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How to write an executive CV for IT leadership jobs

Knowing how to write an IT executive CV requires a deep knowledge and skillset that not everyone has. Find out how to set yourself apart from the competition

IT leadership jobs are highly competitive and without a professionally written executive CV, it can be hard to land them.

Here is a guide to writing a CV that will keep your reader engaged and excited to call you for an interview.

Consider the order

Take some time to consider the order of the information on your CV. To keep a reader engaged, you need to make sure you have the most relevant information at the top. Most people read from top to bottom, so don’t lose your reader’s attention with a dull section near the top of your CV.

A proper IT executive CV will follow a format that looks like this: 

  • Name & contact info.
  • Desired job title.
  • Professional summary.
  • Areas of excellence/key skills.
  • Work experience.
  • Education.

 The desired job title is something that many CVs fail to include, but it is absolutely essential.

Add your desired job title to the top of your CV. The desired job title should match the title of the job you are applying for. This is an easy edit that causes the reader to immediately see that you are relevant for the position.

Make sure your CV is ATS optimised

Applicant tracking system (ATS) optimisation is extremely important, especially as IT jobs become more competitive at the executive level.

If you aren’t familiar with ATS, it’s software that is used to help with the applicant screening process.

There are two main ways to make sure your CV plays nicely with ATS.

First, use ATS-friendly formats/designs. Many CV writers will advertise whether their CVs are ATS compatible. Most experts can tell in a matter of seconds if a CV is ATS compatible. One clear giveaway to know a CV is not ATS compatible is if it has icons, charts, graphs or other images.

Reach out to a CV writer and ask if they can check whether your CV is ATS compatible or not. Most companies should do this for free.

Second, add relevant keywords for each IT leadership job. Adding relevant keywords can make or break it. Take five minutes to read through the job posting you are considering applying to. Try to spot any repeated words in the job description. If you haven’t mentioned those words in your CV, there is a good chance you should.

If the job posting requires “budgeting” or it mentions that the role will have “15 direct reports”, you will want to make sure your CV gives them confidence in your ability to do the job. It may be worth mentioning your budgeting responsibilities or the fact that you have handled 15-plus direct reports in a past job.

Blend your hard and soft skills

A common mistake IT professionals make when looking for leadership jobs is focusing too much on hard skills. Letting everyone know you are an expert programmer may not be as useful for executive roles. Most employers want to see a hybrid of hard and soft skills.

It is usually best to show hard skills earlier in your career, with a gradual progression towards soft skills, such as leadership.

Some hard skills might include: agile, scrum, scheduling, Python, JavaScript and cloud security.

Some soft skills might include: leadership, innovation, collaboration, communication and project management.

A blend of hard and soft skills will go a long way in any IT executive CV.

Get feedback from IT professionals on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great tool for getting feedback on your newly written CV. Reach out to a few executive IT recruiters, CIOs, CTOs or other IT leaders to get some quick and honest feedback on your CV.

Bear in mind that these individuals are not CV writers, so they may not be aware of the rhyme or reason for everything. But they should be able to give you an idea if it reads well, or not.

Ask them for their “first glance” opinion. They should not spend more than five minutes reviewing it.

The goal is to make sure your resume passes the “six-second test”. This is based on research that says the average time a recruiter or hiring manager spends reviewing a resume is six seconds.

Your resume should be designed in a way that engages the reader and keeps them engaged longer than your competition. That is what all of the above tips are designed to do.

Best of luck on your journey to the executive IT leadership career of your dreams.

Mike Podesto is CEO and founder of  CV writing and career coaching company Find My Profession. He is passionate about helping jobseekers find fulfilment in their careers by breaking down tedious job search barriers. 

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