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Creating the ultimate technology CV

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What's the winning formula to produce a powerful, effective and attention-grabbing tech CV? Denise Hudson Lawson shares her five top tips to ensure you and your CV, gets noticed.

Creating a CV for success

It’s a good time to be looking for a job. The UK job market is booming, and in 2014-15 a record number of graduates were hired, with some sectors experiencing a 23% rise in graduate recruitment. The technology industry is no different, currently boasting 45,000 vacancies.

However, despite the number of tech vacancies, some applicants are missing the mark when it comes to getting the desired job. While there can be many reasons for this, an ineffective CV can make it difficult to get that initial foot in the door. A good CV is the first step towards getting you noticed; however, sitting down to write (or revise) your CV, can seem daunting.

So how can you actually write a CV that a potential employer wants to read? While there’s no formula for getting hired, there are common elements to all successful CVs.

1. Understanding profitable skills

There will be certain tech skills that your potential employer will be looking for that underpins the role, from web-based programming skills to mobile application development. It’s important you highlight that you have these hard tech skills clearly labelled in your CV, or show your willingness to upskill quickly.

Beyond these hard skills, companies will look for soft skills such as demonstration of leadership experience or interpersonal skills. Your potential employer needs to know that you will be able to cope with the demands beyond the technical aspect of the role, so be prepared to back up these skills with examples.

2. Highlighting your achievements

Ideally, a CV will profile the most noteworthy parts of your background—things separating you from other people going for the same job. Keep in mind achievements that others may not have, or times you have contributed to a significant success when drafting your CV.

The technology industry is always growing and innovating, so it’s also important you demonstrate your proactivity in keeping up to date with current industry trends.

3. Locating a target job

Finding a job that matches your skills can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. While there is nothing wrong with passively waiting for employers to come to you, a more effective strategy is seeking out and applying to vacancies and networking.

4. Critically reading a job description

Critically examining the organisation enables you to tailor your CV, helping you to stand out from poorly targeted applications. It’s important to examine the desired traits and required qualifications; if you don’t meet those requirements it’s likely you will struggle in the role and should either apply elsewhere or gain the skills listed.

5. Researching a target company

A company’s corporate identity can often provide clues into the kind of employee they’re looking for. Most information about a company can be found online, and if a company describes itself as a daring innovator, they are likely to be looking for someone who isn’t afraid of using new technologies, so make sure you include examples of this in your CV.

Also, look for webinars or information from senior management and work their phrasing subtly into your CV. With most applicants sending a one-size-fits-all CV, showing you’ve familiarised yourself with the company demonstrates willingness to be a good fit.

While these steps will help you draft a well-written CV, it’s important to keep upskilling and trying out emerging technologies. There are plenty of ways to upskill without going back to school, such as online learning courses that you can do on the move, at home or during your working day.

It’s said that 50% of developed skills are lost within two years if they’re not practiced, so keeping up to date means not only will you have concrete evidence to support the hard skills your potential employers require, but also you’ll be able to hit the ground running when you start your new role.

Denise Hudson Lawson

By Denise Hudson Lawson

Enterprise Learning Architect at Pluralsight.

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