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Targeting IT Talent

Writing the winning CV

The Genium team are here to help with all of your questions, to provide advice and guide you through your search for a new career opportunity.

Starting with that all important CV...

Write Your Best CV

Want to stand out from the crowd and secure that interview? Your CV is your personal Sales & Marketing. Here's how to write your CV to get interviews...

Content

  • EXPERTISE – Vacancies arise when an employer has a challenge to be delivered, such as a project, service, product, software, hardware… the list is endless. Your CV needs to demonstrate examples of where you have previously taken on a similar challenge and successfully delivered. Employers are buying this success as your expertise means lower risk of failure and more likely successful delivery of their challenge. It’s not just about skills – it’s how you applied them and the BENEFIT you delivered. For example: project delivered on time, SLAs achieved, reduced costs, better data to make decisions, new software developed to add new functionality, etc.
  • RELEVANCE – Your CV must give relevant examples of achievements / success for that specific vacancy. No time to re-write your CV? Keep one long master copy of around 6 pages on file, then cut down on what is less relevant for that vacancy to form a CV no longer than 4 pages. Avoid looking like the jack of all trades and the master of none.
  • COMPLEXITY – Describe the complexity of the challenge using timescales and numbers.
  • FIRST PAGE – FIRST IMPRESSIONS COUNT If your CV doesn’t tell the reader on page 1 about your expertise relevant to the job, they probably won’t turn to page 2.
  • REPEAT – Do you think you are adding the same skills many times? – That’s great as the more time you demonstrate your expertise of applying that skill, then the stronger you will look.
  • INTERVIEW ME – For everything on your CV, ask yourself “Is this a reason to interview me?” For instance if its 10 years since you left school, then your school achievements are probably not the reason to hire you now. Likewise, jobs you did over 8 years ago are probably less relevant so keep descriptions for these roles short.
  • CHECK – Look at the vacancy spec / advert – how many times have you stated on your CV that you have that expertise? Don’t dedicate all the text to skills the reader doesn’t need.
  • HONESTY – Always be honest. You’ll probably be found out if you’re not.

Top 10 CV tips

  1. Keep it simple - no photos, fancy paper or fonts, check spelling and make the headings clear.
  2. Maximum of 4 pages.
  3. Don’t leave gaps. If you have had a career break then put in the dates.
  4. Use the past tense as it sounds more powerful.
  5. Don't assume everyone knows your employer and therefore understands your job. Putting a brief description of the organisation can help the reader understand the context and environment, (e.g. industry sector, size, turnover, employee numbers).
  6. Avoid "responsible for" as this doesn't mean you were a success or even that you did the task.
  7. Avoid "involved with" - If you say you were involved with a project - did you run it and make the difficult decisions or did you make the tea? Both are involved but are completely different in their achievements.
  8. State what YOU did by stating "I did…". Using "we" does not tell the reader what you have accomplished. They are only buying your expertise and not the team's.
  9. Skills lists do not differentiate you - what did you do with the skills?
  10. Recruitment software finds candidates that mention keywords the most times in the CV and puts them to the top of the list.

Format

  • Name and contact details at the top. Keep your address, phone numbers and email addresses in small font as these are not a reason to interview you.
  • Profile - A brief synopsis which should entice the reader to continue. This includes key skills and what you have to offer as required by the job. It is a maximum of 5 lines of text. If it's any longer then it's no longer a summary.
  • Further / University Education and professional qualifications in summary, which are relevant / required for the job.
  • Career History - Put employers in reverse chronological order.
  • Other professional qualifications, education, and awards that are less relevant to the job come next.
  • Further personal details at the back, e.g. driving licence and interests (max of 4).

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