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Long time MCT, technical trainer and consultant. I freelance for clients big and small. Consulting and teaching my way round the world

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The importance of a good CV

If you have spent any time in the IT industry or any line of professional work for that matter you will probably have a CV. Or if you are the other side of the pond a ‘resume’. Whatever you choose to call this document there is not clear cut or standard way to approach the creation of your CV.

If you take a moment to think about what this short document actually is to people the importance of it becomes quite clear. You would expect me to now say that your CV is your personal profile, your semi-detailed list of work and professional life experiences and achievements. A document you can provide to potential employers in your field so they can quickly review and evaluate your CV against other candidates with the goal of selecting the correct candidate for interview or for the role being advertised.

This may be true to some extent, yet in 2013 a lot of what the CV brings to the table in its original purpose is lost. Especially in the technical fields.

Most permanent or contract roles today are advertised not directly by an employer but by a recruitment company. They are the gatekeepers, the people who prevent you from getting to speak to the people that you really need to speak to in a company. Recruiters will be often not technically savvy in the slightest and will have only the smallest idea of what the job role they are recruiting for actually involves from a technical level. This bring about all kinds of problems for the IT professional seeking employment. Most notably what a CV is actually doing for you.

It is all too common for you to be a perfect match for a job role but have a recruiter turn you down for the short-list simply because there is a word missing from you CV that they themselves do not understand. For example, I myself have been turned down for a short listing before because I did not have the words ‘Break/Fix’ on my CV. I also know of an incident where a developer has been turned down because he has not written ‘Sage line 50’ on his CV, this person was a lead developer for Sage working on the Sage line 500 suite. The difference between these 2 packages is simply the amount of users it can support.

This brings about one of the largest barriers to high level technical employment, the gatekeepers. Apply for any role advertised on the major IT boards. (CWjobs, jobserve, monster, ect ect) and you will be applying not to the technical hiring manager who will be able to read and understand the technical terms on your CV, you will be apply to one of the 8000 recruitment companies in the UK. Yes, there really are 8000 of them.

Your CV now takes on a whole new light, no longer is it about showcasing your technical skills as much as you would like. What is the point of using technical terms if your are going to be handing it to a person who would not know the difference between DNS and DHCP even if an AUTH request bit them in the face. Your CV now is about how are you going to get past these gatekeepers and get to the person you really want to talk to who is going to understand what you are on about.

I could go on and on now about the importance of a short CV, good formatting and grammar. The merits of including and excluding different types of information. For example, my GCSE’s are not even included on my CV yet a raft of IT qualifications are. There are countless books and articles published on how to write the perfect CV. So much time and effort can be pushed at the creation of a document that represents you that serves simply to get you speaking to the people you need to speak to.

Buy the books, read the articles, spends hours devoting yourself to the perfect template and an expertly picked font? Sound like a fun weekend? No? Didn’t think so. So what to do what to do……


£50 is all it takes to have an expertly written CV at http://www.wellwrittencv.com/ . It took a few days for my contact Will to sort things out, take my existing mess of a CV and rewrite it from the ground up. The results I am extremely impressed with. To be honest, I could have done the work myself and achieved a similar result. Yet why bother, for £50 I have someone take care of this for me who writes and formats CV’s and covering letters for a living. The more you do something the better you become at it.

You can see the final result of the work by clicking the Documents and CV section of this website, just take a look at the top nav bar for the link.

If you are currently banging your head against a wall looking for a new role and not getting anywhere, it is worth a shot for a CV refresh, remember, its not your future employer who’s eyeballs are going to rest on it first. It is the gatekeepers.

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