How to Create an Unbeatable CV for IT Professionals
Hi Growinners* and future Growinners!
The title is pretty self-explanatory—I’m here to give you some tips about an essential piece of our professional lives: the résumé/curriculum vitae, commonly known as a CV.
We’ve all been there: “Oh no, I have to update my CV again…”
If you think about it, your CV is a mirror of your work experience. It is where you will tell the world about the goals you achieved and the knowledge you acquired. In general, your CV is where you gather the most important milestones of your professional life.
You owe it to yourself to give it your best when working on your résumé.
What motivates me in my work is to be able to help IT professionals like you take the leap and find a project that meets their expectations and motivations.
Throughout my career I’ve interviewed hundreds of professionals, helping them restart their careers at Growin.
Make no mistake, the first thing a recruiter or HR professional will want to know about you is your CV. So, let’s cause a great first impression, shall we
Before you start writing your CV
Before we dive into the practical information about the structure and content that your CV must have, let us set some things straight.
Ask yourself the following:
1: Do I want to apply to work for a specific company or do I want to build a generic CV that I can use in several situations?
This is a very important question, given that it will help you identify your target audience. Thus, you’ll also need to identify what’s the best way to communicate with them.
2: If it is aimed at a specific company, how can you add value to your application?
Identify the frameworks and technologies they work with and what’s the most common profile among their employees. Highlight that information when you’re building your CV if you have relevant experience.
Imagine the following scenario: you’re applying to a position as a backend software developer. The recruiter company requires knowledge in Java and Spring. If those are skills you have, by all means, put them on at the top of your CV. Something like this:
“In the last 5 years, I’ve been using Java and Spring to build and maintain the backend of multiple products and companies.”
It’s practical, straight to the point, smart, and comes across as you know exactly what your target company needs. Above all, it will show that you have what it takes to win that position.
The more you adapt your CV to the company you’re applying for, the better. The tips that follow can also apply to this situation.
If your approach to the market is more generic and you’re looking at several companies, you can still follow the tips in this article. The recruiter company can then ask you more questions after having a look at your CV, but this will be a good starting point already.
Writing and building your CV
What is the best structure for your curriculum vitae?
To help you build a great résumé, I’ve summarized the top 6 points you should include in it:
1. Include name, contact details, your current location, and your preferred locations for work.
2. Add a description (job title). It should define who you are as a professional and who you want to be (e.g., Java backend developer or software tester).
3. Quantify your professional experience. Although training is important, you should focus on your practical experience.
4. Make a short summary of your experience and your main motivation for future projects. Highlight your main achievements, business areas, and technologies you’ve been working with. Additionally, describe the type of IT project you’re looking for.
5. Describe your work experience. This is the main part of your CV. You can use an infinite number of variables. For example, provide the type of projects you’re working on, including a description of your main tasks and technologies used.
6. Include your academic training and relevant certificates.
What content should you include on your CV?
Regarding each of the points detailed above, I advise you to include the following when structuring your CV.
To start, it is essential that you include your personal details. Name, location, and contact details (email and phone number) should all be placed at the top of your CV. After all, without this information, how can you be reached?
Tips #2, #3 and #4
This is the time to showcase your professional experience in a very simple and concise way. Start with a generic description of the function you currently occupy (e.g., Java backend developer) and after you write 6 or 7 sentences about your career, tell the reader about your professional achievements and what you would like to achieve next.
You can also include any academic training. After that, quantify your practical experience to give your recruiter a general idea of how long you’ve been working in IT.
You can consider all your experience working in IT, including freelance work! For example, if you have participated in a competition to develop an application that ended up being implemented, write that down.
Start by identifying all the companies you worked for. If you’ve done a lot of freelance work, you can add that experience to this section or create a new section for this type of project. Always choose the ones you consider to be more important for your career.
After you identified the company, start and end date, and the function you occupied, they can ask you the following questions:
“In which tasks did you invest more time?” or “What were the actions that impacted the project the most while you were working on it?”
Make sure you add the answers to these questions to your résumé after identifying the company.
You should also highlight the main tasks you executed and your main conquests. For example:
“The goal of the project was to develop the frontend of a bank’s new web app. I was part of a team of 5 developers (of which, 2 were frontend developers), with 1 junior programmer under my responsibility.
We used Scrum for our daily meetings, had 15-day sprints, and always delivered on time. In the end, we finished ahead of schedule which gave us time to perform extra maintenance work on the app for the following 3 months.”
This is a very simple example of the information a recruiter expects to see on your CV: simple, concrete, and easy to follow. Leave the details and other extra information for the interview stage!
Here you should identify your education and relevant academic training history. Here’s an example of how you can present the information:
Universidade de Coimbra | Engineering School | Computing Sciences Bachelors | 2008-2011. (final grade, optional)
Coding Academy | Java Training | 2019
At last, but not least…
Thanks for reading all the way through here. 😊
It means you’re determined in making your search for work more efficient and, above all, in improving your odds at finding the IT job you want.
This article is not perfect nor exhaustive. It’s a mere contribution to help whoever wishes to have a more competitive CV, set themselves apart from other candidates, and increase the chances of getting called for interviews.
How to be successful in a job interview
Check out the 5 tips to master your online interviews.
Now is the time when I ask something from you… feedback. Is there any other information you consider relevant to add to your CV? Share it with us. Did you use the advice from this article and get an interview? Excellent! We want to know it all.
Wishing you all the best and keep safe!
*This is what we call our fellow collaborators at Growin
About the Author
Ricardo Veiga, Talent Acquisition Specialist
I’m 27 years old. I’m from Lavra but now I live in Maia, Porto. The Invicta is in my heart. A student for life, I am thirsty for knowledge, which is my greatest drive! Politics, philosophy, Eastern Europe, and The Doors are some of the things I keep very present in my life.