It can be too easy to construct a generic CV and adopt a scattergun approach to your job, especially if you’re just starting out. However, a generic CV is never the best way to deliver information to a recruiter, let alone to secure an interview.
Job searching is all about quality, not quantity, especially when it comes to the IT sector, and while it’s unrealistic to tailor your CV to every individual job you apply for, it’s important that your CV at least shows that you have the relevant skills.
With that in mind, here are our tips on crafting the perfect IT CV that says exactly why you’re the best fit for the role.
Think about the architecture
Hopefully, you’re familiar with the essential components of a CV, but to communicate your skills effectively, you must consider its structure and appearance. If you’re not sure of the basics, here’s a quick reminder: format your CV in a simple font such as Arial and use headings to distinguish between different sections.
Include a brief profile about your career history and what you’d like to do in your next role – few do this, yet it’s something that recruiters love, as it prevents them from contacting people about jobs they’re not interested in.
When it comes to describing your current/past roles, consider breaking the information down into daily responsibilities and achievements. Don’t include irrelevant roles, either. Most employers aren’t bothered about your Saturday job at Tesco.
Try to keep to two pages max, you can always elaborate in your cover email / letter. The number one rule of thumb: keep it simple! No jaunty paper or photos, please.
Zoom in on technical skills
As an IT professional, it’s likely your CV contains a wealth of technical knowledge, from storage solutions and hardware, to programing languages and networks. While it’s wise to include all your technical know-how, remember to highlight what’s relevant to the job you’re applying for. List your skills and achievements in short bullet points to help recruiters scan your CV more easily. Appropriate certifications can be added here, too.
Since IT professionals are often competent in a range of software and programs, you could introduce a ‘Specialities and competencies’ section underneath your personal summary, providing a clear and concise list of your areas of expertise, whether gained at work or through extra-curricular activities.
Consider which skills are the most relevant to the IT job in question. If you’re unsure, simply look at the job advert and identify the keywords used to describe the role and requirements. Then try to mimic this language in your CV.
In addition to listing your competencies, don’t forget to include metrics such as qualifications, internships and experience to show your level of knowledge.
Highlight your soft skills
There’s more to IT than technical skills. As with any job, transferable skills are an essential requirement for success.
Common soft skills required in IT jobs include communication, teamwork and self-motivation. This is largely because you may spend much of your time working alone, on departmental or cross-departmental projects and communicating with staff.
Ensure that your CV bridges the gap between IT and personality to prove that you’re a great fit for the role and the company.
Show your value
Many candidates don’t put across their added-value, i.e. where they have performed outside their normal job role and contributed to the business, so incorporate evidence of this where you can. To make your added-value (skills, abilities and achievements) more impressive – and to stand out – quantify them with facts and figures. Everyone loves a stat!
For example, if you’re a desktop technician, you might list duties on your CV such as ‘relocating desktops’ or ‘supporting staff with IT requests’. However, by including metrics against those duties, you can add more value to your skill set. ‘Relocating 300 desktops and upgrading three internal database systems’ or ‘supporting 500 users and responding to requests within two hours’ sounds far more impressive, so don’t be afraid to use numbers and facts wherever possible to prove why you’re a desirable hire for any IT job.
Creating a CV from scratch is one of those jobs that most of us dread and often put off, but investing time into producing a document which is tailored to the IT role in question will pay off. Take into account the tips above and let your CV sell you!