Keeping your CV fresh and up to date even when you're not actively looking for a role is so worthwhile.
Hands up who actually gives a thought to their CV when they're happily ensconced in a job that's fulfilling their every need? I suspect hardly anyone. Why would you, when you're content in your role, the money's decent, and your colleagues are friendly? You're quite happy to let your CV fester in some folder in the depths of your computer. There's no need to give it another thought until a change of scene is required. Or is there…?
Maybe one day, you'll come across your ideal job. You tick the boxes for most of the key skills required, the salary's better than expected, and it's an easy commute. The only downside is the deadline to apply for this dream role is tomorrow! Help! Frantically, you search for your CV, finally locating it to find you last looked at it back in 2014. Your last three jobs aren't even mentioned, let alone that award you won, or the latest courses you passed. How you wish you'd spent a small amount of time carrying out quick CV updates when you had the time.
A hastily cobbled together CV is going to look exactly like that to a hiring manager, giving the impression of someone who is disorganised or lazy. Certainly not the image you want to convey! So, while you're in a steady job and not feeling the need to look elsewhere, take stock, take a deep breath, and take the time to update your CV. It only needs to take a few minutes every so often to spring clean your CV and it'll be so worth it in the end.
How can I update my existing CV?
Taking a fresh look at your CV every few months will keep you in tune with your career trajectory and help you to focus on what you've achieved up to that point. So how to update your CV? Go through your CV, following the tips below.
Update the career summary
This section is probably the one that will require the most work. But if you track your accomplishments every few months by jotting down achievements, measurable results, and any help you gave to colleagues that can be shown to have had a tangible effect, then you'll have gone a long way to making it much easier on yourself when you eventually do want to apply for a role.
It means you won't have to think back to the year before last, when the project you were doing at the time was ongoing and all consuming and you felt you'd remember every detail forever. You won't - unless you record it on your CV - and even if it's in note form, that's better than nothing.
Alongside those stand-out moments, think about whether your responsibilities have increased or been extended. These can be included in the general description of the job and highlight yet more responsibility on your part.
The last time you looked at this, you were still doing that entry level role so the profile is - how to put this politely? - still a little basic. A complete refresh is needed to make a more impactful statement about where you are in your career now and what you have to offer. Make the effort to check out key words for similar jobs and add them in if they apply.
Don't forget your contact details
Extremely important, but often overlooked at a time like this, are your contact details. Have you moved house since you last did a CV update? Changed phone numbers? Finally got round to crafting a LinkedIn Profile that you're proud of?
If any of these details are out of date, how are you going to be contacted for that all-important interview when the time comes?
Add in all the updates and, for a neater look, change the hyperlink on your LinkedIn Profile address by right clicking on the address itself, selecting Edit Hyperlink and changing it to either “LinkedIn” or “your name | LinkedIn”.
Add in any extras
What really makes a CV stand out are the added value details such as awards, key achievements, and relevant CPD (Continued Professional Development). And, again, it's easy to forget that you undertook that course 18 months ago… unless you add it to your CV as soon as it's completed. Then, you don't need to rack your brains trying to remember the exact title of the course and the year you did it. After all, it helps with the job search in the future.
Keep to two pages
If, after all the adding of extra information and sections, your CV is stretching to over two pages, trim it back by either completely removing or drastically reducing roles that you were in more than 10 years ago. Recruiters are only interested in the last 10 years of your career (there are exceptions, of course), so it's wise to get rid of older jobs - especially if they hold no relevance to what you're looking for today.
You've done the groundwork of updating your CV frequently. Just keep plugging away at the CV update every few months, knowing it will hold you in good stead for when the time comes for you to actually apply for a new position.
Armed with the information you've gathered over the last few months or years, let our CV professionals take the strain by converting it into a document that really shines. Check out our free CV review for starters!