How to write a CV is surely the most covered recruitment advice topic. Every single recruiter in the world will have more or less strong opinion on how you should write a CV. As you progress in your career, the recruiters will always advise you to keep your CV up to date. When you talk to them about a possible job, they would ask you to update your CV and send it to them. This article will show you that every time you update your CV your chances of getting your next job are slimmer.
If you have +5 or especially +10 years of working experience you are most likely to have a classic chronological CV where your roles are listed in reverse order. Your last position will be listed first. By doing a statistical analysis on various CV databases, I have found one very strange anomaly. If you look at CVs of people with +10 years of experience what you will find is that the more recent the position in their CV, the less characters are used to describe the position. In most cases there is one of the positions that are 5 or more years ‘old’, that is described in detail with largest number of characters. Going forward the newer positions above it are getting less and less representation on the CVs. You can see the same actually on the LinkedIn profiles, the modern version of the CV. The position that is most likely not to have any text description is the current position held.
It did look strange. The most current position being the one people talk the least on their CVs. In the same time this is in vast majority of cases the peak of the career, the position where the skills utilised are the most relevant for the next job one is applying for. As opposed to those relevant skills and achievements the CVs talk in great detail about some position held many years ago, where skills utilised are not really that relevant any more.
Updating of the CV worst thing you can do to your career
Let’s look at how the CV most of us have is created. How is it first created actually. Next we will look at what happened with that CV. We will also see how each ‘update’ decreased its quality and decreased your chance of getting the next job.
Most of us write a CV by following the guidance of tons of books and online resources. Our CVs are after their original creation – perfect. We craft it with attention to details, we make sure there is not one word to many, that it is all perfectly balanced and visually pleasing. The Perfect CV is born!
The update of the CV is the proces that will ruin all we have achieved with our Perfect CV. What we usually do we just stick one more position on top of the part usually titled Work Experience. As we notice the bottom of the CV is spilling on the page 3 or 4, and we do know that we should keep the CV to 2 page long max, the result is in a very short description of that latest position added. It usually is about 2/3 of the length the role below it. Your next update of the CV is the same process. You add another role on top of the Experience and make it even shorter than the last one. Note that a section titled Profile or Career Goal, or whatever you titled that nice few sentences telling who you are and what you are good at, rarely gets updated. As the career progresses the Profile section is actually getting less relevant. It is ageing.
If you update your CV 3 or more times, it is for the majority of modern workforce a document that no one should be proud of. Sending it to the recruiters is unprofessional, and your chances of getting that new job are very slim. You simply did what you have been told: ‘Update your CV’. Updating your CV killed it. It gives wrong, and what is even worse, poor impression of you. Your CV started perfect, and ended up really poor. I only have one advice, and that is:
Never update your CV!
Instead of adding a new position in your Work Experience section – and leaving all the rest more or less intact, stat from the blank paper and write a NEW CV instead of updating it. New job on a CV needs a new completely new CV. Your new CV needs to highlight the latest achievements and skills that are the most relevant for the new yob you are applying for. Your current (or last) job on your CV needs to be the one explained in great detail, and going to the past, each position is less relevant and should take less and less space. Do not reuse what you wrote in your CV 5 years ago. That is not relevant any more in most cases. Emphasize what skills you need to sell to the employers in the present, not skills that have been hype 5 years ago.
How about starting with, telling us WHAT A ‘CV’ IS!? Not everyone refers to a Resume as a “CV”!
Fair comment! On this side of the pond we just use the CV. You are 100% right. If one writes to the global audience one should make sure everyone understands him fully.