The ITAM Review

News, reviews and resources for worldwide ITAM, SAM and Licensing professionals.

Writing a Great ITAM CV

This article has been contributed by Kylie Fowler. Regular columnist and Analyst at The ITAM Review.

A CV has one aim, and one aim only – to get a job interview. If the CV gets you the interview, it was a great CV.

CVs should help you stand out from the crowd, but in a way that makes you look skilled but not over-qualified; professional not arrogant; individual but not weird; have flair, drive and energy, but not be difficult to work with.

There are many sources of advice on writing a good CV, although given that CV length and layouts vary from country to country, it is probably wise to ask a local recruiter to review and critique your finished CV rather than relying completely on the general information available on the Internet.

Max Eggert’s “Perfect CV” is an extremely worth-while investment for any job-seeker, and keenly priced even for those who are unemployed and watching every penny. Although specifically written for the Australian and UK job market, much of the advice will be relevant to everyone.

For the most part, a good ITAM CV will include pretty much the same things that make for a good CV in general. Make sure you don’t tell lies about yourself or your previous experience, ensure that the CV is accessible and easy to read (font, formatting etc), spelt correctly and covers all the criteria listed in the job specification.

This article is about turning a good ITAM CV into a great one.

Tip 1: ITAM Recruiters play Business BuzzWord Bingo!

ITAM is a very niche area. The majority of employment agents and HR personnel may only place one or two ITAM positions in their careers so they don’t know the industry-standard terminology that will allow them to skim dozens of CVs and sort out the ‘sheep from the goats’.

In ITAM, more than other areas of IT, recruiters will be looking for the key words that appeared in the Job Specification. Make sure you tailor your CV so it matches the wording of each individual job you are applying for.

If you plan to post a generic version of your CV on an employment website, use several different terms to describe the same function. This will maximise the chance that recruiters get a hit on your CV – for instance, using each of: software asset management, software license compliance, and software license management will mean you get more hits than if you just used one of them consistently.

Tip 2: Focus on your actions, not your responsibilities or roles

Because ITAM is an immature discipline, there is no accepted career structure and no standard terminology to describe it. You can’t say ‘ITAM Analyst’ and be confident that everyone knows what it means.

When talking about your employment history, focus on the actual tasks you carried out, using strong words that grab the reader’s attention. For instance “executed software procurement processes” is much stronger than “responsible for carrying out software procurement’, and will go a long way to getting you that interview.

Tip 3: Quantify Achievements

ITAM practitioners are fortunate in that much of our work can be quantified easily. Recruiters love to see hard figures backing up claims and if you can claim you “reduced lead times for software procurement by 40% in FY2009-2010”, they are going to be impressed even if they have no idea what it actually means in practice!

Tip 4: Sell the Sizzle

Sales people don’t sell the steak, they sell the sizzle! It’s an old, worn adage, but very true. What it means for your ITAM CV is that you need to articulate the benefits of your achievements. Even better than reducing “software procurement lead times by 40% is the fact that you “Increased ServiceDesk productivity by reducing software procurement lead times by 40%, ensuring end-users have the software they need when they need it”.

Tip 5: Sell Your CV

The traditional advice to jobseekers is to send your CV to the decision makers in the organisation you are targeting. However, this thankless task is made even more challenging by the niche nature of ITAM.  Only the largest companies employ more than one ITAM specialist so the chances of a job opening appearing at the time you send in your CV are slim indeed. The exceptions are the large resellers and the specialist SAM consultancies, however if you don’t have previous consulting experience the changes of breaking into consultancy through a ‘cold-call’ CV are slim.

There is little point in sending CVs to recruitment agencies because the majority of agents only place one or two ITAM specialists in their career. Your CV will go on file and may sit there for months or even years before a suitable position appears.

However there is a positive filip to this idea that ITAM is niche. This is that when agents do receive a job specification for an ITAM position they have only one place to turn to…. the internet!

There are many internet recruitment sites – Monster, Jobsite, and Jobserve are just three of the UK based sites. Generally the sites allow you to upload your CV and also to search for jobs advertised on the site by keyword. Not only do the sites allow recruiters to search your CV for particular keywords, doing your own searches can also help you clarify what salary you should be targeting, especially for Asset Administrator and Analyst positions.

Increasingly, however, LinkedIn is THE place to be for ITAM professionals because more and more recruiters and HR departments are using LinkedIn to target their recruitment searches, particularly for more senior Asset Manager positions. The ITAM Review also has  job board which lists (mostly US based) ITAM roles.

For Job Seekers, there are many benefits of creating a LinkedIn profile. You have the ability to upload a CV and complete a special ‘skills’ section in your profile which dramatically increases the chance that your profile will be a hit for at least one of the ‘key words’ in an ITAM related job specification. LinkedIn also provides space for ‘recommendations’ from colleagues, although be aware that a mutual recommendation (where both parties recommend each other) aren’t as valuable to recruiters as one-way recommendations (where someone recommends you, but you don’t recommend them). In addition, there are several very active ITAM oriented groups where you can contribute to discussions, raise your profile and increase your network within this close knit industry, all of which will increase the chances of obtaining an interview.

Your CV is a success if it gets you an interview, but the niche nature of ITAM means that some of the standard rules don’t apply, for instance, sending CVs to ‘decision makers’ in an organisation. The fact that ITAM roles are few and far between, coupled with the fact that ITAM roles are poorly defined means that recruiters are more than usually reliant on internet key word searches to identify potential candidates.  For the ITAM Job Seeker, using the internet as the cornerstone of your job hunt is the key to success, and don’t underestimate how influential LinkedIn can be in building your profile and exposing your CV to recruiters.

This article has been contributed by Kylie Fowler. Regular columnist and Analyst at The ITAM Review.

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About Martin Thompson

Martin is owner and founder of The ITAM Review, an online resource and community for worldwide ITAM professionals.

Martin is also author of the book "Practical ITAM - The essential guide for IT Asset Managers", a book that describes how to get started and make a difference in the field of IT Asset Management.

On a voluntary basis Martin a contributor to ISO WG21 which develops the ITAM International Standard ISO/IEC 19770.

Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter or LinkedIn.

One Comment

  1. One point I discovered, and covered in the

    article is to use the keyords such as SAM, Software Licence Management etc, but use them quite alot. The more they are in there, the

    higher up the search listing your cv will be compared to those who may have only mentioned them once or twice.

    Also, if you have

    saved money, say how much, over what time period, how, etc. If you have managed reduced headcount include that.

    Finally, you don

    ‘t have to follow the career history path straight after your elevator pitch, you could save that to start halfway down the first page

    instead and have a key skills / capabilities / competencies section in between. For example see Introducing Martin Chalkley on The ITAM

    Review for how this might look.

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