Skills Matrix in IT CV

Should I put a Skills Matrix on my CV for an IT job application?

Skills matrices are a much vexed question for IT CV’s so here’s my take on it.

Firstly, if the role you are going for is not a technical role, then don’t bother with a skills matrix. It’ll only serve to emphasize your technical background which is not the emphasis you want to have when applying for a non-tech hands off kind of role.

So, for technical roles then am I saying it’s a worthwhile addition to your CV?

Possibly – if you do it right.

Too often I read skills matrices that are simply a table of the technologies on one side and how many years’ experience on the other. Frankly that doesn’t tell me much at all. Years of experience can be very misleading. Take the example below:

So, reading the above you really don’t know whether you are dealing with a helpdesk officer who is proficient with Active Directory user management and file permissions or an Enterprise Architect who designs Active Directory structures and server farms for 30,000 users. See the problem?

By only listing the technology and not being specific about the type and scale of experience, the number of years’ experience then almost becomes meaningless. Now of course you could argue that the rest of the CV gives context to the technical level of the candidate but if that’s the case then why have the skills matrix at all? It doesn’t add any more detail that they haven’t got from already from reading your resume and calculating the years of experience in the various roles you’ve had.

The skills matrix should detail the type and scale of experience for it to be a valuable addition to your CV. Let’s use a Systems Engineer for an example:

Now see how much more information that portrays? Still it doesn’t convey scale of the deployments but you do get a better idea of what this systems engineer is capable of.

Whether you decide a skills matrix is right for you or not, what is extremely important is specificity.

And yes that word is far easier to type than it is to say. Whether in bullet point or matrix form be specific about the type of experience you’ve had with the specific technologies. Specificity opens doors of opportunity.

I hope this allows you to come up with a CV that’s right for an IT job you’re aiming for. Have a meeting with me if you need more guidance.

Recommended reading: How to write a cover letter for an IT job that captures attention.

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