Many IT professionals have a vast range of different skillsets and experiences, and contractors can end up working on countless IT projects throughout their careers, but including them all in one CV and emailing it to every tech job you come across isn’t going to help your job search.
We’ve seen several mistakes when it comes to CVs, from spelling and grammar errors to ones that are a few sentences short of being an essay. Whilst your CV should represent you and your style, there are a number of things you can do right now to increase your chances of securing that dream IT job.
Keep it Relevant
The biggest job application mistake we see IT people make is that they don’t take the time to tailor their CV to the role they’re applying for. If you’re going for a Java Developer position and you send your CV that states you’re an “excellent project manager”, it’s unlikely you’ll make it through the first round of screening. I’m not suggesting that you should write a new CV every time you apply for another job but you can create a few templates for your relevant skillsets. For example, have one CV template for tester roles, one for developer roles, and one for project management roles. Each CV template should include your skills, experiences, and career history that are relevant to that area of IT.
Make Your Front Page Easy to Skim
Your CV’s front page is crucial to your job search. Technology vacancies can end up receiving a lot of applications, so many managers will skim-read the first page of a CV for buzzwords to narrow down the list of able candidates. For that reason, the front page of your CV needs to quickly tell the person reading it why you’re an ideal fit for the role. Include a list of your key IT skills below your personal details and career objectives and remember to use relevant keywords. Whilst many employers are becoming more interested in learning about your interests and hobbies, this information can be kept at the bottom of your CV.
How you present your CV as a whole is important too. Make it easy to read and use a clean and consistent layout (there are lots of CV templates out there on Google, don’t be afraid to use them). Use one (only) font that’s common and the right size. Don’t use much bolding or italicising, apart from highlighting “headings” such as employer and role. Leave white space between roles and sections. With headings, use a larger font size to make them easier to find.
Explain What You’ve Done and Who For
Unless you’ve worked for some of the big names in New Zealand’s technology sector, such as Spark or Xero, you might need to write a short sentence under each employer to give some context to what they do, especially if you have overseas experience. Don’t just repeat all the information that’s in the job description, most managers and recruiters can gauge what you did in your previous roles based on their titles. Instead, break down the projects you worked and briefly include the following:
- Project objectives
- Budget size
- Type (Agile, Waterfall etc.)
You should also outline your specific role in the project. This is where the focus of your CV should lie rather than outlining the project in general.
Include Your Social Media & Portfolio
Even if you have all the relevant information on your CV, it can only say so much. To provide Managers with more information on your skills, experiences, interests and employment history, without increasing the word count, it’s a great idea to include a link to your LinkedIn page. However, always remember to check that the information you display on your CV aligns with what’s on your social media, otherwise this could be raised as a red flag. In addition, if you have examples of your work that you would like to show to a prospective employer, then remember to include a hyperlink to your digital portfolio on your CV. However, whether you choose to host your own website or use a platform such as GitHub or Dribbble, make sure it’s updated, clean, and professional.
Triple Check for Mistakes
Although it may seem like basic advice, you can never be too careful when it comes to proofreading your CV. A lot of applicants fail to make it past the first hurdle because of poor spelling and grammar, so ensure it’s free of any mistakes by triple checking it and then have someone else check it afterwards.
Your CV is the first impression a prospective IT employer will make of you so it’s important to make sure it’s the best one possible. To do that, avoid creating a generic CV and instead design a few specialist templates that highlight why your skills and experience make you a great fit for the role. If you would like more CV writing, interview technique or career change and development advice, drop us an email today.