Never too young to write a CV

How do you design a CV for your first shot at IT management?

It's a competitive world out there. A study in the US showed that 30% of six-year-olds now have comprehensive resumes complete with referees and their own HR consultant.

Well I might be exaggerating slightly. Still, I wouldn't be surprised if it was true.

And the younger you start playing around with a CV, hopefully the easier designing one will become.

This week I've spoken to three professionals about how to design a CV specifically for your first shot at an IT management position.

Harcourts Group IT manager Jason Wills, Sapphire Technologies (recruitment firm), New Zealand country manager Craig McGrory and Diagnostic Medical Laboratories IS manager Dave Aarons all agree that you need to think about any management experience you've had and give some detail in your CV about it.

McGrory says your CV should be structured around competencies such as people leadership and financial skills rather than product-based skills, when it comes to applying for IT management roles.

"You may not have had a title as a manager, but may have lead teams or been the senior developer on a team. So you had to ensure the other developers had the right guidelines, problem resolution and that they were working on time and on budget," says McGrory.

He says it's a matter of pulling out the traits - like initiative, leadership, and people and financial management - that are going to be important at a management level.

Wills says whether it's a project you were in charge of or just involved in, mention what successes came from it, how it helped the company and what recognition you got.

All agree that it is worth mentioning some of your technical knowledge.

Wills says he put in one technical project just to show that he's had that experience.

McGrory says it depends on the type of role - if you're managing a technical team then you will probably need to have more detail about your technical background - as well as your management ability.

However, if it's more general management, the CV should focus on results and wider issues, which show your ability to manage.

Aarons believes it's important to mention your technical ability, because that background is important when managing technical people.

There are no hard rules on CV length. Wills suggests no more than six pages and recommends taking out old information. "I've taken out my polytechnic qualifications - it's more [about] experience."

Aarons believes it should only run to about two pages and include a maximum of a five years' history. "The rest is bullet points. Who's interested in what you did 10 years ago?"

Send email to Kirstin Mills. Letters for publication should be sent to Computerworld letters.

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