Spring cleaning your CV: Five key points to ditch, and three essentials to include
What hiring managers and recruiters expect to see in candidates’ CVs has changed dramatically in the past few years.
Gone are the days where someone’s date of birth, graduation date, and even their National Insurance number were deemed necessities, and CVs were produced on a standard template that looks and sounds the same as any other.
Today, CVs are a personalised, tailored snapshot of your career, detailing where you want to be and the potential impact you can make in a new role and for a new employer.
If you’re finetuning your CV right now, here’s what you should consider removing for good - and how to make sure you’re on the top of the candidate list next time it matters.
Five things you need to remove from your CV
The talent market is just as susceptible to trends and styles as any other, which also means it’s susceptible to these becoming outdated or entirely irrelevant.
Buzzwords. It’s not always possible to avoid trendy workplace terms, but be wary of using buzzwords too frequently. ‘Synergy’, ‘teamwork’ and ‘expert’ are commonly overused culprits that are becoming less valued by a lot of employers. The same goes for language or shortcuts that may only be used by your current place of work.
Jargon. There are very few occasions where jargon will benefit your job hunt. Make sure the terms you’re using are directly relevant to the role you’re applying for. Keep your CV content clear, concise and relatable.
Non-committal language. Saying you ‘managed’ a task or project can be read a hundred different ways and it doesn’t communicate very much to a hiring manager or recruiter. Instead, opt for impactful - and diverse - verbs and terms, such ‘established’, ‘steered’, ‘directed’, ‘developed’, ‘trained’ and so on. You’re communicating much more in the same space.
Irrelevant jobs. Most of us will have worked one or two jobs that have nothing to do with our career now. They’re taking up space on your CV and hiring managers and recruiters don’t care. It’s time to hit delete. If you really want to highlight the brand you worked for, or cover a certain period of time, include these details at the foot of the CV, and nothing more.
Universal skills. 100 years ago, it would’ve been typing. There are some skills that are no longer rare and in demand. Saying you’re proficient in Microsoft Office or have a background using video communication platforms don’t hold the same weight anymore.
Three golden rules
CVs aren’t just a reflection of who you are as a professional - they demonstrate what you can offer businesses, and the industry. Here are my three golden rules for making your CV instantly attractive and engaging to hiring managers and recruiters.
Cite achievements. Responsibilities communicate that you can do a job and achievements demonstrate your track record of success. If your marketing campaign increased lead generation by 40 per cent, or you designed digital ads for a large scale brand, that’s something to showcase. Facts and figures are great but outcomes of your work are better.
Include a strong profile and scannable content. The easier your CV is to read, the more likely you’ll pique a hiring manager or recruiter’s interest. Include a great profile of four or five lines for background and colour and keep the remaining content easily readable. Bullet points and good white space throughout will make for a visually appealing CV.
Consistency really is key. Presenting as a strong candidate means keeping consistency across all of your professional touchpoints - your CV, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, and portfolio. Make sure important details like your achievements, dates, and job roles all match across the board, because hiring managers and recruiters will look.
The perfect time to update your CV is now
There’s always the temptation to let your CV sit in a folder on your desktop and collect cobwebs. To update yours if you’re about to go for that big promotion, or looking for a new role.
The perfect time to update your CV is now. Keeping yours current and relevant is as important as learning new skills, and familiarising yourself with emerging technology.
It’ll help you grab at new opportunities right when you see them and give you peace of mind that you’re ready and prepared should the worst happen. It’ll even help you identify gaps in your experience to fill.
Your CV is a vital tool in your career toolkit - and a great one can really help accelerate your career.