Signs your CV needs a refresh

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Laura Sullivan at TopCV shares her advice on how to tell if your CV needs a refresh before you apply to another vacancy.

If you’re considering looking for a new job but haven’t looked at your CV in a little while, here are some key signs that it needs a refresh and how you can go about making these updates.

Your personal details are excessive

Once upon a time, it was customary to include a range of personal details at the top of your CV, from your full address and date of birth, to your marital status and number of dependants. Today, this extra information simply isn’t necessary, either because it doesn’t it have anything to do with your suitability for the job, is protected under the Equality Act 2010, or because it’s listed on the accompanying application form.

The only personal details that should appear at the top of your CV include your name, professional title, phone number and email address. You can also list your location in the format of town and county, rather than your full address, and a link to your LinkedIn profile if you think it’s appropriate.

Your education is no longer a prominent selling point

The education and qualifications section of a CV confuses a lot of job hunters, with common questions including what order should I list my certificates in? Should I list every single competency? And do I need to split schooling from other qualifications?

If you have over five years of work experience, chances are you can refresh your education section and scale it back. If you’re a seasoned professional, you simply need to list your most valuable or relevant qualifications, detailing the grade, title of the certificate, the institution or awarding body, and the year you obtained the qualification.

Some of your qualifications may be redundant too. For example, there’s little need to list every single GCSE, O-Level, A-Level or equivalent, if you have a degree, as that carries much more weight. If you finished university more than a decade ago, you can afford to cut the lesser qualifications from your CV to make room for your employment history.

Some of your work experience is no longer relevant

The same thinking applies to your work experience. Your CV should detail your most impressive selling points. You’ll have obtained most of these in your recent roles. Therefore, you shouldn’t be afraid to reduce the detail of old positions.

While you will expand on recent jobs on your CV to detail responsibilities and achievements, positions older than five years or so can be abbreviated to employment dates, your job title and the company. It’s perfectly acceptable to remove roles older than a decade as they are unlikely to display your value to the recruiter.

Your bullet points fail to showcase your true value

It’s all very well listing your duties, responsibilities, and the skills you’ve utilised in your most recent role, but simply writing ‘managed accounts’ or ‘talked to sponsors’ isn’t going to make the sell.

If you think your CV doesn’t showcase your true potential, it’s likely to need a refresh.

With each bullet point, think about how you can highlight your ability. A great start is by quantifying your achievements or duties with figures. For example, if you managed accounts, how many did you look after and did their value increase by a certain percentage? You can also support your statements with extra facts, for example, if you talked to sponsors, was it a pressurised environment and did you have to remain organised?

By zooming in on the specifics of your roles, you’ll present yourself as a talented professional worthy of an interview.

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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