filled about a page with brief descriptions of what I worked with and projects I've worked on, I could write more if I went into detail.

I do not have a degree and as such my education section just consists of secondary school and A levels. I also have my first job on the job history which was just working in a shop for a year.

At this point I am applying for mid level developer jobs. I am just wondering if I should remove these sections as at best they aren't particularly relevant and at worst I feel they can come across as a bit childish to have on a "serious" CV and might affect the readers impression of me. The A levels have some relevance as I did computing but I'm not sure if it might be better to just focus on my professional work history and go into more detail there?

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    Does this answer your question? How to know when is the right moment to drop things off your resume?
    – gnat
    Jul 21, 2022 at 17:45
  • If I'm hiring an a developer with 5+ years experience, I couldn't care less that they got a B in geography a decade ago or that the worked in Asda when they were 18. Unless it's relevant for the role, I'd just leave it off.
    – Gh0stFish
    Jul 22, 2022 at 7:53
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    One thing you may want to make sure to mention is GCSE Maths and English at Grade C or above, this can sometimes be an early filter for hiring managers.
    – JosephWR
    Jul 22, 2022 at 8:04
  • @JosephWR not for someone with 8 of professional years experience. A hiring manager will never have any interest in looking at what an experienced 26-year-old happened to do when they were 15/16 because it's simply not useful nor relevant to the hiring process after all that time. It would be painfully obvious in many other ways if a candidate lacked basic numeracy/literacy skills. Jul 22, 2022 at 22:17

4 Answers 4

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Rule of thumb: Your CV (and cover letter, if applicable) should be customised for each job application. It should not be a generic description of who you are, rather it should portray why you are probably the best fit for that post.

Put only what is relevant, leave the other things out. If you've got enough experience to support your claim for the post, even a single employment / job is fine. I personally think, no more than 3 previous entries are relevant, for anyone who has spent moderate amount of time in each employment.

That said, couple of general notes:

I've filled about a page with brief descriptions of what I worked with and projects I've worked on,

Rather than individual details about what and how, show the results , achievements and learnings. Adds more value.

I could write more if I went into detail.

No, you don't want to do that. A page is just about right.

Oh, and for someone who has got 8+ years of industry experience, school or college degrees (and details about grades, major etc.) are mostly irrelevant. Industry experience is what matters, highlight them.

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  • Thanks for the advice. My work experience certainly makes up the bulk of the document. I more or less just have the shop job and education tucked in at the end. My main concern is that it could actually hurt me by making the whole CV feel more junior. If you don't think that's a problem I'll probably just leave it as the small part that it is.
    – QTom
    Jul 21, 2022 at 15:45
  • @QTom- You might be surprised how many people don't even read to the end of the CV anyway (assuming they read it at all).
    – bta
    Jul 22, 2022 at 0:41
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    Mostly agree. Some jobs do require a college degree, even for good reason - for example, some positions at my company need a degree because the projects we bid on require them. That requirement might be silly, but it's not under our control - and it means we're more likely to hire someone with a degree. If you have it, put it on there.
    – Joe
    Jul 22, 2022 at 2:32
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    Our personell department would notice "gaps" in the CV and wonder what was going on during them. Jul 22, 2022 at 15:25
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    I’ve been in the same industry for 25 years, so several years ago I removed my degree from my resume. One question I’ve consistently been asked since then is “do you have a degree?” Despite my experience, leaving my degree off my resume seems to have come across as conspicuous. I’ve put my degree back into my resume so I don’t have to explain in the interview process. Jul 23, 2022 at 8:15
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Have them as a single line so it avoids a gap you might need to explain:

  • 2013-14 Some School
  • 2014-15 Tesco, Sales Assistant
  • 2015-20 Junior Developer

I don't think anyone would question that. On the off chance you're asked, just tell them it was what you were doing while developing personal projects and looking for your first development role.

I wouldn't waste too much time on it.

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    Or if you had lots of small jobs before moving into a professional field, you could even put something like "2014-2016 - Various retail roles"
    – Gh0stFish
    Jul 22, 2022 at 7:48
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The ideal thing to do is to tailor your CV/resume to the specific position that you are applying for. If the older jobs/education are relevant to the position you are applying for then yes they should be included. If not, then don't include them.

Since you already have 8 years of experience in your field, you likely would not need to add these older jobs/education.

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First of all, the answer by Sourav Ghosh is entirely correct, however speaking as a hiring manager there are a couple of points I would like to add. 1, 2 and 3 are specifically related to how you write your CV, 4, 5 and 6 are more generally around how you apply:

  1. Write your own submission

In addition to the point about customising your CV and cover letter to each role, I want to say: do not, under any circumstances where you actually want the job, use the automatic apply button on job websites. When I have a job opening I see hundreds of these automatically generated applications from the likes of Indeed.com, they are almost entirely terrible and frankly I don't have time to dig through each one, find the website profile and attempt to judge if this person is worth my time. I know it takes you a bit longer, but please, please, please write your submission yourself! It shows me you care about your application and haven't just hit "apply" on a hundred job adverts without reading them.

  1. Do include any relevant training courses

While your school based education may have finished with A-levels, any relevant training you have done is worth including (even free online courses from LinkedIn or W3Schools or similar count if you have nothing better). Demonstrating that you are committed to personal and professional development will definitely get you further up the list.

  1. Make your submission stand out

Make me notice your CV. I know not everyone is a graphic designer but make your CV catch my eye. Something nicely formatted with considered use of colour is perfect. Google for "modern CV template" for ideas. However make sure the colour and design don't overtake your content, that is what I'm really looking for.

  1. Don't bother including a photo

I'm hiring developers, not actors to star in my latest West End musical, I don't care what you look like. In fact, with modern "blind" recruitment practices you may find it gets filtered before it even gets to a hiring manager, along with names and anything which may induce unintentional bias.

  1. Research the company, if you can

While not always possible if going through a recruitment agent, if you know the company you are applying to, show me in your cover letter that you have at least a vague idea about what we do. Tell me why you're exited to work here (even if you're not) and what made you want to apply (beyond "I need the money"). Speaking of recruitment agents...

  1. Avoid recruitment agencies wherever possible

Honestly, recruitment agents are the absolute bane of my existence. They pester me constantly even if I don't have roles advertised, their salary expectations for the people they send are wildly unrealistic and frequently they have no idea about what I as an employer actually need from my people. I often question if even they read the job advert. If you can apply directly, I strongly advise you do so.

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    I agree with the first 4 but re recruitment agencies it might be business dependant but I always got the recruitment agency to tell me the company as the first thing and they always did. And most of the agencies I dealt with did read the job spec, if they did not they lost the ability to do business with the company. This was for large companies in Finance.
    – mmmmmm
    Jul 22, 2022 at 9:54
  • @mmmmmm I agree, it could well be industry specific, and I should also add that not all recruiters are bad. That being said I don't believe it does an applicant any harm in applying directly where they are able to.
    – ThaRobster
    Jul 22, 2022 at 10:36

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