Unlike regular CVs, a technical CV specifically highlights an individual's technical skills and experiences in order to showcase their suitability of a particular role. This type of CV is necessary for jobs in fields that require specialised knowledge or training, such as technology, engineering, or scientific research.
It can be challenging to figure out how to convey your technical expertise in CV form, which is why we’re here to help! Take a look at our technical CV template here, and read on for tips on how you can make this example your own.
Have a Clear Structure for Your Technical CV
You should include the following sections in your technical CV:
• Personal information
• Relevant technical skills and abilities
• Educational background and any degree modules relevant to the position.
• Relevant past projects, work experience, and general skills.
• Any relevant extracurricular activities, interests, and/or certifications.
Your CV should be no more than two pages long. List your points in reverse chronological order – starting with most recent experiences first, and then working your way backwards from there.
You are free to choose the order in which you put your sections and how you want to title them. However, try to place the sections that best demonstrate you have the ability to perform the job you are applying for in eye-catching positions, and allocate the most space for those sections. For instance, if the job you’re applying for requires good customer-facing skills, don’t hide your internship working as a client support engineer on the second page!
Although you should try to prioritise technical experiences in your CV, there is still room to showcase your other experiences if needed. For example, if you have at least three items of technical-based work experience but lots of experience in retail/hospitality part-time jobs, you could divide them into separate sections called “Technical work experience” and “Non-technical work experience”.
Your Contact Information
This section should be at the top of your CV, and should include all information that a recruiter may need in order to contact you. Your email address, phone number, and your physical address are musts. Make sure that the email address you use is professional-sounding as well.
You can choose to include links to your LinkedIn profile and/or online portfolios, if you have those. This could be your own website or a GitHub profile. If you do include a link to a portfolio, make sure to curate it beforehand to show projects/past work that you are most proud of and which showcase your full range of technical skills.
You do not need to include a photo of yourself or information such as your date of birth, gender, ethnicity, or religion. If your CV does get shortlisted, you will be providing this info to an employer in their application form anyway.
Do I Include a Personal Statement?
Usually, no. You will likely be asked to submit a separate writeup to discuss your motivations for applying for your chosen role and employer – whether in a cover letter/email, or in an online application form.
As such, a personal statement (or professional profile) on your CV will just be repeating yourself. Save the space for other points instead.
Emphasise Your Education
Make sure to include your degree, major, grade (whether final or projected) and any relevant coursework or academic honors. List your qualifications in reverse chronological order, with the most recent one first.
Not all technical degrees have the same course content, so it may also be useful to briefly describe the modules and projects you have completed - especially if they are applicable to the position.
If you’ve obtained any additional credentials (e.g. external certifications, online courses, etc.), describe them briefly as well so recruiters get a better idea of what they’re all about.
How to Showcase Your Technical Skills
You don’t need give an exhaustive list of all of your technical skills. Simply focus on the ones that the employer and the role requires and don't include anything that isn’t relevant or might be outdated.
Try to organise your technical skills in categories to make it easier for recruiters to see the range and types of skills you have at a glance. Feel free to arrange your skills in the way that you feel will best showcase them.
However, remember that you will need to expand on these skills in the work experience section of your CV later, giving examples of how you used them. Recruiters will want to see evidence of the skills you’ve listed in action, so make sure you can back those up before you list them here!
How to Present Your Work Experience
The work experience section is the part recruiters pay most attention to, so this should occupy the most space in your CV. In this section you should detail your past work experiences. These might be internships, industrial placements, part-time jobs, or research work.
For each piece of experience you list, include a brief description of your responsibilities and achievements. Keep the focus specifically on your own actions, as opposed to talking in general terms about what your team or peers did.
Remember: this section is a key opportunity for you to put your technical skills into context and show recruiters how you have successfully applied your knowledge in real life. Whenever possible, use numbers or measurable outcomes to show the impact your work had. This gives recruiters clear evidence of your contributions.
Your work experience doesn’t just have to be from formal work placements. Volunteer work, case study competitions, events, hackathons, personal or academic projects may count as well. What matters is that they give practical examples of your technical skills at work, while showcasing your interest in developing them.
Lastly, don’t neglect to showcase your soft skills as well! Technical skills prove to recruiters that you can do the job, but soft skills are what differentiate you as an excellent candidate instead of just an okay one.
Do your best to describe moments where your soft skills were applied in your past experiences. For instance, give examples where you had to learn new skills, work together with a team in order to achieve a goal, or overcame a tough problem as a group.
What to Put in the Extra-Curricular or Interests Section
Any other projects or experiences that don’t fit into the above categories can fit in this section. Use this as a further opportunity to showcase your technical or soft skills to employers.
What you do in your free time can tell recruiters a lot about you. So don’t be afraid to include any clubs, groups, or events that show how you’ve developed your skills or demonstrate that you have a genuine interest in your technical field.
If you’ve held positions of responsibility in student clubs or societies (even if they’re non-technical related), those are good evidence of your soft skills at work as well. If you’ve taken online courses, feel free to highlight the more interesting ones as well.
Customise Your CV for Every Employer
Resist the urge to just create one technical CV and spam it to every employer you apply to. Your CV is meant to accompany your cover letter and/or application form in telling a story about why you’re the right person for this particular job. You need to tailor your technical CV for every individual employer/role you apply to if you want maximum results.
Pay careful attention to the skills and competencies required in the job description. Then, when writing up your work experience, make sure examples of these skills are at the top of the section and that you elaborate on them. Mimic the wording that the employer uses, and make sure these essential skills stand out.
A useful time-saving tip is to create one “master” CV template and then just use that as your starting base for each application. You can edit and adapt it for the specific role, and then save it as a separate file for that employer in particular.
Check Your Accuracy Before Sending
Make sure you thoroughly double check your technical CV before sending it out to potential employers! Pay special attention to these:
• Your grammar and spelling.
• Make sure your writing is easily understandable.
• You’ve provided all the details that the employers are looking for.
• You didn't leave the name of another company on your CV!
If possible, try to have your CV “peer-reviewed” too. Get a friend or family member with good attention to detail to take a look at it. They might spot some errors you may have missed.
If you know a technical professional as well, try asking them to give your CV a once-over too to ensure you didn’t use any technical terms incorrectly!