Spring is here. This is a time of the year when I give the house a good clean. I love getting rid of unwanted items, and love to move everything so I get at trapped dust. It’s a lovely feeling to see my windows sparkle, to have got rid of cobwebs, to start to think of the summer and warmer days ahead. This could be a good time to do the same for your CV.
Critically review your CV
Whether we are actively looking for a job, or not, it’s still important that we have a CV that’s ready to go. You may find a perfect job to apply for, perhaps a promotion at work, or you could find your job being made redundant.
So get it out and give it a careful read through. How happy are you with it? Does it portray the current version of you? Is it focused on your strengths now and where you want to go in the future?
Let’s look at some of the things you need to do.
Bring it up to date
Although we know we should keep our CV up to date, what usually happens is that once our CV has done it’s job and we have a new job, we then don’t look at our CV again. Then all of a rush we need it and may not even be able to find it. Lucy has recently started working with me and she had to spend time rebuilding her CV, a much bigger job than editing a document.
But even people like Carl who had a CV to refer to, hestill needed to put in quite a bit of work. 5 years in a job and he needed to update his CV to include his current job and thus reduce the amount included on previous jobs to keep it to 2 sides. Although not set in stone, a CV of longer than 2 days should be the exception for people with an extensive career history, not for a 30 year old with 4 jobs.
Dawn got in touch with me today, she’s been working through my CV eBook, and was on her way to a great CV but then she saw a perfect job and needs a new CV fast. Again it’s been a few years since she has used her CV, her original was dated and her revised one is only partly complete, hence looking to me to get it done fast for her.
Update the style
Styles change. When you tidy up your home you may come across old photos and wonder why you ever dressed as you did, but that was the fashion at the time. Same with your CV – the old style can look plain boring, and dated. Get rid of the long profile about what you want. The employer doesn’t care. It should be about them, not you. So think more about what you have to offer and what makes you different and stand out from all the other people looking for a similar job to you.
Look too at the font, Times New Roman looks dated, and as most CVs are read on screen you may prefer to use Verdana or Tahoma or similar. Don’t be afraid to add colour, some graphs and a recommendation or two.
Make good use of space
Just as in your home, less looks better. At home we tidy book shelves and artfully positioned objects. With our CV we should consider the presentation and lok to include white space on your CV. Avoid making narrow margins and cramming in as much as you can. Give thought to what will look best and show off the most relevant skills and expertise to best affect.
Modern CVs should include a link to your LinkedIn profile so include a link to this alongside your contact details. (You may need to review your LinkedIn profile too). Omit your address if you are posting your CV online, and when you include your mobile number, there is no need to type in ‘mobile number,’ it is obvious.
List relevant skills and key words
Software is now used to shortlist CVs so you must include relevant key words within your CV, not just in a skills section. The software will search for keywords so you need to have relevant ones throughout your CV. But they have to be based on truth and experience; when you get to interview your examples should provide evidence to back up these key words. Think about both technical skills which relate to the job but also softer skills such as being approachable, visionary, team player, self motivated.
Too many CVs still contain dense descriptive text.
No one wants to read your job description on your CV they want to know what you have achieved. So review your CV and make sure it includes key achievements that demonstrate how you have made a difference in your jobs, and how what you have done relates to the requirements of the job. Use action words to start each bullet.
Focus on what’s relevant
If you are in your late 20s, or older you don’t need to include details on your GCSEs. As a new graduate you would have been proud of university achievements but work experience will be more important so let things go.
And if your career history goes beyond 15-20 years there’s no need to include every job, going back 30 years or more. Your first jobs are unlikely to be relevant now.