IT Professional CV

Sunday, November 15th, 2009 - CV format, CV Writing, Employment, IT Jobs, Professional CV

IT Professional CV

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The IT Professional CV is the instrument by which many IT Professionals will advance their career. It therefore requires an amount of attention and effort to create the right document

However, many of those we see in review in our Professional CV Help service, suffer the same old problems, and resultant job application to interview rates of less than 1 in 10.

This article is written to help you avoid those mistakes, and get the job you want quicker.

The IT Profession is driven by technology, and often most water cooler and conference discussion and focus is around the latest piece of hardware or software. When job applicants come to write their own CV’s, this market focus is hence high in their minds. However, most find on undertaking a skills audit that either they feel they don’t have the ability to deploy that skill, or that they don’t have the precise level of skill required by the job advert.

The second problem to address is that of detail. When implementing or maintaining a modern IT system or IT solution, most IT professionals need and hence love to delve in the detail of the technology. In part, this learning and speed to implement/solve makes them feel better about themselves, and they observe gains them respect from other IT professionals around them. They hence when writing their own IT professional CV, try to place this same detail of expertise into their Professional CV.

The result is most often, a CV which is killed through long lists of skills of the job in a bulleted format, which define the job and its role over what the job applicant achieved. Much as though this could possibly be read by a fellow IT Professional, most HR people will reject these applications because they don’t address the job advert basics.

IT Professional Services

If I asked you what the core of IT Professional Services was, then most would say that it is the successful and timely deployment of a reliable and maintainable end user/client focused system.

The oldest joke in IT Professional Services is that the ideal outsourced IT team is a IT Professional, an accountant and a dog: with the dog keeping the IT Professional away from the operational equipment! But we all know that this is unrealistic, and hence good IT Professionals are always learning about new systems, more about old systems, and then making them perform to a higher performance and more reliably for the end user client. Hence the core of any IT Professional is about:

  1. Existing knowledge (skills and qualifications)
  2. Ability to learn new systems (experiences)
  3. Ability to meld the two, and hence deliver to time reliable end user systems this requires (creative logic plus project management, ideally with attention to detail)

Yet pick up most IT Professional CV’s, and you couldn’t pick out these skills in the whole job application, let alone the Cover Letter or the first half page of the CV

The answer is in the job advert

The problem with most IT Professional CV’s is that they are written in isolation, and then not tailored or checked in reference to the job advert.

If you have already written your own CV, don’t worry yet about rules like making it less than 2 pages long. Put all relevant details in your draft CV, remembering that skills deployed in the last five years will be seen as the most relevant to an HR professional.

Now, when reading job adverts for positions you could apply for, focus on the systems and associated skills. By reading against your own draft CV, answer the following questions:

  1. Can you find the required systems or technology skills in your CV?
  2. Do you have the duration/certification of experience required?
  3. Do you have experience in that sector – eg: telecoms, wage processing, etc?

Any requirements with regards to skill depth beyond this you should remain open minded about. Most often when selecting jobs to apply for, I find that IT Professionals read something and then become too critical of themselves/their experience, focusing on details over the major issues. The three key issues to answer are systems, certification and sector: everything else can be addressed directly.

Keywords in your CV

More an more CV’s are now being constructed with specific keywords sections, to make it easier for both CV Scanning software and manual CV sifting. These often replace or look similar to a summary of skills section. The question therefore is: do you need a keywords or summary of skills section? In an ideally written CV and for most positions, no you don’t. It just takes up space, and repeats what the next two pages of your CV body will tell the systems or person anyway. However, accepting that the IT Profession is a technical role and that most likely it will be an HR professional undertaking the first-pass skim to ensure that your job application has the right skills, think about adding a short keywords/skills section below your personal summary. That way, they don’t have to get past the first half of the first page to know that you have the required skills for the job!

Apply online or pick up the phone?

As IT Professionals are very IT driven and aware, the temptation is to always to apply online. However, accepting that you have the basics of systems, certification and sector, you need to check that you have the right skills mix and that you will fit with the manager and team. Further, making any assumptions that the line manager will see your CV before or immediately the after HR manager, has to be tempered by the fact that a CV Scanning system or at least a manual sift against the job description will occur before the line manager may review your technical skills. Unless the job is standard or bulk production for that company, in general HR people will be unaware of the subtleties of one IT skills set to another.

Therefore, when picking jobs to apply for via Job Boards, choose employers over recruiters, and always call before applying. Our downloadable book to the Telephone Interview gives you a full guide on to successful accomplish a successful telephone interview, but the outcome should be that:

  1. You and they know that you have the skills to do the job
  2. You have asked three key questions about the position
  3. The manager is awaiting your application

Writing your IT Professional CV

Now that you know what is required in your CV, write up the relevant skills, qualifications and experiences in STAR format:

  • Situation – what was the situation? What was required to be achieved?
  • Task – what was the task your were to undertake? If you were part of a larger team, focus on your task within the wider team context
  • Action – what did you do, why that choice?
  • Result – what was the outcome? If a contractor, was the contract extended as a result of your excellent work?

Only now you have a CV which you know to be bespoke CV you know to be aligned against the employer requirements, should you implement rules such as a maximum of 2pages in length.

Once you have completed your CV, have at least three friends read it through, or make use of our Professional CV Review service. Once again, go back and check that it addresses the key job description and job advert requirements of systems, certification and sector.

A successful IT Professional CV is about focusing on what the employer wants, and matching your combination of skills, qualifications and experiences against it. Don’t make the mistake of creating an isolated and bullet ridden four page document, and your career will successfully advance.

Good Luck!


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2 Responses to “IT Professional CV”

  1. uberVU - social comments Says:

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by cv4biz: IT Professional CV: IT Professional CV
    The IT Professional CV is the instrument by which many IT Professionals will…

  2. Steve Lohman Says:

    Thanks, great advice!

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