CV lying on a desk with a pair of glasses on top and a laptop close by

CVs What to Include & What Not to Include When Applying For an IT or Digital Role

You’re applying for an IT position you desperately want. With years of experience in your field and meeting the job requirements, you’ve got every chance of being the successful candidate, you just need to convince the appointing employer that you’re the right person for the job.

A CV is one of the first and most important components of the job application process. Its purpose is to secure you an interview. Naturally, it needs to stand out and sparkle to ensure your application goes to the next stage.

You could be the perfect candidate for the job. You just know the hiring manager would hire you on the spot if they could just spend five minutes with you. But if another candidate’s CV looks better than yours, you will never get the opportunity to show them how fantastic you really are.

Knowing what to include and what not to include on your CV will help your application get off to a flying start and put you closer to securing an interview and ultimately the job.

To give you a helping hand, take a look at our guide below, at what you should and should not include on your CV when applying for an IT or digital role.

What to Include on Your CV

Personal details

If you are applying for a job through a recruitment consultant, the only personal information you need on your CV is your name and location. If you’re submitting a direct application, you should also include your email address and telephone number.

Introduction

This is often the section candidates struggle with the most. What do employers want to see in this section? Well, have you ever been told that you should tailor your CV to the role you are applying for? Your introduction gives you the perfect opportunity to do just that.

Let’s say you’re applying to a job advert with a company who are looking for a .NET Developer with at least 2 years’ commercial experience. Tailor your Introduction to suit the role by stating how long you have been a .NET Developer and giving an example of what you used it to achieve. This demonstrates that not only do you satisfy their minimum requirements in terms of experience but that you also understand the commercial applications of .NET.

If you don’t want to tailor your CV to each role you apply for, you can always keep your introduction brief and submit a cover letter or addendum along with your application.

Your experience related to the specific role

As well as including any IT or digital skills, such as the programs and languages you have worked with, include interpersonal skills that will help your application stand out, such as knowledge of a second language, communication and project management skills.

It might sound obvious, but if you are applying for a Java Developer position, your CV should include your experience working as a Java Developer. Never take for granted that because you are applying for a role with a particular technology that the hiring manager will assume this is what you do. Concisely list the languages and skills you have used, such as knowledge of MySQL Databases and Docker, to show the employer you are a well-rounded Java Developer with hordes of relevant experience.

Evidence what you’re capable of if you can. For example, when applying for IT & digital jobs:

  • • UX/UI designers should include a link to your online portfolio
  • • Developers might include a link to their GitHub profile
  • • Web designers could include links to websites they have built

Qualifications

If you’re applying for a graduate job which stipulates a minimum requirement of a 2:1, this should feature prominently on your CV including details of the University you attended and your result. As you progress throughout your career, your qualifications become less relevant than your experience but you should still include any which are relevant to the job.

If applying for a job as a Business Analyst, you probably don’t need to mention a certificate in Aromatherapy that you took as an extra curricular activity whilst at University.

Relevant work experience

Lengthy CVs that waffle and include irrelevant information such as where you did your first paper round will show a lack of professionality, business acumen and simply won’t present you in the best of lights to a potential employer.

Instead, list your most recent position first and work back in chronological order, focusing on jobs within IT or digital.

Stating which technologies you have used in each position helps the hiring manager to build a clear picture of how your career has developed over time.

References

State simply that ‘references are available upon request’ rather than listing your referees’ full details. Remember to have referees at the ready if your application does go further and try and make sure your references are relevant to IT or digital.

What Not to Include on Your CV

Irrelevant personal information

Your CV includes a lot of detailed information about who you are. If it fell into the wrong hands, information such as your postal address, passport number, date of birth or NI number could be used to steal your identity. There is no reason anyone should need to know these details for a job application anyway so don’t include them.

You might be a life-long member of a hiking association but if the job in question is related to hiking (and IT jobs typically aren’t) then don’t waste valuable space on your CV with such information. On the other hand, if you’e a developer and lead a coding club for kids in your spare time, this would definitely be worth a mention.

Any personal information you include should be tied in somehow to IT or the organisation’s products or services.

Unexplained employment gaps

Avoid making unexplained gaps in employment a feature of your CV. Provide easy-to-read, digestible, chronological employment information, so the employer can see at a glance your entire employment history in recent years.

Never leave the interviewer guessing about your employment history or about any other information on your CV for that matter. If you have taken a year out to go travelling, or to take care of an elderly relative, make sure you explain this.

Typos, spelling mistakes and grammatical errors

A CV laden with typos, spelling mistakes and grammatical errors won’t do you any favours whatsoever and will merely present you in an unprofessional and idle light.

Before submitting your CV, ensure it is void of typos and spelling mistakes and only uses the Queen’s finest English.

Lies

You should always be able to back up anything you include in your CV with practical examples. We’ve already discussed grammar above but it’s worth reiterating here. If you claim to have excellent communication skills, your spelling and grammar needs to be on point. The same goes for bragging about having impeccable organisation skills, the layout of your CV should be neat with a consistent fonts used for headings and body text.

Likewise, if you say on your CV that you have commercial experience as a JavaScript Developer, you have to be prepared to give a real world example of how you have used it. If you can’t back up the experience you claim to have with examples it is unlikely that you will get the job.

Marital status

Whether you’re single, married, co-habiting or divorced doesn’t matter when applying for a job so avoid including such information on your CV.

Pictures

It is not standard practice in the UK to include a picture on your CV. The only reason a hiring manager might need a picture of you is for identification purposes. If they do, they will ask for it.

It can be appropriate for a digital professional who wants to show off their creative skills to include a picture. If you’re not applying for a creative digital role, it’s not a good idea to waste valuable space that could be used to convey relevant information.

A lengthy, meaningless introduction

CVs need to be punchy and straight to the point. Wasting valuable space writing a lengthy and meaningless introduction, which virtually sums up what is provided in the employment and qualification sections, should be avoided.

Instead, write a short, concise and punchy sentence to sum up your experience. Something along the lines of…

“Experienced IT Manager with ten years’ experience delivering full life-cycle digital transformation projects.”

Once you submit your CV to one of our consultants, we will go through it with you in detail to make sure it includes everything we know the hiring manager will be expecting to see. If anything is missing, we will ask you to submit an addendum or a cover letter. We want you to have the best possible chance of landing your dream job whilst making sure there are no nasty surprises in your interview.

If you’re looking to make your next career move in IT or digital, Adria Solutions can help you find the perfect role. Our team of experienced recruitment consultants can also give you job application tips and advice, including how to spruce up your CV. Get in touch with the Adria team today.