“You work in IT? Then you’ll have no problem finding a new job!”
Everyone who works in the IT sector in Switzerland has certainly heard this sentence before.
In fact, according to SECO (State Secretariat for Economic Affairs), there is a shortage of IT specialists in Switzerland.
So why would you need a guide to write the perfect IT resume? Surely you will find a company that will hire you, even if your CV doesn’t meet the highest requirements. Your skills will be welcome everywhere! Right?
Most likely: Yes! Many vacancies in the IT area and at the same time, only a few applicants for each open position. This situation increases the probability that you will be invited to an interview at some point, even if your CV looks very bad.
But what does the situation look like if you are not just looking for some “job”?
What if you want to work with the best people and the latest technologies on the market?
What if you want to be flexible about where and when you work?
What if you are looking for a job that you really enjoy? In short, if you are looking for your dream job?
Even IT experts don’t get these jobs by accident. If a job fulfils all your requirements for your dream job, there is a good chance that you are not the only one who finds this position exciting. So, there will be a lot of competition for the job.
What to do?
You must make sure that you get that invitation to an interview. To achieve this, the first thing you need is an impressive CV.
Here you will find a step-by-step guide on how to create it.
Table of Contents
1. Think About What you Want
Time to take a step back and ask yourself a question.
What does your dream job look like in concrete terms?
Some people have a clear idea of what their next job should look like. If you belong to this group, you can skip the following part and go directly to the next section.
However, many professionals are not entirely happy in their current job but have no idea what is important to them in their next position. If you are one of them, you should answer the following questions. The answers should give you an idea of what conditions a job needs to fulfil to have the potential to become your IT dream job.
- What do you enjoy most at work? What do you enjoy the least?
- Which technologies/programming languages would you like to work with in the future?
- How important is flexibility regarding time and place where you work for you? Would you like to work part-time or as a freelancer?
- Are you ready to move for your dream job?
- Do you have a clear idea about what you want to earn? If so, what are your salary expectations?
- Do you want to take on leadership responsibility?
Before you start writing your IT resume, you should be clear about what you want. List the criteria that are important to you in your future job. So, you can highlight these points in your CV.
If you would like to work with Java in the future, for example, you can describe your previous experience with this technology in more detail. This way, your future employer will recognise your strengths in the area already on your CV.
A good IT resume always depends on what you would like to do in the future. Would you like to work on machine learning projects? Then, when you present your work experience, show what exactly you have already done in the field. If you don’t have any experience, at least explain why you’re so fascinated by the subject.
Employers always want to know why you are interested in them, their company and the advertised position. After all, they are looking for employees who enjoy what they do, who work to achieve the best possible result, and who, if possible, stay in the function or the company for a long time. The chances of this happening are higher if the hired person has a real interest in what they are doing.
What does this mean for you and your IT resume?
Be honest about your interests, desires and, experiences in your CV (and during the rest of the application process). It is not your goal to be invited to an interview by as many companies as possible. Your goal is to be interviewed by the right companies. By the companies that offer you precisely what you are looking for. Where you don’t have to think long about how to answer the question “Why would you like to work with us?”. So, the sooner your wishes are clear, the less time you lose with unnecessary interviews.
2. Choose a Format for your IT resume
Now, you answered the above questions. You know exactly what you want. And now you can’t wait to put your wishes, your professional experience, your training and everything else on paper to send your first application.
You open Word and search for a template.
And stop suddenly.
Do you still write CVs today?
Do you do them on the computer or better still handwritten, as you once heard from your grandfather?
Or do people only apply with application videos, websites or slide decks today anyway?
Don’t worry. The good old CV is still in use. Even today, a large part of the applications in Switzerland are classic CVs. Usually, candidates upload them to an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) or (less and less often) send them to the company as PDF by e-mail.
Videos, slide decks or websites can be quite an exciting alternative. However, their success (as with the CV) depends heavily on convincing content. In addition, the receiving person also plays an important role here. Some recruiters or managers are happy about a creative application; others react rather negatively if you don’t follow the usual rules.
Whether such creative applications are well received also depends on the function you apply to. A web developer or designer, for example, can already prove his skills and aptitude for the job by applying whit his own website. An accountant, on the other hand, might be more likely to stick to the traditional curriculum vitae.
Apparently, it didn’t work out at Google for him. Nevertheless, a creative application.
Handwritten or printed CVs sent by post, on the other hand, tend to cause frowns in HR departments. You should avoid them if they are not explicitly required.
The form you choose for your application at the end is of secondary importance. It’s crucial, though that the content is well structured, and your future employer understands why you are the right person for his vacancy.
In the following, we assume that you have chosen the classic CV. Many of the tips can also be used for other forms of IT resumes though.
3. Write your IT Resume
Before you start, you need a suitable template for your CV. Both Google (just search for “template CV”) and Word offer you an almost unlimited number of CV templates that look appealing and professional. Out of these templates, choose one that suits you.
