What are the essential ingredients of a high-quality information technology CV?
If you're targeting the top IT jobs, you're going to be pitting yourself against the best candidates. Hiring managers will no doubt receive applications from a host of technology professionals, meaning you've got to make a great first impression.
To stand a chance of being invited to interview, you need to have a great IT CV. Your credentials need to jump off the page, convincing prospective employers that you should be on the shortlist.
First and foremost, this means investing in your career development. Meaning, acquire the skills, qualifications and experience an employer would expect of a senior IT professional. Then you need to condense your achievements so that the length of your CV is no longer than two pages, providing evidence of the value you can add to an IT team, department and organisation. Knowing how to produce this all-important document can be the difference between being invited to a job interview and being rejected at the first stage of the recruitment process.
Summarise your achievements
The first thing you should include on your IT CV is your name and contact details. But next, before you move on to your qualifications and employment history, you may wish to include a brief personal statement. This is your opportunity to summarise all your achievements, talents and ambitions, and explain how these relate to the role you have applied for.
You should also highlight your career goals. The statement only needs to be 150-200 words long - it is simply an opportunity to tie all the details on your CV together and make an effective sales pitch to hiring managers who are considering your technology CV application.
Detail your experience
Prospective employers will be interested in your career history, specifically your current role and any positions you have held that make you a suitable candidate to fill their vacancy. Your record should be documented in reverse-chronological order, with dates of employment included. Allocate the most space to recent positions, as these are typically where your key achievements are. If you're applying for a senior role, ensure you detail all your management and leadership skills and experience.
List your IT qualifications
As an IT professional, you're likely to have various industry qualifications and certifications, plus specific skills (e.g. in areas such as programming, development, network management). Employers will only consider candidates who have the requisite technical expertise, so make sure you don't leave anything out. In many recruitment processes, employers test the IT skills of interview candidates using assessments and/or technical case studies, so avoid making any claims you can't back up at a later date.
If you have any niche skills or specialisms, make sure these feature prominently in this section. Employers are always on the lookout for professionals who can do things that others can't, and this is particularly the case in the IT sector. It's important to know how to market your expertise, as this could be your trump card in terms of securing an interview.
Detail your soft skills
Soft skills - such as communication, problem-solving and leadership - may also be important to employers. Faced with a number of high-calibre applicants, all of whom have similar qualifications and levels of experience, these may be used to differentiate between candidates.
The amount of emphasis placed on soft skills depends on the IT job. Some positions require candidates to work largely independently, while others involve regular collaboration and teamwork, and may suit more outwardly confident professionals. If you include soft skills on your IT CV, it's important to provide evidence of your achievements and explain how these can offer value to potential employers.
Get the format right
Hiring managers do not have long to study each individual CV and make a decision as to whether an applicant should be invited to interview. As such, IT CVs should be limited to two pages, focusing only on relevant details which apply to the job in question. If you cannot list your achievements in the space of two pages, be selective in terms of what you include.
Before submitting your CV, it's essential to check the document for spelling, punctuation and grammar mistakes. You also need to ensure everything is in the same font and style, and that paragraph spacing is consistent throughout. Producing a professional, error-free document shows you take pride in your work, a quality employers will be looking for.
Keep your CV up to date
It's important to treat your CV as an evolving document. You should be adding new skills and experiences as you go, making regular amendments as your career develops. This is particularly important in the IT sector, where new technologies and techniques are emerging all the time. If you fail to invest in your career development, it will not take long for some of your skills to become obsolete. And if this occurs, employers will not be interested in inviting you to interview, let alone offering you a job.