By: Amber Rolfe – reed.co.uk
Has your CV reached its expiry date?
Whilst you should always tailor your CV to every job you apply for, figuring out when you need to make a bigger change isn’t always easy. But in some situations, tailoring or even refreshing your CV might not be enough – and a total overhaul is key if you want to put your job search on the right track.
To help you figure out if yours is out of date, here are five ways to tell if you need a new CV:
1.You’re not getting interviews
So you’ve spent hours searching and applying for suitable roles, but you never hear anything back. Sound familiar?
As red flags go, they might not come much clearer than this.
Whilst your initial reaction may be to beat yourself up, accept defeat, or submit to life in a job you hate, you might find that revisiting your CV is all it takes to turn your job search around.
After all, it’s the first thing a recruiter sees when reviewing applications, and most importantly, the primary deciding factor for whether you’re a good fit – so regularly refreshing it is absolutely worth your time.
Ask yourself: is my CV too long? Is the layout letting me down? Am I tailoring it to every job?
You could also be guilty of a number of other CV faux pas without even realising it; from overlooking common grammar mistakes to overusing clichés.
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2. You’ve had it for a long time
If you’ve had the same CV for a while, you should definitely reconsider its relevancy.
After all, it might’ve worked great for the roles you were applying for seven years ago, and maybe it accurately represented your skills in the summer of 99’ – but will it still have the same effect years later?
Chances are, probably not.
Whether it’s that the layout is dated, your contact details are no longer accurate, or your skills aren’t relevant anymore, there are a number of aspects that could be in need of a refresh.
Remember: your CV doesn’t effortlessly match with everything, it’s not always in fashion, and it will need tailoring to fit. It’s a job application, not your favourite denim jacket*.
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3. You’re changing careers
If you’re looking for work in a new industry, your CV needs to look the part.
Not only does this mean writing a new personal statement in line with your career goals, it also means adapting the focus of your entire CV.
This could involve everything from placing an emphasis on your transferable skills or removing irrelevant skills and experience, to adjusting the order of your CV or adding more detail to your most applicable attributes.
If in doubt, always use the job description as a guide.
Not only will it give you a rundown of the skills you need to demonstrate, it’ll also cover the duties and responsibilities involved with the role – allowing you to provide relevant examples of your ability to carry them out.
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4. You’ve had a recent success
So you’ve taken a course, earned the certificate, and got the ‘I love spreadsheets’ T-shirt.
You might have even started to apply your knowledge practically, which in turn is putting in the groundwork for future career progression. But have you told anyone yet? (N.B. your mum doesn’t count).
OK, we get it; if you’re not actively searching for a role, adding your recent accomplishments to your CV might not be the first thing on your mind.
But not only could keeping your details up-to-date save you time in the long run, it could also open you up to roles you might not even know existed.
Whether it’s that your CV is on an online database or you feature it on social media – this is exactly where recruiters look when headhunting candidates. And your recent success could be just what they’re looking for.
Get a better job in exchange for a five second CV update? It’s basically a no-brainer.
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5. You’re returning from a career break
So you’re ready to enter the world of work after traveling/raising a family/insert other reason for a career break here. Now what?
First things first, you need to rewrite your CV.
To make sure your time out of work isn’t taken the wrong way, it’s vital to not only explain the reason for the gap in your CV – but also to talk about the transferable skills you gained during your time out of work.
For example, you may have done some volunteer work while on a gap year, taken a course after a redundancy, or demonstrated a whole other host of skills through raising a family or looking after a family member.
Just remember: there is such a thing as TMI. Talking about how traveling taught you a flexible work ethic is great, but anything to do with stroking tigers is probably best left out.
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