Not sure which template to choose?
Make sure the template has a simple design without too many frills. A few colours are OK. But don’t overdo it. In the end, the design should above all support a clear structuring of the content.
Did you find a template? Then you can start!
In some countries, such as Germany, it is common to create a cover page with a photo and contact details. You can omit this when applying in Switzerland. You rarely see it here, and it doesn’t improve the clarity of your IT resume, because important information like photo and address are then on a separate sheet.
The headline includes your name and/or the title of the job you’re applying for. But beware: Don’t forget to check the job title for every application you send! Nothing is more embarrassing than listing detail orientation as one of your strengths, and then you forget to adjust the job title.
The words “resume” or “CV” are superfluous in the title. What the document is about should be clear to everyone who holds it in their hands.
Contact Details and Personal Information
A detail but still very important: Your contact details should be complete and up to date. Address, e-mail and telephone number with country code (especially if you are applying abroad) are the minimum. Links to social media profiles such as Linkedin, Xing or Github round off this part.
Civil status, date of birth and number of children or the openness to relocate are not a must and of course, do not influence whether you are suitable for your dream job or not. And in many countries, it is highly uncustomary to provide this information. Nevertheless, in Switzerland, most candidates list this information. Once you have the job, the HR department will be grateful if the data can be found clearly on the CV.
An application photo is also still common in the German-speaking world compared to the English-speaking world. It’s best to place a small picture of yourself in one of the top corners of your IT resume.
Make sure that you choose a photo that presents you in the best light and is up to date. Even if a suit with a tie is no longer an absolute must, you should at least wear a shirt and make a friendly impression. Choose a photo that matches the position and the company.
After this basic info, a short section will follow, where you will summarise your key experiences, show off your achievements and describe what your goals are for the future.
Such a summary is especially important if you don’t have a lot of work experience. Or if it’s rather difficult to find out why you’re applying for a specific job when looking at your previous work experience.
This part must be kept short, tailored to the specific job you apply to and helps the recruiter or manager better understand your IT resume and goals.
Work experience is at the heart of every CV. Here you present your different positions in reverse chronological order. So put your current job at the top and first job in your career at the bottom.
For each position, you should write down the start and end date (month and year), job title, name of the company, a brief description of the activity, results you have achieved, and technologies used. If you were in a leadership role, you should also mention this, along with the number of team members for which you were responsible.
If you have worked for smaller, little-known companies, it also makes sense to describe the field of activity of the company briefly.
Make sure that your job descriptions don’t just include a list of technologies and technical terms. Often, recruiters with little knowledge of the IT world see your CV first and may have to decide whether you continue in the recruitment process or not.
Put your activities in a broader context and mention the results you have achieved. For example, if you’re a backend developer and worked with Java in your last job, say which project you’ve been working on. You may have modernised your company’s website, which has helped increase the maximum number of parallel users from 100 to 1000.
If you had a more extended break (more than two months) between two jobs, you should explain them briefly. Try to show the gap as positively as possible by showing that you have done something in this time that has taken you a step further. Without, of course, saying the untruth. If you describe a gap in your CV between two jobs as a backend developer with the term “professional reorientation” instead of “unemployment”, the interviewer will surely ask you to what extent you have reoriented yourself professionally. After all, you are still working as a backend developer after the reorientation.
If you have many job changes in your CV, it can also make sense to write down the reason for the change for each job. The recruiter will be wondering what is behind these numerous changes.
Be careful not to make negative statements about the company you left or to say that you earned more money in the new job. Focus more on other topics such as a more exciting tech stack in the new role or more responsibility.
Next, you’ll explain your education. In particular, the diplomas that are related to your current or desired activity are essential. Kindergarten and primary school can be left out here.
Your computer science studies, on the other hand, should be mentioned with details such as the educational institution, the start and end dates, the focus of study and – if you have good grades – with a final grade. If you wrote a bachelor’s or master’s thesis, the subject of this thesis might also be of interest.
If you have just finished your studies and do not yet have relevant professional experience, it may also make sense to place the education before any internships or student jobs and to go into more detail about it.
Further courses and pieces of training show that you are willing to work on yourself and stay up to date with the latest technology. Focus here on the most important and above all the most recent trainings you have completed. No one will care that you did a 3-day Excel course 15 years ago.
What’s interesting, though, is when you can show that you keep up to date with the latest developments in Angular by attending a course on the topic.
IT Skills and Technologies
This part is vital for every recruiter and manager who hires IT specialists. The tech stack you write down here is compared to the stack used in the company. The better the two fit together, the higher the chances of an interview.
What is important here is a distinction between the skills and technologies you know really well and those you know less well. One way to illustrate this is to distinguish two categories: 1. Top Skills and 2. Additional (or “other”) skills. The additional indication of the number of years you worked with a technology makes the assessment of your expertise even easier for your future employer.
