Spring Clean your CV

Spring is here, allegedly, and you might be thinking about changing jobs in order to further your career prospects.   As you change jobs your CV inevitably grows longer, and you might find yourself trying to find creative ways to make it fit onto 2 pages (such as changing the margins or changing the size of the font).  But remember that your CV is best presented in a format that recruiters can read quickly – we tend to have a lot of CVs to look at and so we are looking to find out in a matter of seconds whether you can do the job or not.  So rather than changing the margins and fonts, how about giving your CV a spring clean?

  •  Remove redundant sentences: ‘I am a motivated team player’, ‘I can work alone, or as part of a team’, ‘I am an extremely hardworking individual’, ‘I am passionate about customer service’…. As recruiters we can just take these as read!  Don’t waste space on saying things that don’t matter.  Much better to provide examples.
  • The five year rule: Employers will be most interested in your recent experience, particularly in IT where technology moves on quickly.  Therefore unless your current role is less relevant than previous roles, you can provide significantly less detail for roles that were more than 5 years ago.
  • Irrelevant information: If your CV has continued to evolve without a regular ‘spring clean’ you’ll probably find that there is some information in there that is no longer of interest to employers.  You’d be surprised how often we receive CVs from 40-somethings that are probably unaware that they are still boasting things like a bronze duke of Edinburgh award or an under-16s swimming trophy!  As great as these achievements might have been at the time, they are not relevant to your job search now.
  • References: You don’t need to include contact details for references on your CV – if you do, you’re inviting unwanted sales calls to those people, and they won’t thank you for it.  Nor do you need to include ‘references available on request’.  Again, let’s take that as a given, and the recruiter can ask for them at an appropriate stage in the process.
  • Your hobbies and interests: Unless they are relevant to the job you are applying for, there is no need for a detailed overview of everything that makes you tick.  If you are applying for a programming role and you enjoy programming in your spare time, that deserves a mention.  Your collection of porcelain rabbits probably doesn’t.

It won’t take long to clear away the cobwebs from your CV.  Remember that unless you are applying for a role that specifies your CV should be no more than 2 pages, you don’t need to worry about the old ‘2 page’ rule.  If it’s more than 5 though, you should probably consider a more thorough spring clean, but making the changes above ought to ensure your CV starts attracting employers’ attention.