You've moved up the ladder - make sure it shows!

As you move from one job to another, it can be tempting to update your CV simply by adding on your latest job. However, as your career evolves, so should your CV; an entry-level CV used at the start of your career is likely to sell you very short 10 years later. Layout, wording, and more must be changed as you progress in your career. Consider the following changes to upgrade your document to reflect how you've grown:

Move the education section

It's likely that your education was your key selling point at the start of your career and was therefore positioned near the top of your CV. Unless you plan to change careers, your experience is now your greater selling point and should be promoted above the education section accordingly. As a general rule of thumb, keep the prime information in the top half of the first page.

Minimise the details of your education

When fresh out of university with little or no professional experience, you'll have included a robust, detailed education section. This would likely have featured everything from degree modules and dissertation titles to grades. As a mid-level professional or senior manager, this level of detail is superfluous. Simply mention that you have a degree and which subject you studied. And include only your highest level of education – if you have a degree, GCSE details can be removed.

Be selective about which roles you include

When you're firmly established in your career, earlier roles can become irrelevant. If today you're leading a large sales team as a regional manager, or winning contracts worth millions of pounds, a Saturday job shelf-stacking in Tescos really doesn't add any value to your CV. There's no obligation to include every detail of your life, so if an early career position isn't supporting your cause, just omit it.

Cut the clichés

A graduate CV is frequently peppered with words like hardworking, enthusiastic and timekeeping. Really, this is the bare minimum that an employer would expect ‒ it will be taken for granted that you tick these boxes if you've managed to hold a job for any period of time. Once you have some experience under your belt, it's time to show, not tell. Let your responsibilities and achievements tell the story. For example, replace "good timekeeping" with a concrete example of when you successfully met a challenging deadline. Focus your CV on achievements, rather than tasks and empty words.

Link to your LinkedIn profile

Presuming you have a decent LinkedIn profile (and if not, why don't you?!), you should add a link to this in your contact details. A LinkedIn profile provides a great opportunity for recruiters to find out more about you and conduct their background research. When you're established in your field, you're able to maximise features on LinkedIn to upload samples of your work and collect recommendations for other professionals. It's a way to promote yourself and build your brand on LinkedIn to attract recruiters beyond the limits of your CV. If you have a website, blog, or any other professional web presence, feel free to link those too. Just remember, this is a formal document ‒ social media links, unless directly business-related, would be out of place.

Give space to what matters

With a job or two under your belt, roles are going to start competing for space on your CV. Remember to position them in reverse-chronological order, i.e. with the most recent at the top. Your current job should take up more space and contain more detail than earlier jobs. Therefore, when you update your CV, don't just add new job details to your career history. Instead, read through all your previous roles and cut out any words and sentences which now seem superfluous, irrelevant, self-explanatory, or too detailed.

Take out the hobbies

As a university or school leaver, it's normal to include some hobbies and interests on your CV to give potential recruiters a more rounded view of you as a person. As an established professional, these add little value. Your skills, experience, and achievements are more important to the HR manager, so that's where your CV should focus. That said, if your pastimes include voluntary work, this is appealing at any level (although the amount of detail you include may change).

Throw in some numbers

As you're given more responsibility, your CV needs to reflect it. Numbers are the easiest way to highlight your seniority in a concrete manner. Imagine you were a supervisor last year and a team leader this year. There's likely to be a lot of overlap in terms of leadership skills, so that's where the numbers come in. State that last year you supervised three people but this year you're leading a team of 15. Immediately, the jump in responsibility and skill level is apparent. This approach can be applied to many responsibilities when you're looking to progress to a management position. Consider quantifying your budget, your sales figures, the number of sites you worked across, the number of cases in your portfolio ‒ the list is endless. 

Remember, to upgrade your job, you need to upgrade the CV you're applying with. The saying goes, "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have," and the same principle can be applied to your CV. Tailor it to where you're going, not to where you've come from. Good luck as you climb the ladder!

Entry level, mid-level, senior level ‒ how does your CV present you? Find out by receiving a free CV review.

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