Some people treat their CV just like a savings account. They keep adding to it over time, bit by bit. Sometimes they take a bit out but mostly it’s just left to build. This may be a sound approach for long term financial planning. However, it definitely is not a good long term approach to your CV. You end up with either a totally unbalanced picture of your work history or a CV as long as your arm. Neither of which are going to impress employers. Job seeker approaches to their CV can be broadly broken down into three categories.
Are you one of those job seekers that only ever add to their CV and never take anything away? If so, this is the equivalent to hoarding. This relates to risk averse job seekers who are concerned in taking out anything that might possibly be of some use to the recruiter. Even that CSE grade D in mathematics taken in 1977 stays in. Well, you know, just in case. Deep inside the hoarder knows this information is really of little value but they are too worried about taking it out. The hoarder will end up with a CV that will be 5 to 10 pages long.
When someone starts a collection of something – say stamps or Star Wars figures, they usually start out with lots of enthusiasm and energy. Over time that passion begins to wane. One movie franchise will overtake another in the popularity stakes. Stamps, well, enough said. Many job seekers set about writing their CV with the best of intentions. They start with lots of detail in the early days but then add only short abbreviated sections for later jobs. The result is an unbalanced CV that lends too much weight to the early part of a career.
The refresher holds a healthy attitude to their CV. Whilst keeping hold of valuable historical experiences they also like to embrace new things. The refresher will take a new approach each time they prepare their CV. They’ll be ruthless about editing out past information so they can wax lyrical about their most recent achievements. They will think about the types of job they are applying for and re-align their CV to these roles. With a long career behind them they may well edit out some of the early jobs entirely.
And the winner is…
Needless to say, the Refresher’s CV is going to be the most effective. Employers are generally interested in what you have been doing most recently. So focus on the last 5 or so years of your career – if you have got that far – and certainly anything further back than 10 years can be summarised. Give yourself a 2-page CV format and this helps focus the mind on the amount of space you have to work with. Be brutal with editing and take a fresh approach to your CV every time you enter the job market.
Originally published at https://jobs.theguardian.com/article/is-your-cv-becoming-a-collector-s-item-/