Five telltale signs your CV needs a refresh

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Laura Slingo at TopCV explains five undeniable signs that your CV is in need of a refresh. 

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If you’re looking for a new job, your CV is the key to unlocking this success. As a result, it needs to be polished and perfected so that it fits the vacancy’s requirements. Is your CV up to par? Here are five tell-tale signs your CV could use a refresh before you send your application.

1. You’ve detailed your date of birth, address and marital status

Once upon a time, it was customary to include a range of personal details on your CV, such as your age, full address, marital status and dependents. If you haven’t updated your CV for a while, chances are you’ve listed this information.

Today, we’re much savvier when it comes to data protection on CVs and recruiters prefer to operate on a need-to-know basis.

Since it makes no difference to the prospective employer whether you’re 45 living in the shires with your family of four or 26 and single in the middle of London with your 13 cats, strike these details from your CV.

The personal details at the top of the document should be limited to your name, email address, mobile number, social media handles and your town and county of residence (as opposed to your full address).

2. It doesn’t directly address your goals … or the employer’s

There’s no such thing as one size fits all in CV writing for two reasons. Firstly, every jobseeker has experienced a different career trajectory, and so a CV should be customised to reflect the positives of this journey. Secondly, every business has its own needs, and a vacancy will reflect that. That means that tailoring your CV to each application is essential if you want to appear relevant to that employer.

If your CV doesn’t reflect your current career goals, then it’s unlikely you’ll land the job you really want. For example, if you’re shooting for a more senior position or a career change, your CV will require an update to show employers why your skill set and career aims align with the opportunities on offer.

In the same vein, if your CV doesn’t mirror the requirements listed in the job description, the employer may breeze past your CV and onto the next candidate because you haven’t shown that you’re suitable. It’s worth updating your CV to prove why you’re worthy of an interview.

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3. It documents every job you’ve ever had

Many professionals forget that a CV isn’t a complete documentation of their employment history. And for those who are aware of this, many are scared to delete a few ‘just in case’.

But what use is a role you had 10 years ago to a prospective employer? Not much. If you do have the complete works of your career listed on your CV, the document needs updating.

The most important job on your CV is your most recent one as it signals the highest point of your career so far. Therefore, most of your employment history section should be dedicated to this position.

As you work your way back through old roles, you can afford to reduce the detail. For positions older than 15 years, delete them from your CV ‒ they take up valuable space and aren’t adding to your candidacy.

4. You’ve listed your duties and responsibilities      

Listing duties and responsibilities on your CV is a good start, but they only tell recruiters so much. To set yourself apart from the rest of the competition, you need to quantify your abilities as well.

If all you have under each position of employment is a list of your main duties, your CV needs bringing up to scratch.

Instead of bullet pointing your day-to-day tasks, explain your achievements with measurable metrics, such as the number of people you managed or how much you exceeded your sales targets by. This will help show employers your true value, not just the tasks you are capable of.

5. It’s over two pages long

While CVs are generally flexible documents that can be tweaked and tailored to every candidate’s situation, there are a few ground rules that should be obeyed. One of these involves the length of the CV.

Two pages is the ideal benchmark – for entry-level candidates, it should be one page, for director-level, it might be three. If your CV is way over two pages and you’re not yet at that highest level (which is often the case for most jobseekers), you need to scale it back.

Not only will its substantial length put recruiters off reading the entire thing, but for those that do take a stab at reading it, they’ll find it incredibly hard to digest as it’s probably filled with irrelevant details.

Reduce your CV to what’s necessary for the application and two pages should be no problem.

TopCV offers a range of CV-writing services including expertly-written and keyword-optimised CVs, cover letters and LinkedIn profiles. It is currently offering a free CV review to help you land your dream job.

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