Candidate Advice | 3 min read

How to Market Yourself - Advice from Top Chief Architects & Heads of Architecture

Written by Jack Goodridge

A topic which we talk about regularly as recruitment consultants is an applicant’s CV – is it written correctly?, is the layout okay? and does it include all the relevant skills and experience required to match the job being applied for.

It can be a long and arduous time writing a CV, especially if you have been in your current position or career for a long time – what is important, how much should I include, what is the potential employer hoping to read? We took the time to reach out to top Chief Architects and Heads of Architecture in our network to ask them what they really look for when assessing someone’s CV for a position.

The first question was obvious; what is the first thing you look for when assessing someone’s CV?

The answers were mixed but there were a couple of common underlying themes. A track record of delivery was key; from an enterprise perspective it was what someone has achieved, the depths they have gone to to achieve it and does this person have hands-on experience not just from an ivory tower perspective. From a more solutions angle it was showing a breadth of experience across technology or domain areas.

The most important theme uncovered was the writing style, layout and presentation of the CV and contents. Every professional we asked said if someone can not clearly articulate their role, responsibilities and achievements on to a CV then how are they going to be able to present their ideas and solutions effectively to their stakeholders or how are they going to be able to present business requirements.

Making sure that the wording is clear, the CV looks good and it is easily readable is vital when applying for roles. Take the time to re-read every inch of your CV or get someone else to proof- read it to make sure there are no mistakes as even the smallest of errors can put doubt in to a potential employers mind.

On average hiring managers look at a CV for 6 seconds before making a decision, not a long time to make that first impression.

Even though it can be a long process writing a CV and you may be tempted to rush it thinking that you can explain your experience face to face, now more than ever it is important to make the first impression the right one or you may never get the chance to explain in person.

The next question we asked was whether the duration candidates stay in their roles effects your decision making process?”

This was a resounding YES! It takes time in a position to deliver projects and really make a difference to digital transformation and organisational change. Clearly there are always going to be a few unforeseen circumstances why people move jobs quicker than intended, however make sure these are made clear when applying to not put potential employers off.

Does education matter ?

This had mixed views. From a contract perspective experience and track record of delivery seemed to trump education every time! However, when applying for a permanent position, someone’s education and their ability to show diligence and tenacity to finish something seemed to be included in their track record of delivery. If you have a degree, masters or PhD – make it known, including the year you completed it and the time taken to complete it.

The next question we asked was how potential employers like applicants to showcase their experience on a CV.

As so many employers place such a high importance on track record of delivery, the main answer to this question was to use clearly defined responsibilities and achievements.

This linked back to being able to articulate the role played in an organisation. Seeing how applicants display this information gives the person hiring a real insight in to how they present documents and how they can explain solutions or requirements to their teams.

Another topic which got split views when talking about contract or permanent roles, was whether an overqualified candidate applying for a position would put off a potential employer. When applying for contract roles this did not seem to be the case. Employers were not concerned as this is the nature of contracting.

However, when applying for permanent roles, one of the main concerns was whether a candidate would still be able to dive in to the detail if they were taking a step down the corporate ladder. Make sure that if you are applying for a position that is more junior than your current one, make sure you let the potential employer know at application stage your reasoning for doing this, you don’t want it putting people off if it’s easily explainable!

Whilst we are on the subject of contract or permanent; the vast majority of employers we spoke to where not concerned about people switching between the two. They would look to test someone’s commitment to switching to make sure they would stick out the position they were applying for, but it did not seem to be a blocker.

Looking forward to the future of applying for roles, it is more important than ever to ensure you stand out. Making sure that you have a well worded personal statement when applying for a specific position to show your interest is something that came up a lot.

Showcasing your skills and experience related to a position is key to make that great first impression and ensure you have the chance to meet face to face. With it being so easy to apply for jobs at the click of a button, the personal element can get lost. Showing you have taken the time and effort to review the job specification and understand a potential employers need will only help your chances.

Some of this may seem obvious, however, parts of the CV writing process are sometimes overlooked.

What’s that cliché saying… you only get one chance to make a first impression? This couldn’t be truer. An estimated 77% of hiring managers immediately disqualify resumes because of grammatical mistakes or typos.

A solid CV is the key to landing your next job. Keep these points in mind before submitting your CV, and if you think you've fallen victim to any of the aforementioned mistakes, go back and correct them before moving forward with your applications. A little extra effort on the CV front could pave the way to an interview, so it's worth putting in that time.

As always we would love to hear your thoughts and feedback.