Getting the balance right in your CV
Some job seekers treat their CV very much like a savings account, adding to it over time and trying not to take anything out. Whilst this may be a noble approach to financial planning it can be a disaster for your CV. You can end up with a CV as long as your arm or an unbalanced picture of your career with lots of information on early jobs and less on the most recent – and usually relevant – roles.
Job seekers that only ever add to their CV are the equivalent of hoarders. Afraid to lose any aspect of their past that might be valuable to a future employer, the hoarder’s CV may be 4 or more pages in length. The hoarder forgets that employers are only really interested in what you have been doing most recently. Employers are very unlikely to ask questions at interview about jobs carried out more than 10 years ago.
The first thing to do when revisiting your CV is to give yourself space to work with. Two pages should do it. A two page CV is perfect for even the most seasoned professional. It focuses the mind and encourages you to distil information and include only what is most important. Do not be tempted to try and cheat by reducing the point size. A time strung employer will not be grateful to you for forcing them to squint when reading your CV.
Within your career history section focus on jobs carried out in the last 5 years or so. Certainly anything further back than 10 years can be summarised. Briefly describe the organisation, briefly describe the role then wax lyrical about your achievements. Use facts and figures and concrete examples of achievements. This is the most important information in your CV and will ultimately decide on whether you get called to interview.
Get enough good examples of recent accomplishments and there won’t be any need to brush off the dust from those achievements of yesteryear. That’s not to dismiss early achievements entirely. It is, of course, a matter of balance. Remember that less than 30 seconds will be spent on average reading your CV. This brings sharply into focus the need for a fresh approach to your CV each time you enter the jobs market.