Competition for IT and developer roles is increasingly fierce - from junior posts right up to board-level positions. If you want to make the vacancy yours, you have to impress from the start. Here’s our IT CV Advice….
1. Don’t forget the fundamentals
Before we start on the IT-related stuff, you need to check your CV basics. One of the biggest errors? Trying to include too much information. Your CV is a brief you need to check summary of your professional expertise, not a book on your life story. Three pages should be your absolute max. Two is preferable.
Clarity of both language and layout is essential too. Your recruiter will likely have a hideously daunting pile of CVs to sift through. Instead of furrowing their brow with fussy structures and scruffy layouts, consider how you could alter the structure to prioritise the information the recruiter wants to see.
Get the basics right and you’re on your way to CV success.
>> What recruiters want to see on a CV
2. Don’t recycle your last CV (and stay away from your CDs)
As shark with blood, recruiters and HR professionals can sniff a one-size-fits-all CV a mile off. Instead tailor your CV to the job description and person specification. Make it easy for the reader to see that you have the skills they want.
Yes, a deep and honest look inwards at yourself is difficult. But resist that sudden urge to alphabetise your CD collection. Well-considered CVs are the ones that boost your chances of securing an interview. Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V is not always your friend.
3. Make your technical skills sing
Your technical skills will do the heavy lifting on your CV. But instead of simply listing the development languages or programming frameworks you are accomplished in, consider referring to the projects you have completed with them.
Instead of stating that you have worked with Ruby for three years, quantify the number of websites you have built with it.
If you have built mobile apps, explain what they did for the clients’ bottom line or how many times they have been downloaded.
Instead of mentioning that you are familiar with API integration, explain how you saved money by creating a seamless payment gateway for your client’s e-commerce business.
Make your experience measurable. Quantify success with data, figures, percentages. Numbers sometimes speak louder than words.
4. If you are a big softy, shout about it
IT recruiters increasingly want candidates with good soft skills as well as technical chops. Sharp communication skills are in demand - especially in roles where you may need to explain complex concepts to people who think IT is somewhere between black magic and gobbledygook.
Think about where you have overcome unexpected challenges, taken the lead on a successful project or dazzled with your ability to slot into a team. People skills matter - even in a binary world.
5. Make it personal
Too many people underestimate the importance of the personal interests section of their CV. But it’s the only opportunity your recruiter has to glean insight on what you might be like as a person. And that’s important. Because most people want to hire a human with a personality, not a robot who does nothing but hammer out code.
Just remember to keep your personal interests relevant to your application. For example, it probably doesn’t matter that you play badminton every Tuesday. But if you were responsible for starting a thriving badminton club that shows leadership and is something to shout about. Everyone likes to “keep fit”. But if you have committed to completing two marathons per year to counteract hours behind a desk? Yep, that’s something to shout about.
Finally, consider mentioning how you stay on top of developments in your field. IT moves obnoxiously fast. For your skills to remain relevant you have to find a resource that helps you keep pace. Your recruiter knows this. Showing that you are committed to your own personal development will reassure them that investing in you is a safe bet. So think about hack days you have taken part in, podcasts you listen to or influential blogs that you follow.
Best of luck!