IT is one of the most exciting industries in the world and jobs within the industry are extremely sought after. Employers are faced with large numbers of CVs for every job they advertise, and their pre-selection process may be as simple as placing them into 3 stacks; “yes” – interview, “no” – reject, and “maybe”.
This means that getting a foot in the door for your dream IT career all starts with an excellent CV. For your CV to make the “yes” stack, even a cursory glance should reveal you have the skills they are looking for - particularly technology skills.
Some of the most common mistakes in CV writing aren’t specific to IT jobs. Rather, they are common issues that are faced by a whole range of industry applicants, from lawyers through to marketing executives.
First and foremost, a successful CV must always be inviting and readable. This comes from a strong structure with clear sections like a career overview, skills overview, qualifications and employment history.
Length is also important. A CV shouldn’t exceed two pages, which means being selective about which information to include. Studies have shown that readers usually absorb about 60% of the first page and 40% of the second.
Keep your information succinct, punchy and relevant. Your initial summary needs to be particularly eye-catching, emphasising your most relevant skills and career highlights. For many IT fields it is beneficial to include a skill section high up on the CV. This list can include computer languages, databases, operating systems and software.
Remember to use Bold type - a simple but immensely effective in highlighting relevant experience. Similarly you can use bullet points to break up text and draw the reader's eye to what you want them to remember.
If you’re looking for more advice on CV writing, check out our 5-minute video guide.
Keep it relevant
Make sure you CV reads like it was written specifically for the particular role you’re applying for. That means including the skills, employment and education that is most applicable not only to the industry, but also to the specific department and position.
Try to include the phrases and keywords that the employer used in the job ad. This shows that you really understand what they’re searching for and that you are perfectly suited for the role.
Steer clear of personal details like your age and marital status and don’t include a picture. If your personal interests show a really interesting or relevant side to your personality, you can include this but keep in brief.
Lastly, don't get sidetracked - Put your most relevant experience first, it may not be your most recent project, but this is less important to the employer than knowing you have the experience they need.
Keep it current
Industries like IT are all about change and progress. Make sure you always place the greatest emphasis on your most recent IT jobs. Also, it is worthwhile listing any up-to-date skills or training you’ve received to show that you’re abreast with industry trends. This is especially important if you have been out of the industry for a few years.
Demonstrate your skills
Sometimes the best way to get ahead of the crowd is to demonstrate your skills in a practical way. Some areas of IT are better suited to this than others, but creating a blog or web page can showcase your skills better than your average CV. It is also possible to include hyperlinks to sites you worked on or written testimonials from former employers endorsing your skills.
IT recruitment experts reveal how you should structure your key skills section
in this short clip:
Tune into the company’s culture
One of the biggest considerations for any employer is whether the candidate will fit with their unique company culture. When IT firms demonstrate a clear company identity, make sure your CV reflects similar values. For instance if they show a cutting edge approach to social media, include your twitter account on your CV. Also make sure you tweet relevant and informative industry information so that they’re impressed when they view your profile
Following just these simple tips will ensure that your CV assures the employer that you have the right sales skills, knowledge and experience. This greatly increases your chances of being placed in the 'Yes' stack.