With the increased numbers of candidates searching and applying for new roles, a good CV is crucial for securing your next opportunity. However if you talk to people who work in IT recruitment, personnel or those who provide IT career guidance, you often get conflicting advice. Some favour a short 1 page CV with plenty of bullet points, while others recommend a larger and more detailed document. We believe the answer is often in between. We recommending a 1 page CV for those early in their IT career, and up to 3 pages for those with many years' experience.
Before writing your CV, it is good to put yourself in the position of someone who will be on the receiving end of your CV and tasked with short listing candidates for either a contract or permanent position.
In many cases, those involved with IT Recruitment are presented with a number of CV’s from which to select a shortlist. Some will carefully read through each and every CV, but most will be under time constraints and will not. Instead, they will first speed read a pile of CV’s and select a number which initially appear to be of interest. Then have a second more detailed read of the possible candidates before making a final shortlist for interview. Your CV must therefore be clear and concise, whilst including sufficient detail of your marketable skills.
Think about your skills, experience, competencies, unique selling points and achievements, prior to writing your CV. The CV itself should not only be tailored to your own personal skills and achievements, but also the company and role you are applying for.
Use a structured format with clear fonts and short succinct sentences, utilising bullet points to draw the eye to pertinent information. Additionally, do not over use jargon or confusing terminology. We would also recommend that you avoid inserting a photo.
The CV should be well presented with sufficient page margins to allow easy printing. Do carefully spell check the CV and ensure that any spellchecker is set to UK, rather that US or International settings.
We recommend that you have your CV in Ms Word or PDF format and that when you email to apply for a contract or permanent position, you include a short covering note in the body of the email.
The format of a basic CV is below:
Nationality / work permit
Driving Licence / Car owner
A brief statement summarising your skills / hardware / software, the geographical location and role you are ideally seeking.
Your educational details with a brief summary of your technical qualifications and any professional memberships.
Employment History in reverse chronological order (going back 4 – 5 years ideally)
Dates from and toCompany
- Include a summary of the hardware / software environment and the methodologies you have used for each role.
- Summarise your achievements, quantifying them in terms of sales / financial / production benefits. Additionally, your responsibilities and work undertaken for each role.
Employment History continued (following the format from Page 1)
- If your employment history goes back over 5 years, you can list your roles as a short summary of dates worked, company and your job title.
- A short list of your interests or hobbies, with nothing too controversial included.
- We recommend two references, including your most recent employer. Please ensure that their name and contact details are also included. You can also comment that no approach should be made without your prior permission.
A number of years ago, the IT Division of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) produced some recommended layouts for candidates working in the IT sector. These were as follows:
Finally, and most importantly we recommend that you ask a couple of people who work in a similar field to yourself, to proof read your CV before submitting it. Simple mistakes can let you down and prevent your CV from being shortlisted. Quality should not be rushed, and time spent proofing your CV will pay dividends.