Following on from our previous blog based on creating the perfect CV for marketing jobs, now I’m turning my attention to the information technology (IT) industry.
Unlike other areas we cover, IT requires a very different approach when putting together your application.
To help make this easier for you, here are some key points you must address to ensure you don’t end up on the reject pile.
Arguably one of the most important elements to remember when applying for multiple IT jobs at the same time is to customise your covering letter and CV.
Once you’ve got the right template, simply tweak it to match the needs of the recruiter or hiring manager.
Business manager at Computer Futures, Emily Heap, said to Jobsite:
“I would say there are more boxes to tick in IT”.
“The technology is what makes the difference in the sector. You can be tested technically, which means your skills levels can be easily measured during the recruitment process.”
While keywords are important in most industries, IT is a completely different kettle of fish.
Recruiters use it as a staple to measure competencies and cultural fit, so you need to look at the job spec and include certain words in your CV.
However, don’t make the mistake of shoehorning them in at every given stage, as this could impact its clarity and the way it’s structured.
Make your skills stand out
You can even go one step further with your keywords/skills and highlight them in bold.
While it might look a bit like a sales piece, it’s actually an easy way for skim readers to instantly recognise your wealth of experience and knowledge.
This can include qualifications, industry certifications and achievements.
Describe your technical skills
IT jobs require a lot of brainpower, so you need to showcase these qualities in a certain way.
For example, simply listing qualifications and certifications simply won’t suffice.
Ideally, you should describe your technical skills and how they were implemented on a day-to-day basis.
It’s worth thinking about including example projects you have worked on too, as it adds an extra sense of credibility.
You may want to highlight how you worked with or managed a team, plus what areas you were responsible for.
And as IT evolves at such a dramatic rate, including a part about how you actively keep up-to-date with the latest trends in your intro paragraph will let an employer or recruiter know that you’re willing to develop your skills off your own back as well.
Don’t sound like a robot
Tone and language is everything in a CV.
You can tell how literate a candidate is, whether they take pride in their work and if they are enthusiastic about the industry.
As well as spicing up the words you use and how you address the reader, the subject of the content is also important too.
For instance, if you talk about your passion for video games in your personal interest, this might not resonate with a business who wants a sociable, team player for their IT department.
Undertaking personal development is a pretty good way of looking positive too.
Self-improvement demonstrates a hard work ethic and convinces employers that you’re the kind of person who benefits from career development and training programmes.
So, don’t be afraid of listing your hobbies and self-development courses you have taken in the personal interests section.
Remember the soft skills
If you think all IT departments are hidden away like the IT Crowd TV series, think again!
While technical skills are undoubtedly the most important in an IT professional’s CV, don’t underestimate the power of soft skills.
Many businesses, organisations and agencies need their IT professionals to effectively communicate with clients and co-workers nowadays to help maintain relationships.
In fact, sometimes they’re required to talk to customers or clients through certain technical issues.
Never say never
If you look at a job spec and notice that you haven’t got every single technical skill or experience required, don’t throw in the towel.
As long as you have roughly 70% of what’s listed, employers and recruiters are usually willing to be flexible.
If the position is truly standing out to you and you’re willing to demonstrate your commitment, this will make up the handful of skills or experience you need.
And remember, even if you aren’t offered one particular job, applying and giving recruiters details of specific examples of technical projects may lead to other opportunities.
Pro recruiter top tip
A lack of skills and/or experience doesn’t have to be a negative. Turn this misconception around by learning how to effectively promote yourself.
- Move quickly – don’t hang about to apply, do it on the day it’s posted and it’ll show that you’re eager.
- Work on your personal pitch – whether you’re putting together your customised cover letter or attending an interview, learn how to successfully promote yourself by highlighting your strengths.
- Include testimonials – don’t wait for the employer or recruiter to ask for personal recommendations, give them a list of lovely testimonials to give your application more oomph!
You can read more about this in our previous blog: ‘4 Steps to Successfully Promote Yourself’.
Overall, the idea of creating a CV for an IT job is to really emphasise your technical skills and avoid the mistake of sounding like a robot.
Don’t be afraid to inject a bit of personality in it and showcase the real you – after all, if you’re going to work with the business on a daily basis, they need someone who is willing to have fun and be a part of the team.
For more tips on how to ‘Shift’ your CV up a couple of notches, you may find this useful: ‘CV Writing Checklist: 11 Steps to a Brilliant CV’.