The Perfect IT CV
Well, OK the title was simply to grab your attention….as tech recruiters with decades of experience we’ve come to realise that ‘perfect’ is often over utilised in our industry, when the bottom line is that ‘perfect’ really is just an impossible goal; the dangled carrot we use to keep pushing ourselves and our careers forward. So, let’s start with the end in mind…how is this CV going to attract employers / recruitment suppliers and what is going to get me an interview.
1. Ensure employers and their suppliers can find you. Think about what jobs you are looking to get into…what are the alternative job titles across the industry? What skills are involved both hard and soft and simply make sure your CV is key word / phrase dense…
For those not in the SEO space this basically means repeat the important words and tech terms as many times as possible but try to avoid the CV becoming a list.
2. Ensure you have completed any pro-forma required on job sites and through the application process…never suggest ‘see cv’…. the pro forma is there for a reason, ignore it and expect a straight reject.
3. Ensure all basic information is available, including your contact details and address (for the security conscious simply put a town or the start of your postcode….without this you simply will not be found on CRM systems.
4. Tailor your CV to the role…it’s not good enough to have a stock CV….you want to read the advert or specification and maybe highlight in bold the skills that match the particular role….move the relevant skills to the top of your skills matrix and add real examples where you have used those skills in anger.
1. Your CV needs to be a representation of you, not simply some bland template that looks and reads like all the rest. Take time with your personal summary and your interests section to differentiate and humanise your CV. Don’t point out the obvious by writing what someone with your job description does. Your interests need to be real…what do you like reading, where do you go skiing, what football team do you support, did you win Gold when you competed at the World Championships.
2. Work experience should be relevant to the role….if you used to stack shelves through University but have several years of experience beyond this then simply list those non relevant roles in a chronology. Be concise but go into more detail with relevant examples to the role.
3. Have a clear and concise skills matrix and put this at the top of your CV. Rate your skills in either number of years commercial / academic / personal experience and if you feel confident rate them as beginner / intermediate / expert. This allows your CV a fast track to the full review pile.
4. An achievements section can really help you stand out…remember to focus on what YOU did. Too many CVs fall foul of talking about what the team achieved and not the individual did to support this.
1. Do your research and put together a cover note, picking out the salient points from your CV and matching them to the specification….essentially a mini CV that points out your relevance. Cover the reasons why the role is of interest and why you consider yourself a strong applicant.
2. Research the company and highlight where not only your skills match the role but the commonalities and synergies that exist between the prospective employer and your previous experience
3. When you are applying for a role you have little experience of, ensure you make an effort to explain why and evidence the fact that you have gone through steeper learning curves in the past with a quick return for previous employers.
4. Briefly discuss the market / technology and the direction it is going in and why that interests you.
5. Add links to work you have previously done….either a code base, website designed, piece of software you wrote.
6. Add links to your social media and make your social media relevant.
Things to avoid:
1 More than 2-3 pages in length
2 Removing skills because you feel they are not relevant
3 Adding skills you don’t have
4 Lots of colours, fonts, boxes, images or photos.