Curriculum Vitae Tips

How long should my IT CV be?

What can I leave out?

I see many resumes that are way too long. Far more than that are too short. So I thought I’d write a brief guide to help you work out how long your CV should be and what to cut out. Naturally this is general advice, without seeing your CV it’s difficult to be too specific.

The first thing to realise is that your CV is more of a sales brochure than it is a legal document. You are not required nor is it always helpful to list every job you’ve ever had on your CV.

Given that, here’s my brief general advice as to what to include and what to leave out:

Your CV should include

  • Relevant roles – all referenceable roles from the last 10 years relevant to the job you are applying for
  • Education – relevant tertiary or certifications only, include vendor specific courses
  • Succinct introduction – a few sentences that speaks to who you are, your IT passions and career direction
  • Skills matrix – possibly – see my blog post about putting skills matrix in CV here though first
  • Highlight in points – give more detail (typically more dot points) on the more recent roles, or the more relevant roles
  • Skills under roles – A lot of your key skills and experience should be used heavily within the roles itself, this will avoid a separate section simply listing your skills.
  • Self-Education section – if you lack experience and are early on in your career, detailing projects and your home lab environment can show you invest in yourself
  • Professional development – anything that shows you invest in yourself and you know who you are and what you are about. This can even be blogs, podcasts and books you read or contribute to, for professional development

Not necessary in your CV

  • Roles not related to IT
  • Roles older than 10 years
  • Primary or high school achievements
  • Anything more than a few words relating to hobbies
  • Detailed referee contact details – names or simply ‘available on request’ is fine
  • Photos – generally doesn’t add anything to the CV in Australia at least, unless you’re a super model… but you’re in IT right?
  • Achievements or certificates of little relevance to IT.  (Fire warden, truck licence)

So, I imagine this will raise a whole lot of questions for different IT people. For grads it might be a challenge filling out one page. For seasoned IT veterans they still may feel they have more than 2 pages worth of CV. Perhaps you might worry about leaving off a role that is 10 years old but directly relevant to the job you are applying for. Perhaps, but if it’s a technical role, is it really that relevant 10 years on?

Further such questions I’ll tackle in future blogs. But comment below or on Linkedin if you have some questions you want answered or if this raises any thoughts for you.

Meanwhile, check out our IT job board for positions we’re currently hiring for if you’re looking for an IT job in Western Australia. Or, reach out to me if you need help in securing an IT job in Australia.

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