If the IT industry is your calling, and you want to fine-tune your CV, you have a special challenge. Recruiters will be paying very close attention to your choice of words. It’s commonplace for companies to receive so many responses from offers on job boards and networking websites that they frequently subject those applications to technology that automatically detects relevant keywords and rejects those without.
One thing the recruiters have learned is that over 50% of job hunters don’t even have the right qualifications for the job they are seeking. That is why it is so important to make sure the words in your CV reflect your competency level for your chosen field. You will want to make sure those word choices reflect your knowledge of the trends and technology in the technical industry, as well as your accomplishments and character.
Staying on top of trends will give you discretion and insight into putting your CV together. To learn those trends, you need to make sure you are plugged into the news in the technical industry. If you don’t already, subscribe to a major technical publication like CNET. You could also find a tech news junkie or mogul to follow on twitter or their blog. Learning the trends won’t necessarily add to your job history or accomplishments but it will give you a perceptive, well-rounded, and interesting style that will make you stand out from the rest.
Another thing your CV should emphasise, if you want an IT career, is your technological prowess. Any job in the IT industry will require some technical knowledge, but the degree of emphasis will depend on the position. If you are going into sales or management, for instance, you don’t want too many technical skills in your CV because those will be secondary to the job.
Now it is time to figure out what you have to offer an employer. First, grab a pen and notebook. On one page, write down all of the technical skills you possess. If any of your skills are outdated, delete them. This is where keeping track of current technological trends is useful. Some examples of currently valuable skills are: cloud computing, mobile application development, and HTML5.
On another page, create a column for each job to which you will be applying. If you are only applying for one job, your task is simpler, but you won’t necessarily be transferring all the skills from one page to the other. Your task is to only insert applicable skills to each job. If you are applying for one job, only write down the skills that are relevant to a standard job description. If you are applying for two, separate any applicable skills. If you aren’t sure, check out some job ads and descriptions.
Once you know the skills that are relevant to your career objectives, you should further break the skills down by category. For example, HTML and Java fall under languages. Unix and Windows are Operating Systems. Those categories should be included in the format of your CV.
Now you should have a good idea of your skills and their categories as they pertain to your objectives, but the employer will still want to know the experience you have with each skill and how you have used them. For instance, for each skill you may put the number of years you have been using it. If you want to go into more detail, you can add your level of expertise, such as intermediate or advanced. It is generally best to only list the skills with which you have the most experience. However, if you have one that you have been using for a shorter length of time, you can still find a way to include it.
If, despite the slight experience, you managed to accomplish something good with it, you can describe how you did it and how it helped your company or client. You may also allude to the low experience by giving credit to another, similar type of skill which helped you to easily grasp the new skill. That way you can show off your accomplishment as well as the ease to which you adapt to new technology.
Listing accomplishments on a CV is something employers pay close attention to when determining an applicant’s potential worth. The accomplishments provide concrete information that the employer can use to predict future success. It should be included in addition or supplemental to a list of your past employers. Make sure you are not just describing your job duties.
It’s a common practice to list duties under each employer, but that doesn’t distinguish you from the rest of the applicants. Even people who are bad at their jobs have duties, but that doesn’t mean they do them. You should show that you not only did your job but you accomplished something of value for the company or client. That might simply involve rewording it and adding concrete details. For example, a job duty would say “I was responsible for developing computer application for training”. An accomplishment would say, “Trained 170 employees with a web-based instructional portal designed using HTML, Power Point, Microsoft Office, and Captivate.”
Last but not least on the things for a winning CV is character. That might seem to be a lower priority for an IT professional than, for instance, a non-profit worker. After all, you primarily work with machines, not people. However, unless your interviewer is a robot, the person who will decide your fate at the company is going to be swayed on how much they trust and like you. Another thing you can include that may kill two birds with one stone, if you are short on work history, is to list any technically relevant volunteer work.
Writing a CV for an IT career is a challenge. You must strive to convey yourself as precise, futuristic, and ambitious. If you approach it like a competent technology worker approaches a task, like a problem to be solved, then you will be on your way to the best career possible.