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5 cliches IT professionals need to avoid on their CV

Are you an IT specialist? Then you’re in luck, because companies are literally fighting each other to attract talent on the job market. Two decades ago, candidates faced a lot of competition when applying for a job. Today, the tables are turned and employers are doing everything they can to court potential professionals. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

However, your dream job doesn’t just fall into your lap. You still need a good CV to explain recruiters that you are the person they have been waiting for.

A great CV is concise, clear and avoids the typical clichés that we have listed below:

1. Avoid commonly used sentences on your resume

“A great team player”, “results-driven”, “self-motivated”, … This sounds like a great employee that everybody wants to have in their team, right? Unfortunately, every candidate writes this on his or her CV and recruiters have become immune to these kinds of phrases. So instead of saying that you are a team player, explain why you enjoy working with other people and are committed to the overall success of your team. Or find meaningful phrases that reflect your unique qualifications for a job.

Here are some other cliché descriptions you should avoid:

  • Hardworking
  • Thinks outside the box
  • Proven track record
  • Strong work ethic
  • Problem solver
  • Detail-oriented
2. Don’t use language that is too technical

As an IT professional, you cannot avoid technical language in your resume. Just try not to overdo it. For example, don’t use acronyms or terms that people don’t know. As a recent graduate, you probably know a lot fancy words and technologies that you came across during your education. These can be good starting points for a conversation with an organization’s IT manager, but keep in mind that some recruiters are not familiar with this tech jargon. Use technical language only when you need it to describe what you are capable of, and not just to dazzle with pretty words.

3. Don’t focus on irrelevant (IT) skills

Before you start writing your CV or cover letter, you should always have a careful look at the job description. This is where recruiters list the skills you need to qualify for the job. You probably decided to apply because those skills match your own, so make sure you clearly state them in your CV. If you have any additional competences that may be of interest to an employer, be sure to add them. But first focus on the skills that are requested.

Some companies also use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to screen resumes. So if your CV does not contain the right keywords, you may be eliminated during the pre-selection.

4. Don’t add filler information to enhance your CV

As a young IT professional, you don’t have much experience to write about and your CV may look a bit short. Brevity is a good thing, so don’t fall into the trap of adding information that is irrelevant. A recruiter has to read many resumes and is not interested in hearing about your hobbies and interests.

However, some personal information can be valuable. For example, if you have built the website of your local football team, you should definitely mention that on your cv. Or if you have done other voluntary projects that prove you have great teamwork or communication skills, those elements say much more than the cliché soft skills we mentioned in the first point. So think about what personal details are worth sharing and what would be considered filler information.

5. Don’t highlight tasks instead of accomplishments and skills

This tip is especially important if you already have some work experience. Many CVs read like a list of tasks a candidate has performed in the past. ‘Updating the software’, ‘developing a database’, ‘building a new website’, … This does not distinguish you from the competition. Instead, focus on your achievements. So if you have created new software, mention that it has simplified processes and saved employees a lot of time. Make the results of your work as tangible as possible.

If you are a recent graduate, you probably cannot highlight accomplishments. But instead of just listing your skills and certificates, describe how you use them and what your added value would be for a future employer.

Ready, set, go!

There is no recipe for the perfect CV, but there are many ingredients to avoid. Now you are ready to write your own CV and share it with us to find your next job in IT. Or take a look at our job offers and apply. Good luck!

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