With graduation days fast approaching, the jobs market will soon be awash with STEM graduate CVs; candidates all looking for their first tech, digital, or data job.

Without a tech career history, you may be wondering what to include on your CV. Don’t be disheartened by your lack of experience or your demonstrable use of tech skills.

Currently, the jobs market is tight, with a significant gap between supply and demand. Tech candidate pools are small, with many companies struggling to fill their tech vacancies.

If you are a rookie, this is great news.  More and more, organisations are opting to train and develop applicants that are new to the game rather than hold out and wait for a seasoned hire.  The digital skills gap has just given you an advantage.

Your potential, aptitude, and ability to acquire new technical skills quickly will win over employers looking to harness all you have to offer.

So, how do you write your CV to accommodate your lack of commercial experience whilst showcasing all the skills you do have?

Here are some tips on how to write and format your CV if you are looking for your first tech job.

Style and Format.

Tailor your CV to the role.

Not all tech roles are the same. Even the same job title will require different skills and capabilities according to the tech stack used by the company.

Your CV ought to be cleverly designed for each job you apply for. Generic or vague CVs that could have been sent anywhere will often be overlooked by hiring managers.

Read the job description carefully, and make sure you evidence both the technical and soft skills the employer is looking for.

Consider the layout.

Your cv must grab the reader’s attention among 100s of others just like it. This is especially true if you are applying for an entry-level role. Your CV should be easy to digest with the key skills clearly outlined.

You can section off your CV so that each area is defined. CRM systems are not always accommodating to a text box, so perhaps avoid using those.

Make the page clean and the text well-spaced and easy to read.

A great introduction.

Include a cover letter.

It will make a great impression if you craft a cover letter relevant to the job and company you’re targeting. It shows that you have put in some extra work to introduce yourself properly. It also affords you an extra opportunity to communicate your other skills to the potential employer which may compensate for a lack of technical experience. For many tech jobs, soft skills such as the ability to communicate are critical. Don’t miss a golden opportunity to demonstrate this.

Write a short profile at the start of your CV.

It’s likely that for the same tech job, most of the candidates will have technical skills on a par with yours.  If it’s your first job, your competitors may also be able to boast some industry experience.   Your opening profile statement will give you an opportunity to tell the hiring manager or recruiter why you’re different and what your USP may be.

Who are you?

Include extra-curricular activities.

Extra-curricular information and experiences offer the hiring manager or recruiter a picture of who you are away from work.  Companies hire on team fit too. If you can evidence traits or experiences that showcase your personality, do it.

Perhaps you have tech-related hobbies? Have you run or attended a coding club, for example. These details will make your CV pop and demonstrate a passion for the sector away from salaried work.

Include your skills.

Recruiters like to see what you can do….they want you to be a good fit for a role. Include a section in your CV that highlights your key strengths.  This is a great “at a glance” way to see what you’ll contribute. Remember to include soft skills to help boost your employability.

Show determination and ambition.

You may not be the finished article, but you’re working on it!  Include a section on courses you’ve taken or qualifications and industry certifications you’ve achieved.  Leverage the free content on learning platforms and make sure you include those on the CV.

If you don’t know where to begin, research the role you want on job boards. By reading lots of job descriptions you’ll soon learn which qualifications are most relevant, and you can start with those.

Clarity is key.

Is your CV clear?

When you have finished your CV, give it to a trusted person to read and listen to their feedback. Ask them to make sure the dates correspond and that it’s clear.

Make sure you have included the basics….you’d be surprised at how many CVs fail to include contact information!

Everything on your CV should be clear immediately. If it’s not, then simplify it before you hit ‘submit’.

Entering the world of work is an exciting time.  If you are new to tech or think it’s the sector for you it can be daunting, especially if you have no demonstrable professional experience.  However, that shouldn’t put you off. Even the CTO started somewhere, and there’s plenty you can do to your CV to highlight your suitability for your first tech role.

You may like to check out these role-specific blogs. They aim to inform you as to what you can expect in each role, the qualifications you may need, and the best route in.

The Lowdown. Help Desk Analyst.

What skills do I need for a career in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence?

Fancy becoming a Cloud Engineer?

CV essentials. Data Scientist.

CV essentials. Project Manager.

CV essentials. QA Tester.

Our Employee Advice blog pages are awash with helpful information for job seekers at every stage of the recruitment process. Head over for a look!

About the author: I manage the recruitment for a range of digital roles for my clients on both a retained and contingency basis. I specialise in senior and confidential appointments, always giving a first class representation of a client’s employer brand.

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