5 IT CV Guerrilla Tactics & a Template

An IT CV is a different ‘animal’. The usual CV formats don’t apply. And they’re boring!

Usually the IT CVs I see are just a clumsy adaption of the regular style CV. Don’t people expect more from an IT guy? More energy. More cutting edge. Something fresh?

So here … you’ll find:

  1. My 5 top ideas for writing your IT CV – guerrilla style! And …
  2. An IT CV template and sample

Just a quick IT CV warning here – there are many disciplines in IT, y’know, from strategy, to management, to project management, to the more technical stuff, development, integration, infrastructure, networks, hardware, software, support, etc … so you’ll have to adapt what you learn here to your own IT CV situation.

IT CV Guerrilla Idea 1

First, ask yourself: what job do I want? You have to first define your target. And then you can “fire” away, creating a promotional document that’ll help you hit that target.

So … what’s the job you want? Answer it. Then present yourself as that.

Want a Java Developer job … present yourself as one! The employer that wants a Java Developer is looking through IT CVs for Java Developers. Be one.

IT CV Guerrilla Idea 2

Don’t start your IT CV with “Personal Details” and then a second page of “Schooling and Education”! Don’t be average! Apply “Idea 1” – present yourself quick and fast for the position. Use a ‘front up’ approach, perhaps like this:

IT Manager, Group IT Manager, IT Operations Manager

Offering >10 years in IT Management, currently Group IT Manager, reporting to the CEO at the 2nd largest steel co. in SA, Tata Steel; highly skilled across the IT spectrum – Technical, Budgets, Strategy, Planning, Cost Savings, Business Alignment and ROI

That carries more punch, right?

So start your CV like that. Then move straight to your experience and record of positions held. That’s the real meat of your IT CV. When scanning your CV people look at a few things as a priority, and they’re influence their decision making big time:

 1) Your job titles – “has this guy actually done the work?”

2) Companies you’ve worked for – is it mickey mouse or is it a big strong brand? It helps when it’s bigger.

So get there immediately.

[Quick note: if you haven’t got much experience, if you don’t have big or high profile, impressive companies on your list, all is not lost. You have to make the best of what you do have, even it it’s your passion for IT. Keep reading.]

IT CV Guerrilla Idea 3

When you give your experience, don’t ramble. Give a 2 or 3 line quick overview of what you were responsible for. Give figures if you can. Maybe like this:

Heading IT for the company – incorporating 15 sites and 550 users – with full Strategic, Operational, Technical and Budgetary responsibilities.

Or …

 Developing applications end-to-end as a member of a 3 man elite team, for clients such as MTN, CellC and Discovery; with ‘world-class’ quality standards and coding practices.

And then support that strong overview with a few supporting ‘bullets’ – try to break it down into the simplest compartments – for example a developer will perhaps have the following compartments: analysis, coding, testing, implementation, troubleshooting, customization, support and training.

So don’t write the ‘book’. Just give quick snippets of information that satisfy the scanning reader of your IT CV that you generally meet their requirements.

[Note – at some point you may decide that you’re fiddling around too much with your “IT CV” – you’re getting frustrated and wasting time. You should then perhaps enlist my help in getting your CV to where it should be. Go to www.wowcv.net/professional-cv-writing for more or just e-mail me on gerard [at] jobsearching.co.za.]

IT CV Guerrilla Idea 4

Focus on projects and achievements. This is really where your IT CV comes alive – what did you achieve, what did your projects achieve, how did your contribution add to the business? How did it solve problems? How did it make the business better? What was your unique contribution?

Spell it out clearly in your IT CV. Make it concise. And again, give figures if possible.

Have developed a reputation for hard work – averaging 40 – 60 hours overtime every month, being available to work weekends, ‘all nighters,’ etc;

Recommended a new back up strategy. When implemented, it resulted in reducing client data lost in the event of a crash from 1 day to 30 seconds.

Or …

Delivered a new server room, ramping up performance by 65%, reliability from 89% up-time to 99.5%, and coming in 15% under budget and 2 weeks ahead of schedule.

IT CV Guerrilla Idea 5

  • Use IT CV attention getters – yes, use the following ideas to create an impact, differentiate yourself and a much more powerful first impression:
  • Use logos of products, companies, certifications and employers – embed them in the CV. Having Microsoft, Sun, Cisco, Novell logos creates an impression of professionalism. You ride on the back of those big brands. Make them small, put them in a sidebar or footer perhaps. Don’t make them the central focus. But have them there.

Bonus IT CV Guerrilla Idea 6

On most IT CVs I see, there’s usually a 2 page IT Skills Matrix. And it frequently goes back to skills/knowledge such as Windows ’95. Aw, c’mon! Here’s what to do rather.

Make a shorter list by filtering out only the most relevant and up-to-date skills, technologies and methodologies you work with. And create a one page addendum to the CV with this stuff on it. OR what I like to do is to create a sidebar in the CV where you can have a heading such as “Advanced IT Skills” with a 3 or 4 point list of items divided up perhaps like this: “Programming” “Networks” “Software” “Hardware” “Security”, etc. And under each of these you list your knowledge of apps, etc.

IT CV Template

Okay, so now to an IT CV template or sample – please note: every CV is different, you are unique, so use the template/format/sample here wisely. Learn from the principles.

Or if you get stuck, contact me directly to write your CV for you. See www.wowcv.net/professional-cv-writing.

Here’s a link to the template – click and it’ll download.