Wanted: hacking hobbyists and acronym avoiders – how to land a digital job at DWP

Ahead of plans to ‘hire hundreds’ of techies, the department has revealed the secret to what it looks for in a CV

Anyone seeking a digital role at the Department for Work and Pensions has been advised to lay off the tech acronyms but talk up their digital hobbies.

The department is “looking to hire hundreds of talented digital specialists over the next year”. To give potential candidates the best chance of success, the DWP will be running “series of articles” in the coming weeks offering advice on how to navigate the entirety of application process – from finding vacancies to attending interviews.

This series has begun with a blog from DWP talent acquisition manager Tia Nicholas, who advised candidates that they will need to apply for jobs at the department by using an online portal, where they can upload their CV.

This should be in the form of a PDF or Word document, with Nicholas adding that “Word has a range of templates readily available to use which are great for structure”.

At the top of their CV applicants should include their name, phone number and email address – but are advised not to bother with providing a physical address. Instead, Nicholas said that candidates might wish to provide a personalised link to their LinkedIn page.

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CVs should be less than two pages in length, she said, with candidates advised to deploy bullet points – particularly when there is a career of 10 years or more to fit in.

“Focus on the key information like your key competencies and skills and include relevant achievement achievements that relate to the role,” Nicholas said. “What are you proud of? What makes you unique?”

In describing their work and academic experience, applicants are urged to demonstrate their credentials and achievements via facts and figures, where possible. 

“Show off a bit, so we’re in no doubt that you’ve got the skills and experience we’re looking for,” Nicholas said. “A good tip is to highlight the keywords in the job description and check if you have them on your CV.”

But she added that candidates should “embrace plain English as much as possible”, particularly given the predilection for acronyms and other jargon of both the tech industry and the civil service.

In addition to previous jobs and qualifications, the DWP “also like to know what kind of things [candidates] get up to outside of work” – particularly if their hobbies overlap with their profession. Nicholas advised applicants to “give us details about your experience at things like hackathons or involvement with meet-ups”.

She said: “A great CV will definitely give you an advantage in the hiring process, so it’s good to invest time into getting it right. There’s loads of information and resources available online to help.”

Sam Trendall

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