Top 5 CV tips for technology executives

A CV needs to be much more than a record of responsibilities. View it as sales collateral for your unique offering. Be able to articulate your value proposition and think about how that relates to what the potential employer needs.

The CV’s purpose is largely to secure a meeting for you to explain in more depth who you are, what you do and how you do it.

1. Taylor

One size is unlikely to fit all. It is likely your role is multi-faceted and there may well be elements to it that are more or less relevant for particular jobs. When applying to a specific opportunity, mirror the language of the job description and ensure key responsibilities are replicated.

Give some thought to the audience of your CV. If you are registering your CV to a recruitment organisation or job board, it is possible it will be found via a boolean search.

>See also: Future tech jobs: what are they and what it will take to get them

What would these searches find in your CV? make sure that job titles, domain experience and core skills are in the early part of the document – this can be in an opening paragraph or preamble. Repeat key components where appropriate to increase your ‘hits’.

Many employers use recruitment professionals to act as first filter across senior roles. They may not have the expertise or background to read between the lines, so telegraph your relevance and suitability. If your CV is to be read by a board member, speak their language and give thought to what they need to see.

2. Tenure

Change is good and three to five years in one role is ideal. Company loyalty and longer tenure is no bad thing, but demonstrating internal movement and change of responsibility shows adaptability. I have clients who shy away equally from both ‘job hoppers’ and the ‘institutionalised’, often unfairly.

The fear of short employment stints is because the employer is not getting a return on their investment. The fear of long tenures is the candidate only knows one way and success could be down to the longevity of relationships and knowing the system. These assumptions are often not accurate, but be mindful to circumvent these potential objections.

We can’t change our past, but give thought to how a long tenure with one employer changed and evolved over the years and conversely reasons why employment has been less than two years at others, without over-egging the pudding.

Ensure any employment gaps are explained. They are considered – positively, negatively and indifferently depending on the readership – but should always be explained.

3. Transition

If your growth feels hampered in your current role and your appetite to move is driven by a want to climb the career ladder and take a step up in responsibility, there are points of note relevant to your CVs content.

In the beauty parade that is executive recruiting, an employer may favour a candidate currently performing a CIO role over a candidate wishing to take the step up (they may not of course).

If you are wishing to transition into a CIO role, demonstrate the business advantages of your technology initiatives and show evidence of agility. You need to be able to demonstrate what you have done to move the business forward in terms of products, services, sales and marketing in your current and previous roles.

4. Tangible

The reader will want to know what you achieved and how you did it. Write in the first person about what your roles and responsibilities and achievements have been. Write less about what ‘we’ as an organisation or division achieved.

Make quantifiable and measureable statements detailing specific metrics. Avoid nebulous language like “improved performance” or “oversaw several programmes”.

A track record that illustrates the ability to work effectively with marketing or experience in areas such as logistics, operations or supply chain could also differentiate a CV and be seen as a strength.

>See also: Top 10 fastest-growing tech skills – and the salaries they command

5. Track record

Key is your current skill set and recent achievements. You may well have a long and glittering career and are very pleased with your pioneering work in the early 1990s, but it is unlikely anyone else is.

The reality is very few people have the time or inclination to read though pages and pages of information. Lengthy CVs can be viewed as an inability to express oneself succinctly and whilst it is relevant to show progression through the early years and to leave no gaps, a line or two or a job title will suffice.

Aim to detail your career, achievements and value proposition in four pages or less.  Understand that the reader may have stopped absorbing the detail at about page three.

Perhaps an obvious but pervasive point across all five above is trust. Bending, massaging or manipulating the facts on a CV is a no-no.

Even if education, budgets, head count and timeframes cannot be checked (which in itself is unlikely), getting in over your head is a quick route to a career-derailing mistake.


Sourced from Jason Addicott, director, WBRS

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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