Senior Job Hunters: The do’s and don’ts of updating an outdated CV
Be honest. When was the last time you updated your CV? If you can’t come up with a quick answer, it’s probably been far too long. If you’re in your 40s, 50s or 60s and in the market for a new job, applying for roles with an outdated and old-fashioned CV is likely to result in you being put firmly at the bottom of the pile.
Job hunting as a senior candidate can be tough enough, without your CV letting you down at the very first hurdle. There’s no denying that getting your CV up to date will be a big task that you need to dedicate some time to, particularly if it’s been decades since you last looked at it. But it’s well worth doing if you want your skills and experience to be showcased in the best possible light.
We understand that getting started is always the most daunting part of updating a CV. So to give you a helping hand, we’ve come up with some essential do’s and don’ts that will help get you off the starting blocks.
Do: Include a link to your LinkedIn profile
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you’ve probably at least heard of LinkedIn or maybe even have a simple profile set up. Now that LinkedIn has become the go-to social network for recruiters and organisations to find potential candidates for roles, its unwise not to have a LinkedIn profile set up nowadays.
But what has this got to do with my CV we hear you cry? Well, think of your LinkedIn profile as a supporting document to your CV. By including a link to your profile on your CV, you’re providing additional information about yourself and your work history to the recruiter or hiring manager that you might not have been able to include on your CV alone. It can also show them the articles you’ve liked, the professional connections you’ve made and provides further evidence of your employment dates and skills. This can all help to give you an edge over your competition, which is never a bad thing.
So if you haven’t already, get your LinkedIn profile set up as soon as possible and remember to complete all of the necessary sections. Once complete, place the link at the top of the first page of your CV so it’s easy for anyone to find.
Don’t: Write an essay
Throughout your career, you’ve probably done it all. You understandably want to show off this wealth of knowledge and experience you’ve amassed by writing as much as you can about each job and work responsibility you’ve ever had. However, not only will this mean a lot of work for you in remembering every tiny detail from your time in a role, but actually having a long and overly detailed CV is a big turn off.
Recruiters and hiring managers want to be able to scan a CV, gather the information they need and make an assessment on a candidate’s suitability in a reasonable amount of time. This can’t be achieved if they have to sit and read through endless reams of paper.
Keep all of your CV sections as brief and focused as possible. You can do this by considering what contribution you made to the company during your time there and which skills you possess that are most relevant to the role you are applying for. Employers will find this a far more interesting read than just reading the story of your work history.
Try to keep your CV to a maximum of 10 pages and make sure each section is clear and easy to read. That way the recruiter will have an easier job of sifting through your information.
Do: Highlight your technological skills
As much as we hate to say it, there are some employers out there who believe the stereotype that candidates over a certain age are completely clueless when it comes to technology. Thankfully, your CV can provide the perfect platform for you to break down these stereotypes and prove these employers wrong.
In the skills section of your CV, talk about the technology you are proficient in, particularly those you know are relevant to the industry you want to enter. It can also be beneficial to include any recent computer or software training you’ve completed, tech conferences or networking events you’ve attended and any accomplishment you’ve has where modern technology was used to gain a successful result.
If your CV already includes outdated versions of programs such as Word or Outlook, make sure you put the most recent version you’ve worked with. You’re not going to turn any heads if you’re shouting about being proficient in using “Word 2002” when you should be talking about Word “2018”.
Don’t: Go too far back
Unless you’ve only worked at the same company since your teens, talking about jobs you had 20, 30 or even 40 years ago is a big no-no. It might seem impressive to show off all of the jobs you’ve had across your career, but unfortunately, in some cases the opposite can occur. Employers are going to be most interested in the roles you’ve held most recently, so these should always be the biggest focus of your CV.
If you’ve had a lot of jobs throughout your career, a good rule of thumb is to only include information about the jobs you’ve held over the past 10 years ago. Any roles that are older than this should be written in a bullet-pointed list and only include the company name, your job title and your dates of employment in a short sentence.
However, if there are some particularly impressive and relevant milestones you want to mention, its acceptable to create an “early career section” on your CV where you can write a paragraph on this particular era in your career.