The 5 step guide to updating your CV

What is the most important document in your job search? It is your CV. It is the item that hiring managers, school heads and recruiting officers rely on when they decide to put you in the yes or no pile when you are applying for a specific job.

The CV provides you the opportunity to show off your skills and make an impression. There are a few items you should consider to help you put your best foot forward, so that you can make a great impact. Here are five steps that you can use to update your CV.

Step 1. Add your most recent experiences. If your latest job experience is related to the one you’re applying to, then you might want to consider emphasizing it. When you add an experience, try these tips: make a list of what you did in your previous job, then take out 4 to 6 things that you think matters (the most impressive and relevant projects and responsibilities related to the one you’re applying now). Put that in bullet points. A good metric when doing this is asking yourself “So what?” when adding a related skill/project.

Step 2. Edit the old, outdated information. Stephen King once said, “To write is human, to edit is divine.” Apply that philosophy in creating your CV too. The goal is to keep your CV in one page. Recruiters spend 5 seconds on each CV and you want yours to be short and sweet. Remember that less is more. Those baby-sitting duties that you put? Scratch that out.

Step 3. Have a clean, clear, format. Yes, we know that the CV represents your creative self and you want colour to illustrate your bright outlook in life. Reserve that in the interview session. Your resume can’t be cluttered or visually confusing – you don’t want these traits to represent you, right? Have clear, divided sections like: experience, skills and education. Use the same font throughout the CV: never have more than 2 font types and colours for your text.

Step 4. Put yourself in their shoes. Try to be the hiring manager or the head teacher that is looking for new recruits. Look at your resume. Do all your skills and experiences align to what they are looking for? Ultimately, you will get interviewed because you are the right fit for the job. Be strategic. If you want to be hired, then make sure you are what they are searching.

Step 5. Proofread. This is the final step and an important one. Print your resume and do a line by line check. Rest if you must so you can have fresh eyes. Correct typos, reword things appropriately and even check for formatting while you’re at it. If you have some helpful friends, ask them to check your CV for you. Sometimes, we are blinded by the technical words and other industry-specific terms that a layman can’t comprehend. Make sure everybody understands your CV.

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