A good CV is the first step to securing a new IT job

The competition for IT jobs is fierce, so to make sure you land the role you want you need to ensure your CV is as good as it can possibly be. Part of the challenge of this when it comes to a technical CV is that there is certain language you will want to use to explain certain tasks, but it may be read by a non-technical person from human resources, for example. These people will be looking primarily for keywords to match the CV with a given vacancy, and so your main aim should be to make it easy to read, concise and free of technical language except in the key skills and technical skills sections.

Even if you approach direct employers rather than an agency, it is important not to mention every technical skill you have because it will be distracting from the rest of the content. Instead, read through the job listing carefully and mention only what is most relevant.

It is also important to mention how long ago your technical skills were last used so the reader can gauge how current your knowledge is – for instance, if you last did something 10 years ago, it may be outdated by today’s standards.

The formatting of a technical CV is much the same as a non-technical one, in that it will have clear headings, be confined to two pages of A4 at most, and will be concise and easy to read. Although it will be used to apply for technical jobs, the employer will also be very interested in interpersonal skills and the ability to present information accurately and concisely, so make sure the content is not padded with unnecessary information and everything that needs to be said is mentioned.

The purpose of a CV is to explain why you are perfect for the role advertised, so in the opening paragraph it is crucial you mention your technical skills as well as relevant experience to the business or advertised position. Beyond that, the key skills area is where you can put skills, experience and work in specific projects that may increase your chances of an interview, and it also allows you to mention achievements; for instance a project you oversaw or software created that saved the company money.

The section of career history often causes problems for applicants because they list everything. Rather than do this, focus on only what is relevant to the position you are going after. Do this by examining what is required in the new job and then list your roles in previous jobs that explain clearly how you have acquired the skills from previous jobs that are necessary for the job you want. This will remove any doubt from the employer’s minds and remove the necessity for them to work out why you are valuable – if they have to try and work it out, they will reject the CV, so it is important to make it obvious in no uncertain terms.

Similarly, the education section is often prone to being unnecessarily embellished. If you have a higher education qualification like a degree or PhD, you may decide, depending on the length of the CV, to remove the lower qualifications completely because the higher education qualification could not be obtained if you were lacking GCSEs and A Levels. Unnecessary information dilutes the more important information and bores the reader, which can ultimately cost you the chance of an interview.

These guidelines explain how to create a great CV to give you every chance of securing the job. Beyond that, it is also imperative to write an engaging cover letter that explains how you heard about the role and why you are the best person for it.