How to Create a Top CV for Your Next IT Job
With half of the UK’s IT professionals now looking for a new job, it takes more than a list of skills to get an interview. When you’re up against that much competition, you need a CV that stands out from the rest.
Hiring managers and recruiters are bombarded with job applications every day, and they need to find ways of sifting the good from the bad in the most efficient way possible. You may be confident in your abilities but if your CV doesn’t highlight that, it could be discarded, along with the great job opportunity, with the hundreds of other CVs that don’t make the grade.
David Freeman, MD from one of the UK’s longest-running IT recruitment agencies offers advice to job applicants, “For the past ten years, we’ve worked with some of the UK’s leading tech employers and start-ups, and thousands of IT professionals from around the world. With the best intention in the world to delve through the finer details of every CV, it’s impossible. Recruiters and hiring managers don’t have time to read between the lines. They need to see in seconds whether that applicant has what’s required to do the job. It’s a real shame if a great candidate is missed simply because their CV missed the most important and relevant aspects of that person’s skillset.”
Here’s our advice, and theirs, on how to secure your next IT job in 2018:
- Always list your top skills first. Follow the style of the job description, which will have typically been written with the most important requirements at the top. Those recruiting will be looking for the closest match of these priority skills.
- Present your information in a way that can be skimmed quickly. Use bullet points, keywords (match these to the job description), lists and categories such as skills or technical competencies. Highlight accomplishments rather than responsibilities, and keep your detail relevant to the job. One size does not fit all. Your CV shouldn’t exceed 2 pages so it’s always a good exercise to go through and edit your content to keep it succinct and highly tailored to the job you’re applying for.
- Do your research on the job and company you’re going for. When it comes to IT skills, employers are looking to solve a problem or forge forward with new technology. How do your past experiences or qualifications help to deliver that solution? Demonstrate that you understand their business requirements as well as their technical needs. This will help with interview questions too.
- To be successful in IT, a commitment to life-long learning is essential. Show what you know but also what you’re doing to continuously build on that knowledge. What courses, personal projects or forums are you involved in that will help you to stay sharp and relevant for the job?
- Make sure you have the essential technologies and tools for the role, but don’t feel limited by them as tools do change. If you’re going for an Ops role, for example, Python will undoubtedly be a pre-requisite however you can show other skills and tools, such as Ansible, Docker, Puppet or Chef, which will significantly add to your resume. Read up on the role and favoured tools early on in the job application process and start courses or personal projects if need be to build experience.
It’s tempting to fire off a pre-designed CV to a bunch of jobs in the hope that something sticks but you’ll soon find that a generic approach like this will leave high and dry – which can knock your confidence as a result. If you put the time in and personalise each CV to suit the job, the recruiter or employers is much more likely to notice you, and to feel that they are the only company you’re interested in working for.
Take a look at our latest articles on in-demand technical roles in the UK to see what skills you should have in your CV, or view recent tech job vacancies for further examples.