So, Christmas is over and it's back to work. Inevitably our thoughts turn to our 2019 resolutions...
These will usually include more exercise and less booze, but for many January will also include a change of job. In fact across the tech space, people on average change jobs every 2 ½ years so the chances are fairly high.
Whilst the temptation might be to dust down your old CV and update it with your most recent job, it’s worth taking a minute to reflect on how you can give your CV a workout and ensure its fit for the task ahead.
Here at Skillsearch we see thousands CV’s every year, and throughout my career, I’ve seen hundreds of thousands, so I know what takes it from the bin to top of the pile! By doing the basics brilliantly, you’ll be in the best possible shape to tailor your CV to those specific job roles as and when they start cropping up.
So, here’s my essential checklist to follow when updating your CV:
Out with the Old!
If you have more than a decade of work under your belt and you’re adding your latest position, then drop the details of your oldest employment from the end of your cv. It’s OK to keep the dates, your job title, and your employer but no-one needs to see a paragraph on what you did on a project in 1998.
At the extreme end, we regularly see CVs for contractors that hold 20 years’ worth of detailed information on every contract completed. It’s too much.
Whilst I don’t subscribe to view of limiting CVs to 2 or 3 pages, there must be a balance that takes the reader into consideration.
The Main work out...
Whilst we’re talking about career history, remember to start with your most recent job first, then work backward. Potential employers don’t want to have to read through pages and pages just to find out what you might be doing right now
Keep the key detail on page one
Describe your current/last role in detail as that’s what potential new employers are most interested in. Discuss in depth the projects you’ve recently worked on and at what level. Have you led a team? How many people? Have you seen some really good results? What were they? What did you do with the tech you were using?
By glancing at your cv you should instantly see the largest block of description against the most recent roles and then dropping off as the pages go by.
We understand that historic roles may reflect something relevant to your future job hunt, but just highlight the most relevant aspects of the role and dispense with the rest.
Avoid using the third person
When writing your CV avoid this at all costs! Richard thinks it sounds strange when people refer to themselves as if they were strangers 😊
Include your contact details
Make sure you have your up to date contact details on your CV. Your CV might end up in a client’s inbox far away from the address you originally sent it to, so make sure you can be found easily. And yes, that does include your email address.
Make sure you have your CV tailored to a few different roles
When you are ready to start applying for roles, it’s easy to take a scattergun approach, firing off your CV to as many roles as possible – DON’T DO IT! Quality over quantity is key here.
Yes, have one main CV but you need to tailor it to each job you apply for in order to stand the best chance possible.
This doesn’t need to be as tedious as it may seem and as you refine the process you’ll get better and better at it. It’s simply a case of understanding which of your skills are most relevant for each role, then editing your CV to ensure these are most prominent.
Different font types, inconsistent font sizes, different font colours. We have seen all of these and sometimes all on the same CV.
- Choose a font (Times New Roman can be dull)
- Choose a size that’s easy to read but doesn’t make your CV double in length
- Make sure everything is the same colour
- Make sure where you have a different sized font (e.g. headers) it applies across the CV
It's fine to be creative, but be consistent. You could always try a CV template if your formatting needs a complete overhaul.
Do a thorough spelling and grammar check
Typos in your CV are a big no-no! Automated spell checkers will help to a point, but a tech CV littered with technical terms and programming languages needs a really detailed read before you send it out of the door.
It can be helpful to get someone to proofread your CV. A fresh pair of eyes can often pick up something obvious you’ll be blind to (but if you do be sure to read the last point!!)
Check your CV one final time
Before pressing send, be sure to give it one last read through before it goes out the door, don’t rush this last step.
The best (most extreme) example I can offer here is the time I had to phone a candidate to ask him if he knew that in his hobbies and interests it stated he had an interesting relationship with woolly farm animals (not the actual words the cv used). Awkward! Obviously, he’d been pranked by a “friend” but he’d sent that CV out 30 times and hadn’t checked it. It’s not the best first impression.
Hopefully, you’re ready to tackle updating your CV now?! If you need any further tips for getting into shape for your 2019 job hunt check out our 12 tips of Christmas or of course get in touch with myself of one of the team.
Happy New Year! Richard