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How to sell your skills on a tech CV

Swiss army knifeWhen it comes to getting an employer's attention, having the skills isn't enough - you need to be able to show them off, too.

Prove it

If you've got certifications or other formal qualifications, make sure you mention them. You should also show how you've used your skills, with examples of work you've done or personal projects you've undertaken.

It can be especially convincing to point the employer to something concrete they can look at, like a relevant blog or some code you've written.

Don't use too much detail

It can feel like you need to cram everything you’ve ever done onto your CV, in case the thing you leave out would have got you the job. But if your CV is overloaded, employers might miss the really important parts. If someone non-technical deals with it, they might not even know what all that detail actually means.

The easiest way to get your skills across without flooding your CV with detail is to include a separate section that summarizes your skills in a simple list. That way, employers can see at a glance if you’ve got what they need. You can go into more detail about your knowledge and experience for the most important skills in the rest of your CV.

Prioritize

Some of your skills will be more important than others - and which ones are which depends on the job you're applying for. Read the job description carefully, and tweak your CV for each job so that it focuses on the right skills.

Don't oversell

A common mistake, especially for people who are just starting out, is to say you're 'expert' or 'experienced' at something when you're not. Sometimes this is just an attempt to look good, but it can also happen if you don't think carefully enough about how strong your skills are.

Even if overselling gets you a job interview, chances are the interviewer will ask for more detail - and if they think you don't have the skills you said you did, it won't make a good impression.

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