Knowing what to include and what not to include in your CV for an IT job is tricky. You need to make sure you highlight all your achievements but at the same time, not make it too long. This article aims to help you strike the balance and explain why certain bits of information are best left out.
CV for an IT Job: What to Include and What Not to Include
Picture this, you’re applying for an IT position you desperately want. You have years of experience in your field and know you meet the job requirements. You know the hiring manager would hire you on the spot if they could just spend five minutes with you. But what 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 get off to a flying start. A good CV is a tool designed to put you closer to securing an interview and ultimately the job.
What to Include on Your CV for an IT Job
If you are applying via a recruitment consultant, the only personal information you need is your name and location. If you’re submitting a direct application, you should also include your email address and telephone number.
This is often the section candidates struggle with the most when writing CVs. What to include and what not to include in this section to impress employers? 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 you satisfy their minimum requirements in terms of experience and you also understand the commercial applications of .NET development.
You don’t have to tailor your CV to each role you apply for. Alternatively, you can keep your introduction brief and submit a cover letter or addendum along with your application. In which case, you can use your introduction to highlight achievements that don’t naturally fit elsewhere on your CV.
Your Specific Experience Related to the Role
As well as specialist technical skills, such as the programs and languages, you should also include any soft skills. Communication and people management skills will definitely improve your chances of getting hired.
This might sound obvious, but when applying for a Java Developer position, your CV should mention the words ‘Java Developer’. Never take for granted just because you’re applying for a role requiring particular skills, a recruiter will assume you have them. If the required skill is not on your CV, it will go in the bin. Concisely list your languages and skills, such as MySQL and Docker and what you used those skills for. This shows you are a well-rounded Java Developer with relevant experience.
Evidence what you’re capable of if you can. For example, when applying for IT & digital jobs:
- UX/UI specialists 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
Ordinarily, your qualifications are listed after your work experience but there are exceptions to this. When applying for a graduate job – or any job stipulating a minimum qualification requirement – you should mention your degree in your introduction. You can elaborate on further details, such as the University you attended and your result, in the Education section further on. As you progress throughout your career, your qualifications become less relevant. When you reach this point, you only need to list them towards the end.
Relevant Work Experience
Lengthy CVs that waffle and include irrelevant information such as where you did your first paper round, lack professionalism. Irrelevant details simply won’t present you in the best light to a potential employer.
Instead, list your most recent position first and work back in chronological order, focusing on jobs within IT or digital. Under each job heading, you should state which technologies you used with examples of what you used them for. This helps the hiring manager to build a clear picture of how your career has developed over time.
Consider also how you can demonstrate soft skills on your CV. For example, simply stating that you have excellent communication skills won’t cut it. If your communications skills really are top-notch, prove it by making sure it is free from grammatical errors and communicates your message concisely.
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 goes further. You should also try to make sure your references are relevant to IT or digital.
What to Exclude From Your CV for an IT Job
Irrelevant Personal Information
When it comes to personal details on CVs, knowing what to include and what not to include is really important. Your CV already includes a lot of detailed information about your work history. Information such as your postal address, passport number, date of birth or NI number is irrelevant at this point. Just imagine the consequences if it fell into the wrong hands!
You may be a life-long member of a hiking association. But unless the job in question is related to hiking, don’t waste space on your CV with such information. Although, if you’re a developer and lead a kid’s coding club at weekends, that definitely deserves 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 easily digestible, chronological employment information. This enables the employer to see your recent, relevant employment history at a glance. However, if you have taken a year out to travel or to care for 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. You should ensure your CV is void of typos and spelling mistakes and only uses the Queen’s finest English.
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 need to be on point. The same goes for bragging about having impeccable organisation skills. The layout of your CV should be neat with consistent fonts used for headings and body text.
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.
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. Unless you’re applying for a creative role, don’t 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. Don’t waste space writing a lengthy and meaningless introduction which duplicates your employment and qualification sections. 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.”
We hope you now have a clearer idea, when you write future CVs, what to include and what not to include. If you apply for a role through us, one of our consultants will go through your CV with you. We will never alter your CV without telling you but we will give you the chance to ensure it includes everything a hiring manager expects 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 but we don’t want to give you any nasty surprises in your interview!