Week 10 — Updating CV's — Re-framing

Dec 1st, 2018

In week 10 we looked at updating our CVs and we talked a lot about re-framing the skills we have acquired during our career breaks into transferable skills.

We all learn not to label our CVs with Curriculum Vitae!

We also had a visit from Amelia from Thoughtworks who talked about different roles within tech and her journey – balancing being a mum and driving her career.

This was our last session together before the presentations as the following week was going to be drop in 1–2–1 sessions on our individual projects.

Let's hear from SJ, Rachel and Emma:

SJ

I'm so grateful for the session Beckie ran for week 10 of Tech Returners. I've been wondering about my transferable skills and how I sell myself without sounding too self-assured, but at the same time knowing I need to shout it from the rooftops how amazingly brilliant I could be if I worked for you!

I'm rubbish at stuff like that and luckily for me and the other Tech Returners we had a CV overhaul. I didn't realise how out of date my CV was until we started the session! I knew it needed work but, yikes! Anyway, with lots of help from Beckie I'm really pleased with how my CV is looking now and I feel confident in knowing the kinds of things an employer likes to be asked and what I should avoid completely. Thinking about it, it's at least 7 years since I've been in an interview situation so it's brilliant that I now feel equipped.

Amelia Bampton came in to talk to us about her career break and her position as a Senior I.T. Consultant at ThoughtWorks. What a positive woman with a passion for her job! It was really refreshing to hear how she balanced family and work life (something I'm struggling with at the moment!). The insight into her world helped me learn about other job roles within the tech industry. I never knew some of the roles she mentioned existed, let alone what they did. It's safe to say the role of a business analyst really got me thinking. I'll definitely be researching that further.

After lunch (yes, I had a chocolate caramel square, again), we went back to working on our CVs. It felt quite emotional, actually. Already at week 10 of the course kind of got me thinking about how far I've come. To be continued...

Rachel

This week we had a really helpful session from Beckie Taylor who established Tech Returners. Beckie is an owner/director of CLOS Consultancy and an experienced HR professional. The purpose of the session was to help us with our next career moves by marketing ourselves to prospective employers. She gave a demonstration of some social media platforms, such as Twitter and LinkedIn, that can be useful for connecting to contacts, prospective employers and clients. She had lots of useful tips – for example how to structure your biography which gives a quick overview of who you are. Beckie then set out the structure she recommends for your CV, so that prospective employers can quickly pick out your key skills and experience.

Top tip: You don't need to write CV or Curriculum Vitae on your CV at all! Whoops...I've had that on my CV for years!

Beckie kindly offered to have a look at our draft CVs and helped us work on the content when we had the structure in place. We spent the rest of the session working on this.

Our Brown Bag Talk this week was from Amelia Bampton who has had an interesting career as a project manager in the tech industry and now works for the Thoughtworks consultancy. She was a really engaging, bubbly speaker who spoke honestly about the nitty gritty reality of holding down a demanding job (which she loves) whilst juggling two kids and dealing with getting your confidence back after returning from maternity leave.

Emma

I wasn't looking forward to Week 10; the idea of working on my CV for a whole session filled me with dread. Although I update my CV every year, I haven't used it for a long time as I've been self-employed for several years. Prior to that, my last memories of sending out my CV were not positive and I had flashbacks to months of getting hundreds and hundreds of rejections without a single invitation to an interview. For me, the worst part of moving into a career in tech is the thought of having to relive that experience.

Thankfully, the session didn't turn out to be as awful as I had been dreading! Beckie gave us so much advice and in such a positive way that I actually didn't mind reworking my CV and it was great to list all the new Tech skills I've learned over the previous months. I was also pleased to see I'd avoided some of the common CV writing mistakes, and mostly just needed to update or tweak my CV rather than completely overhaul it. I'm now much more confident in my skills and experience and I'm going to create an infographic-style CV for different kinds of job applications. I may even work up to doing a video CV, but I'm not making any promises about that!

We also had our first team outing to the BBC's Women in Tech event, a lot of amazing discussion and takeaways from the event - we even got to sit on the breakfast sofa! :)