Tailor your CV for an IT contracting role
Looking for a new role as an IT contractor? This week, we have Carmel O’Donohoe, an itContracting associate working with the Department of Justice. Carmel shares her tips on tailoring your CV to help you secure your next contract role in IT.
The recession is abating, the IT industry is flourishing and demand for IT contractors has never been greater. Now is the opportune time to do some checks ahead of your next interview. Take a critical look at your CV and ask: ‘Is it working for you?’
Is it optimised and consumable for recruiters, easy to read and does it get to the heart of your skills, experience and knowledge base quickly?
Here are seven sensible tips to ensure that your resume won’t let you down:
1. Make it succinct
A CV should showcase your achievements, but don’t list everything that you’ve ever accomplished. Things change quickly in the tech world. The technology you used even four years ago might already be obsolete. Aim for 2-4 pages max.
2. Pitch perfect and relevant
Tailor. Tailor. Tailor. Research the company first and ensure each CV is relevant to each job application. Add the most relevant experience at the top of your ‘Employment History’. Even if it’s not your current position, a short overview will work. Then rank your most recent IT jobs chronologically with bullet point examples of your experience, and summarise older roles.
3. Clear structure
If you’re not sure on CV layout, here’s an overview of the structure:
Profile is a summary of your technical skills and experience, explaining why you’re qualified for this specific role. Recruiters should find further details backing this up in the work history section. Your profile should be a 2-3 sentence or bullet point section, summarising why you will be a good fit.
For example, with a SharePoint developer role, one bullet point might explain you have 10 years of SharePoint experience, while other bullet points might list your qualifications. Don’t forget to list key soft skills too (e.g. team leader, excellent problem solver, strong communicator).
Skills summary should outline technical skills you are proficient in, and act as a summary of the skills referred to in your ‘Employment History’. You might consider breaking it into subcategories so the reader can quickly scan. Include technical skills, programming languages, tools and operating systems you have a high level of experience, either through employment or otherwise. But only list programs or applications that you could confidently discuss in an interview.
Example of a technical skills section:
- Tools: JBuilder, Dreamweaver, Rational Rose, UltraEdit, Borland C++Builder, Oracle SQL*Plus
- Operating Systems: Linux, Mac OS X, Windows XP
Employment History is a list of your work experience. Include the name of the employer, job title and the dates you were employed in the role. For your current role, enter the date you commenced the role to ‘present’.
Give a brief synopsis of the scope of your responsibility for each position in the proper order as mentioned above (Pitch perfect and relevant). Show how your performance benefited the company. Showcase examples of how past initiatives led to positive outcomes such as enhanced efficiency, faster time-to-market, savings etc.
Qualifications should include your education and IT certifications. Logos for certifications can also be included here. If you are in the process of sitting a certification, include them, however it must be clear that they are in progress.
4. Use keywords
When recruiters are looking for a certain set of skills, they use keywords from their database search. Make sure that you use keywords, the words that are used in the job postings itself. But don’t cram in too many buzzwords, as recruiters will quickly work out what’s going on.
5. Use action verbs, avoid passive words
Active verbs such as ‘executed’, ‘delivered’ and ‘managed’ suggest ownership and delivery. Avoid the passive like ‘assisting with’ or ‘trying to’.
6. Things to avoid
Don’t include your required salary; leave that to the next stage. Also, you don’t provide personal data such as age, marital status, place of birth, and don’t enclose a picture.
Don’t exaggerate your experience because it will come out in the wash, either spotted by the recruiter, during the interview stage, or worse, while you’re on the job.
7. The final professional polish
You never get a second chance to make a first impression – neither does your CV! Avoid typos by spell checking; use one font, white space and bullet points to make it easier to scan. Ensure you name the CV file sensibly as it will be highly visible to recruiters and employers. ‘Jack’s CV draft version 9’ doesn’t have the same ring, now does it!
Are you ready to take on a contracting role? If you think itContracting could be the next career step for you, get in touch about any upcoming opportunities that might suit you.