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What's the best way to write an IT CV?

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by soundian, May 11, 2012.

  1. soundian

    soundian Gigabyte Poster

    After seeing some pretty poor CVs recently (not just on here) I thought it might be good to share our CV strategies.

    After lots of research, and advice from a very good friend of mine, I do it this way:

    Key skills: I list me sell-able skills that I can back up with experience in my employment section. If that's still a bit sparse I'll fill it out with cert stuff that is mentioned in the job spec. I emphasise anything in the job spec by putting it at the top of the list, and keep the list to about 10.
    If I've still got their interest by this point, I just need to bring it home.

    The employment section is next. This is the crucial part. Personally I Like to see a general description of someone's main duties, which should tally with their key skills, and some other skills they learned that aren't worthy enough to put in the key skills section. If you can't justify what you put in your key skills here, any sane HR peep is going to put you in the round filing cabinet on the floor so the cleaning lady can dump your @ss in the trash.

    One of the things that I was missing in this part was bigging myself up a bit. My friend used to be a project troubleshooter for BASF in the 70s when they were massive. When I showed him my last draft of my CV, I watched what he did. He read my education section first, then my employment history from earliest to latest, and turned round and said "That's a very good CV, but you don't tell me where you've went the extra mile. Bloody Scotsmen, you're all the same.". I added "Achievements" onto my CV and literally doubled the phone calls I was getting.

    After that is my "Professional Qualifications" section.
    Then I do the rest of my education, obviously these two can be merged. I'm old enough now that my school qualifications are entirely irrelevant, but it feels strange leaving them off. Maybe I'm trying to hold on to part of my youth. Maybe I just want to fill up real estate on the page.

    Nothing else really. The rest of it goes in the cover letter, which is an art in itself.

    So, how do you do it?
    Certifications: A+, N+,MCDST,MCTS(680), MCP(270, 271, 272), ITILv3F, CCENT
    WIP: Knuckling down at my new job
  2. Boffy

    Boffy Megabyte Poster

    Nice tips Soundian. However there is one thing I noticed a lot of users haven't considered.

    It is important to say you get about 12 seconds to capture someone's attention when reading your CV. If they like what they see, you then have about another 2 minutes additional time for them to read your CV and decide whether you're a strong candidate for the interview.

    Therefore it is extremely important to consider the presentation of the CV and keep it short. I personally keep my CV to less than one and a half pages - but it does depend on your preference and history.

    If your not having any luck with your current CV, try something new and outrageous. Perhaps try different CVs for applications (I have 4 CV variations for the same role), analyse what got a reply and try to improve on it.
    Last edited: May 11, 2012
    Certifications: BSc Computer Game Technology, A+
    WIP: MOS 2010
  3. soundian

    soundian Gigabyte Poster

    I think concise is a better word than short. The overall length doesn't matter, especially if someone has a very varied work life.

    I use jobsites as a gauge of my CV. I'll put a new revision up on about 10 websites every 2 weeks and see what interest it generates. CV harvesters are only interested in people who have recently updated their CVs and the phone calls die off after about a week, leave two weeks between revisions and you know which CV is generating the calls.
    Certifications: A+, N+,MCDST,MCTS(680), MCP(270, 271, 272), ITILv3F, CCENT
    WIP: Knuckling down at my new job
  4. Cunningfox

    Cunningfox Byte Poster

    White space is wasted space (but obviously keep it readable). Keep short/concise is good but wasting half a page not good imo you could be using that space to provide additional reasons to employ you if you fill 2.5 pages with everything you can think of then it will fit on 2 pages when cut down. I would keep it at 1 full page for a uni/college/school leaver, 2 full pages for someone with some experience or 3 full pages for someone with a lot of experience as a general rule. I would say that you also should never just leak on to the next page. If a page just has a short paragraph or a few lines it simply won't get read or worse it'll get lost if hard copies are made making the CV look unfinished and destined for the bin.

    One of the biggest problems is that recruitment agents often stick their own headers and information on your CV before sending them on and can often make it look worse. Equally though they can tweak the layout to suit the employers they deal with.
    Certifications: CCNP, CCNA, MCP
    WIP: ??

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