Turns out making a cut will help you make the cut.

There is an art and a science to writing a CV. On one hand, your CV needs to fit neatly onto two pages and look polished. On the other, it needs to cite the most important and relevant details of your career to impress a HR manager.

With that in mind, it's unsurprising that anyone other than an expert can write a compelling CV suitable for today's job market.

One of the most common edits we make to CVs is eliminating earlier work experience ‒ usually anything older than 10 years or so. Don't panic though ‒ we've not sold you short by excluding these details. We've actually made your CV stronger. Here are a few reasons why.

To prioritise your relevant experience

Your career path to date is more than likely an upward trajectory (even if there are a few bumps in the road). That means that, currently, you're at the peak of your career. In your most recent role, you probably obtained some of your biggest achievements, procured the most valuable skills and held your most senior job title to date.

So if that's the case, why would you draw attention to positions that you had over 10 years ago when you were less qualified? By chopping earlier positions, you give recruiters exactly what they want: your best, most relevant skills ‒ not a comprehensive history of your entire career.

To achieve optimal page length

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to CV writing, there are some industry standards worth paying attention to. In this case, it's the two-page CV rule.

On average, a recruiter spends six seconds reviewing a CV before deciding whether a candidate will move on to the next stage. If your CV is too long, chances are a prospective employer will miss reading some of your best bits. You may leave the time-poor recruiter disgruntled rather than optimistic about your potential.

Therefore, we remove jobs that are older than a decade to slim down a CV so that it fits onto the standard two pages recruiters prefer.

To mitigate age discrimination

Even though the 2010 Equality Act protects job hunters from age discrimination, the bias still exists in recruitment. Almost half of UK workers feel their age holds them back when applying for jobs, and one in seven believe they have been denied a role due to their age.

While there are legal measures in place to mitigate age discrimination during the recruitment process, there are a few CV-writing tactics you can implement too. Removing your earlier employment history or scaling down old details will help shift the focus from your age to your talent.

Exceptions to the rule

While there are a few hard requirements when it comes to writing a CV, the process is generally flexible and you can mould a CV to showcase your employability. Eliminating your earlier work experience is one of the more adaptable rules.

Exceptions include:

  • If you've worked at the same company for more than 10 years

  • If the job you're applying for requires more than 15 years of experience in a specific field

  • If you hold valuable skills from an earlier position that are relevant to your application

That said, trust that your writer has made the choice that is best for your career and candidacy. Generally, it's much smarter to cut the fat and make the last 10 years of your career the prime focus of your CV.

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