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4 Tips For Creating A Great IT Resume

An easy to read and enticing CV is paramount in securing you an interview for that much-wanted tech role. Here are some tips to help you achieve this.

Tip 1: Personalise

A great way to make your CV stand out is by trying to include the company and role’s name directly in your CV. This avoids you being put in the generic pile. There are a few chances to do this throughout, such as your summary statement.

In addition, try to use the same language as the job description. For example, pick out keywords from their key responsibilities section and use the same phrases to describe your work experience.

Tip 2: Stick To An Easy-To-Scan Format

Formatting matters. It not only helps applicant tracking system (ATS) software accurately scan your CV, it also saves human recruiters time, enabling them to easily spot salient points.

This is an example of an easy-to-read tech CV format:

  1. Personal information
  2. A summary statement
  3. Experience (in reverse chronological order)
  4. Education
  5. Certifications
  6. Skills
  7. Optional extras (voluntary work, interests and hobbies, portfolio)

Tip 3: Carefully Craft Each Section

Personal Information

Insert your name, current job title, and contact information here. You could add your years of experience after your job title if you feel it’s relevant for the position.

Summary Statement

Think of this as your elevator pitch – the place where you showcase your key assets, helping that recruiter clearly understand why you’re the right candidate for their job. Aim for language that is creative, rather than stock-standard. For example, go for Dedicated software engineer with 5+ years’ experience developing robust code for blue-chip companies, rather than I am a software engineer with 5+ years’ experience and skilled in Python, C, Java and JavaScript.

It’s also a good spot to personalise by sliding in the company name and/or job title. For instance, incorporating a phrase about why you’d believe you’d be a great addition to the team or your interest in working with them, such as Keen to join [insert company name] to assist in developing robust applications for SMEs and blue chips.

Experience

This is usually the place a recruiter begins to quickly determine if your prior work history suits their position. For this reason, start with your most recent job, moving backward in time from there.

List the role, company and period of employment, followed by up to five bullet points under two categories: Key Responsibilities and Key Achievements.

For each category, review the job ad and description, selecting what is most relevant to your experience and skillset. Be mindful of the terminology the recruiter has used, ensuring you use the same when describing your experience. If possible, try to quantify your achievements.

Education

Keep this section short and simple, including your highest level of education. It’s ok to list multiple tertiary qualifications.

Certifications

Keeping up with changes in the tech industry naturally involves extra training. This is the area to showcase what you’ve done, paying attention to list them out in the same way as the requirements in the job ad or description.

Skills

Most employees look for a mix of technical (Agile, Scrum etc.) and soft skills (teamwork, adaptability and so on). The job ad and description will give you a clear indication of what they want. Match that up with the skillset you possess.

For instance, an IT Project Manager job ad may state “Confident managing two concurrent projects”. You would then list “Project scheduling” and “Strategic Planning” in this section.

Additional Sections

Space will dictate whether you can add further sections in your CV, but ideally, your resume should stick to one page.

If you have room, you could consider adding any of the following:

  • Hobbies and interests
  • Portfolio
  • Volunteer work

Ensure they are relevant in some way to the job or industry, or showcase a part of your personality that may pique recruiter interest. The portfolio section is particularly handy if you have an extensive volume of work, on GitHub for example. 

Tip 4: Beat Those Bots

With an increasing number of recruiters using ATS software, it’s essential your CV passes their test. The last thing you want is for it to be rejected before it reaches human eyes.

Here are a few ways:

Concentrate On Keywords

The recruiter effectively decides what keywords are important when creating their job ad and description. These usually centre on skills, qualifications and experience.

Reviewing the recruitment material will help you locate them, so you can then ensure they are sprinkled naturally throughout your resume. Take care not to keyword stuff – if you get past the bots, a human will read your CV and won’t like it!

If you’re unsure about the keywords, there are online resources to help, but a great recruitment consultant can also assist.

Pay Attention To Language

Use section headings the ATS software will recognise, like ‘Experience’ rather than ‘Work History’. Also be sure to match your phrasing to what’s in the job description, as that’s likely to be what the ATS is looking for. This may mean spelling out acronyms.

Text Not Images

Many ATS software convert resumes to text-only files. This means any fancy formatting – including images – will not only get lost, but may render your CV unreadable.

A Final Word – To Fancy Format Or Not?

There are plenty of fantastic platforms you can use to create an eye-catching customised CV. Canva is one, yet another is Adobe if you have that skillset. The pro is that it looks amazing, but the con is you take the risk the ATS software may not be able to read it. This is fine if you’re dealing directly with a human recruiter, but these days, it’s difficult to know.

It appears that Word is the safest option when it comes to getting past those bots and getting you to the next crucial stage – human hands. And of course, the final say is the recruiter; what file format do they require you to use?

If You’re Stuck, We Can Help

Hopefully these tips have helped in your quest to create a stand-out tech CV. But this is just half the story – the other half is your cover letter. We’ve got some more tips on that front in our article next week. In the meantime, if you’d like some extra support putting your resume together, please let us know.

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