A beneficial presentation variant is also the integration of your top skills into the summary higher up in the CV. However, the complete list should be listed down on your IT resume.
List the languages you speak along with the language level. Focus on languages in which you can at least have a simple conversation.
The language level is best represented by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). You can find the levels here.
Mention it if your language skills differ significantly in written and oral expression. Also, you should make sure that you do not overestimate your language skills. The interviewer will most likely test your skills. On the other hand, excessive modesty is also misplaced. Otherwise, the company may sort out your CV erroneously, because, for example, German skills are essential for a particular role.
Interests and Further Information
Under interests, you should write down your hobbies and other activities you like to do in your free time. These include, for example, possible open-source projects you have worked on or other voluntary activities related to your work or study.
The list of your hobbies will hardly get you your dream job. Sometimes, however, it can improve the atmosphere in the interview when interviewers and interviewees discover commonalities. Important: Check before you apply if the list is still up to date. If the interviewer asks you about it, you should be able to say something about every item on the list.
A separate list of projects you’ve worked on is not a must. But it makes sense if you already have a lot of professional experience or if you have worked on variety, of very different projects in your career. If you then try to integrate your projects in your IT resume, it will usually be very long.
In this situation, it is better to refer to the appendix/project list. Interested parties can then find out more, and the CV remains clear.
The format of the project list should be the same as the CVs. It also includes employer, start and end date, area of responsibility, tech stack and, if applicable, leadership responsibilities and budget responsibility in the description.
It is not necessary to include references in the IT resume. It can even be counterproductive if the potential new employer contacts the reference-givers before you can inform them about the job. So, it’s best to leave that part out. The info “References available on request” is also unnecessary. If the company desires references, they will undoubtedly ask you for them.
4. Prevent Embarrassing Errors
Your IT resume is ready, and you can’t wait to upload it to your dream employer’s application platform.
But suddenly, you hesitate.
Did I perhaps miss something important?
Or do I even have embarrassing spelling mistakes in it?
Most likely, yes!
There is hardly anyone who writes the perfect IT resume in the first draft. So, make sure that you and a second person check the CV for typographical errors and content defects. Ask the helping person specifically to not only pay attention to spelling and grammar errors but also to assess the content.
Keep in mind that virtually every new application also requires changes to the IT resume. Therefore, recheck the CV before each application using the following checklist:
- Check the heading: If you have not only your name but also the future job title in the title, it needs to be adjusted.
- Contact details and personal information: Especially when you are looking for a job because you are moving, it’s easy to forget to update your contact details or personal data after the move.
- Photo: As long as it’s up to date, you don’t usually need to change the picture. However, you can of course, also consider adjusting the photo according to your employer. Maybe your application photo will look different if you apply to a start-up than if you apply to a bank.
- Summary: You will base the summary on your dream job. Depending on the application, this must be adjusted. But remember, stay authentic and honest in the description of your experiences and goals!
- Work experience and training: You will usually not make too many adjustments here. However, it may well be that you put certain activities more or less in the foreground depending on the job. In any case, check here that the data is correct and match the data from your work certificates/diplomas. If this is not the case, people may get the impression that you are making false statements in your CV.
- Skills and Technologies: Check once again that you haven’t forgotten any essential technologies and it’s clear to laypeople what you can do. Here, too, it may make sense to focus this section on the specific position.
- Interests and further information: Check if everything is up-to-date and you have something to tell about all the points you listed.
- Projects: Like with the work experiences in your IT resume, you should focus on the correctness of the data and perhaps highlight projects that correspond to the job description or even transfer them to the CV. This way it becomes immediately apparent to your future employer that you have already worked on the topic.
5. Win the Battle for your IT Dream Job
Finding the perfect job is demanding!
The competition for good jobs is vast, and only the best receive an invitation to an interview.
With a convincing IT resume, however, you are already a big step closer to the invitation to the interview. So, take your time and think carefully about what you want. Write it down and align your CV with it.
Remember! It is not your goal that every company likes your CV and that you will have as many interviews as possible. Your goal is to be invited by the right company for the right job. So, communicate clearly what’s important to you. This increases the likelihood to get interviews with companies that meet your expectations.
But also expect rejection. Don’t let it get you down! They show you that the company or job probably wouldn’t have met your expectations. So be happy that you have more time to focus on finding your true dream job. It doesn’t help anyone if you spend a day for an interview, even though the place doesn’t match your ideas at all.
So, stay active and apply for jobs and companies that meet your expectations without giving up your dream job criteria too quickly. You can do it!
You received an invitation to an interview?
Great! Be happy!
And then start preparing to master the next hurdle on your way to your dream job: the interview. Read here about how to prepare yourself so you will rock that part of the process too.