How to write a killer tech cv
The Tech industry is booming, and shows no signs of slowing down. According to the third annual Tech Nation Report, digital tech jobs across the UK has grown at more than twice the rate of non-digital tech sectors.
Additionally, the UK is leading the rest of Europe in terms of investment. Since 2011, the UK has received £28bn, compared with France’s £11bn and Germany’s £9.3bn.
As the industry grows, so does the demand for top employees. So, in such a competitive environment, how do you make your tech CV stand out when it’s sitting amongst 100 others?
According to the dictionary, the definition of Curriculum Vitae is:
“a brief account of a person’s education, qualifications, and previous occupations, typically sent with a job application.”
Whilst this does accurately describe the essentials that create a CV, I would dispute that a CV is much, much more than this. Your CV is:
- Your introduction to a business
- Part of your professional portfolio
- A key part of your personal marketing campaign
- An advert selling yourself
Your CV plays a huge role in whether you’ll be invited to interview or not. So creating a CV is much more than just putting your work experience down on paper. And if you are working in contracting roles, keeping your CV up-to-date and fresh is essential.
A lot of recruitment agencies use Application Tracking Systems (ATS) to sift through CVs and find the ones with the right experience. Why is this relevant to you? Because you need to make sure your CV is one of the ones that gets picked up (for the right reasons). Content, keywords and layout are three elements that play a role in the selection process. You can read more about how an ATS will read your CV here.
Within the Information Technology industry, there are many different kinds of IT roles. With this in mind, we’re going to explore the dos and don’ts when writing a general tech CV.
Avoid the No Pile
There are some common mistakes that often crop up on tech CVs. When writing yours, ensure you avoid the following:
Missing Project Specifics
It’s not enough to just outline the projects you have worked on. You should go into more detail, sharing the software you used and the specifics of the process. Doing so will increase the impact your CV has when it hits the recruiter’s inbox. You should try to answer the following kinds of questions:
- Did the app you designed lead to an increase in retention?
- Did you use any extra coding tricks to enhance the user experience?
- Did the booking system you implemented lead to an increase in turnover?
Be realistic with your knowledge of programming languages, software, etc. Although having a wide range of skills on your CV seems like a good idea, exaggerating your knowledge will backfire in your face. Don’t present yourself as an expert if you only know the basics. In the same vein, don’t be modest. If you’re a pro in a specific skill, make that clear on your CV.
To make sure you come across truthly, including an honest rating next to each skill. This could be number of years of experience or a rating like “intermediate”.
All Talk, No Action
Putting down on paper what you can do is all well and good but, if you can showcase examples of your work, you’ll easily be able to back up your skills and expertise. Provide links through to online samples of your work. If appropriate, an online portfolio of your work will perfectly complement your CV.
Building the Perfect Tech CV
So how do you get started? Thanks to the evolving tech world we exist in, there are tools you can use to help create your CV. If you use LinkedIn, you can use this site to build a CV using your profile. It saves your time, includes the valuable information about your experience and keeps your professional profile consistent across the board.
The following sub headers are CV must-haves:
A recruiter shouldn’t have to spend much time on a CV trying to find a candidate’s technical skills. The most effective way to highlight your technical ability is to include a “Technical Summary” at the top of your CV. This section should cover the following:
- Technical certifications
- Operation systems
- Programming and languages
- Web and database applications
Personality on Paper
It’s important to remember that, whilst technical ability is vital to stand out in this industry, interpersonal skills bear as much importance. Not only should a recruiter think you are skilled on a professional level, you should also come across as likeable and a team player. You can highlight your personal attributes in the following sections of your CV:
- Hobbies and Interests
- Work Experience section
- A brief personal summary
For each role you include in the Work Experience section, show how the work you did benefited the business. The best accomplishments to highlight are the measurable ones, so you should include performance figures when possible. Give examples of your how your work had positive results for the company, asking and answering the following questions:
- What was the challenge I faced?
- How did I overcome this challenge?
- How did my work benefit the business?
Before You Submit
Once your tech CV is finished, it doesn’t mean it’s got-to-go. Before you send it off, consider the following:
- Have you proofread your CV thoroughly? It’s always worth getting a second set of eyes on it.
- Have you used keywords that are relevant to the industry throughout your tech CV. You can easily find examples of the standout words in the job ads for the roles you’re applying for.
- Have you clearly highlighted your skills and attributes that make you the perfect candidate?
- Does your CV have the right balance of technical and personal?
- Is you CV short, clear and concise?
- Does it follow a logical order?
- Does it truly represent you?