How To Write a Great Tech CV Part II: Supporting Information
Part II: Supporting Information
Your work experience speaks for itself, but what about the rest? There’s more to a great CV than a list of job titles and technical skills. Demonstrating things like your academic background and your outside-work interests effectively can be key to catching the eye of recruiters and hiring managers.
This series of guides — written by an ex-agency and in-house recruiter of software developers — will tell you everything you need to know about how to write a great Developer CV that hits all the right notes for the non-technical gatekeepers you need to impress.
This week, we’re looking at what important information to include besides your work experience, and how best to structure and portray your academic background and out-of-work interests.
It’s basic, but your CV is useless if the person looking at it can’t contact you. You might apply to some roles via an applicant tracking system that takes some of this information anyway, but not always, and you don’t want to have to rewrite your CV every time you want to send it to someone directly.
The balance to strike with your contact details is making it as easy as possible to be contacted, without oversharing. An email address (that you check regularly) is essential. It’s normal to include a phone number, too.
You would normally also include a home address. At the minimum, mention the town or city you live in so that recruiters know where you can comfortably commute to, and include a postcode / zip code as recruiters will often use these to search for people located in a specific area. If your postcode isn’t included, you’ll be missed in searches that are tailored to your area.
You may, also, want to include links to social profiles such as your LinkedIn, X or Github. The latter of these is especially good practice. In general, don’t include links to sites that you use mainly for social activities as opposed to professional. Be aware, also, that while it’s bad form for companies or recruiters to go “digging around” for you on social media, anything on your CV will be assumed to be an advert for you as a potential employee. Assume they’ll be read, and don’t include links to sites that could lead readers to form a negative opinion of you.
As a rule of thumb, the more experienced you are, the less important your academic background becomes. Fresh graduates, without much if any work experience to draw on, will naturally have their academic background at the top of their CV.
This should start with the most recent qualification — here, we’ll assume this is a university degree, but see below if this doesn’t apply to you.
The section on your degree should contain the most detail, especially if it was in Computer Science or a related technical subject (including maths and sciences). Ensure to include:
The name of the institution
The dates you studied there
The course you studied and the final grade you achieved (in the event that you didn’t complete or your grade was lower than you’d hoped, be open about this — many recruiters won’t penalise you, and all will appreciate your honesty).
Include a brief description of any projects that involved coding or other advanced technological skills (see our piece on Work Experience for information on how best to write this).
Junior developers often also include a brief summary of the qualifications studied immediately before higher education (such as A-levels or BTECs, high school diploma, International Baccalaureate, etc) — including subjects and grades, but no more detail than that. It’s unnecessary to go further back in time than this. Your most recent two sets of qualifications should suffice for junior developers, and for mid-level onwards, the most recent is, realistically, the only one worth including.
If you haven’t been to university, a) don’t worry — there are plenty of excellent tech roles in the industry that don’t require a degree. b) still include an academic background section — just wind all the above advice back to the relevant step. So, if you have just completed a BTEC in IT, include this, in detail, and precede it with a summary of your GCSE grades.
From mid-level onwards, you’ll want to devote more space to your professional experience. Only include your most recent educational qualification, and limit it to the subject and grade achieved — spare the detail on projects for your professional experiences.
It’s good practice to include a section on your personal interests, mainly to give a rounded impression of you as an individual. Whether these are sports, social gaming, cooking or gardening, a brief summary of what you do when you’re not working makes a nice final paragraph of your CV. If you’ve held a leadership position in any sort of club or society, mention it here.
Don’t spend too much time or space on this section though and, crucially, don’t include any vital information here, because many recruiters may not read it. Ensure the things you want people to know are really high up your CV — so if you were student union president during your degree, find a way to include this in the section on your academic background.
It’s not uncommon for CVs to start with a short “personal statement”. This is fine if you want to include it, but it’s rarely essential. Bear in mind that many jobs will require a cover letter which will, in all likelihood, duplicate this information.
It’s worth including a section showcasing any certifications you’ve been awarded for key technical skills (e.g. Prince2 for Project Managers or Oracle certifications for Java Developers). However, keep these brief and to the point; a long list of certifications becomes meaningless (and diminishes each individual achievement). Keep it to your two or three most advanced and relevant certifications if you have any more than that to choose from.
Need More Support?
You should always feel able to reach out to a recruiter (either external or in-house) for advice on how to tailor your CV, especially for a role you are especially keen on. Our team of expert consultants at Oho Group are more than happy to provide bespoke advice to anyone looking for a technical role.
Speak to us today to find out how we can help you land your next job with one of technology’s greatest innovators.