So, you've gone as far as you can go in your current IT job. The tasks aren't demanding, there's no immediate promotion opportunity, and your bosses won't give you a raise. You're determined to find a position with another employer, which means revising your CV. Where do you start? Here are some handy tips to writing a professional IT CV that will stand out from the rest.
Keep it short and simple
Your CV will be competing with hundreds of others for the same position, and HR people don't have time to absorb your life story. All you want at this point is to make a short, sharp impression that will get you the interview. That means keeping it readable in a little under ten seconds while landing you on the 'yes' pile. Concentrate on the salient points: name and contact details, a summary of your professional career, key skills, work experience, and education.
Application Tracking System
You might thing simplicity means something visual. After all, what packs more information into an easily digestible format than a graph? Don't do it. You want your CV to be compatible with an application tracking system (ATS), which is a system that scans CVs en masse and categorises them based on skills and experience.
This makes modern CV writing a little like a search engine optimization (SEO) exercise; you're writing for a machine as much as a human reader. Increase your chances of success by keeping fonts simple and consistent, and keeping language simple. Have a basic, generic CV handy, but tailor it for each jobs to include pertinent IT-related key words and skills that show up in the job description.
Another way to appeal to an ATS is to bullet-point your achievements and quantify them where possible. However, don't concentrate just on operational metrics. Read between the lines to see what's valuable to that business. That might mean demonstrating how you helped improve the way your last employer's IT functions worked, which would be especially important if you're after a leadership role.
Show them you're human
Business value isn't just about process optimisation either. It's also about how easy you are to work with. Highlight your soft skills, not just your technical chops. That might include building alliances between different business departments and IT, working with different kinds of stake holder when organising a hackathon, or bridging the knowledge gap between the technical team and the board.
On that note, this is a good time to get community volunteer work in. Help out (or speak) at conferences. Contribute to open source projects. Anything that shows you're a team player and that you'll do more than just the minimum job requirement.
Show career progression
What was that we were saying about not telling your life story? While you don't want meandering prose detailing every twist and turn, you do need to show a cohesive career progression. Tell your story through your brief, bulleted work history, and try to avoid leaving any loose threads like unexplained gaps in your employment history.
Take it outside
It's 2021, and CVs don't begin and end with a document. You leave a social and professional trail online that people will be sure to look at when building an interviewee shortlist. Make sure your online profiles are impeccable and list them on your CV. That means making your LinkedIn page shine and getting endorsements from the right people. If you've got a blog, some personal technology projects, or even (for software pros) a GitHub repo, now's the time to make them work for you.
After all this, you might still not get a callback. It's a tough world out there. But by putting in this basic preparation, you'll get yourself ahead of the curve. When trying to beat the many other contenders for modern IT & IT Support jobs, every little helps.