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How to write a great IT CV
Having seen millions of CVs in our 40 years in the global recruitment space, we’ve come to understand that each sector has its own nuances when it comes to putting together a CV - and IT is certainly no different.
When it comes to writing your IT CV, the choices you make in terms of what you do and don’t include can be the difference between advancing to the interview stage and falling at the first hurdle. To help you stand out from the crowd and land your next job we’ve put together some handy hints to remember when it comes to putting together your next IT CV.
How best to approach your IT CV
As is general guidance, it’s imperative that an IT CV is no more than two pages long - so don’t just throw all your work experience and skills onto it. Give it a solid, easy to read structure. Although IT is a technical discipline, a complex document won’t score any points with a recruiter so present it in a professional way that will grab the attention of any prospective employer.
Tailor your IT CV for a specific role
A lot of people prefer to use a generic CV and forward that to prospective employers but a worthwhile strategy is to have a few templates that will allow you to tailor your application to a specific role and in essence, build your IT CV faster. There are many different areas of IT, so after you create the main template you can deviate slightly depending on role.
As a structural guide, start with this:
- Personal Summary
- Work Experience
- Key Skills and Competencies
- Academic Qualifications
Examine the job spec and compare the requirements of the role with what you have on your CV. Bring to life the key areas and include skills that you may have previously left out. Maybe move a few things around. Whatever you do, decide which skills should be the most prominent based on the role.
IT jargon: get the right balance
Although you want your CV to be easy to read and understand, there’s also no harm in showing a recruiter you really know your sector. Whilst technical jargon is often frowned upon on CVs, it’s inevitable that some of the complex terms you’ll mention on an IT CV may not be understood by a layperson. Aim to strike the right balance between readability and knowledgeability – and if you’re unsure whether a recruiter or employer will be aware of an emerging coding platform or piece of software, qualify it on your CV (e.g. I am proficient in the coding software platform MyCode).
Implement an effective summary when writing your IT CV. One that highlights your experience enough to grab the recruiter’s attention and give examples in your career where you’ve excelled in key areas. When writing your IT CV, if you don’t use your summary to promote yourself properly, then you may not get past the first sift.
Highlight your last few IT jobs and shout about the key tasks you’ve completed and give examples. If you had managerial responsibilities, showcase those too. If that be in design, or creating software, or coding, dealing with big data, or running technical help, include it. Be clear regarding the specific dates of your previous employment. Include as much information as much as possible and if you are currently not in a role, be sure to make that clear. The employer might be looking for someone to start straight away.
Key skills and competencies
There are many different areas of IT but the general competency and skills that you should have are fundamentally:
- Understand existing and emerging technologies, and design principles,
- Be comfortable with technical architecture and integrating systems,
- Have competency in managing projects,
- Be adept at prioritising your workload,
- Communicate well with stakeholders,
- Be competent in gathering and processing effectively key information, and
- Think strategically and be adaptable.
IT comprises of such a wide range of sub-sectors that the answer to what qualifications route to choose will be different for each individual. The best way to approach this is to consider your preferred area of work then look at qualifications on offer around that. The type of roles you can choose are 1st line support, C developer, IT call centre, data analyst, IT support engineer, IT manager, IT support technician, Java developer, network engineer, to name but a few. Or for example, if you were interested in artificial intelligence and robotics, forensic computing or business information technology then you can take the university route by enrolling in a degree course. The other options such as foundation courses, are designed to give you an overview.
Once qualified, you can enhance your education further by undertaking a professional qualification offered by the Information Systems Examinations Board (ISEB).
Make sure this is short, concise and memorable - and easy to read. If you’ve saved your company money in your previous role or used your technical nuance to solve a major problem, highlight it. You can summarise your ambitions and give extra context to your achievements and use examples of where you really made a difference.
Do your research on the company that you’re having the interview with. Find out everything that you can, the company size, how many offices they have, and their annual turnover. If you get to the interview stage, it’s most probable that the recruiting manager will be impressed you have conducted your research into the company. That knowledge and a solid IT CV will hold you in good stead. You need to approach your IT CV professionally, listing all technical proficiencies, technologies, and relevant experience.
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