If you have lots of work experience but only so much space to write it all down, Hays’ Karen Young gives some steps you can follow.
Having lots of work experience is a nice problem to have, but it can make the prospect of updating your CV all the more daunting. If you are an experienced hire in this position, perhaps you are unsure of how to optimise the most relevant information so that it stands out to the recruiter or hiring manager, as opposed to getting lost in a sea of job titles, skills, qualifications and experience.
So, here’s Hays’ advice for writing a concise but impactful CV if you have a lot of experience.
1. Shave it down
Start by eliminating any information that just isn’t relevant to the role or industry. Start this process by highlighting the key skills and attributes required for the job in question. Now look through your career history.
Have you used up valuable space describing skills, attributes and responsibilities from years ago, which don’t match up to the role in question? If so, take them out. There’s also no need to include your early education or first jobs on your CV. Always bear in mind that you need to ensure your CV is as current as possible.
2. Tailor it for your target audience
Now that you have only the most relevant information on your CV, it’s time to make sure it stands out as much as possible to the recruiter. As an experienced, senior-level jobseeker, it is vital that you write your CV with your target in mind and not bombard the reader with everything you have ever done.
You run the risk of potentially burying the most pertinent information, which will lead the reader to lose interest quickly.
3. How to contact you
Along with your name and contact details, I recommend you provide a link to your online portfolio or LinkedIn profile. If you choose to do this, you must ensure your LinkedIn profile and CV match up in terms of dates and job titles.
This way, the recruiter can find out more information if necessary and access examples of your work.
4. Selling yourself as an experienced hire
What really needs to stand out here is your unique selling proposition. What is your value proposition? Why should the recruiter or hiring manager read on? What can you bring the company that no other candidate can? Talk directly to the reader here.
You could also use this section to summarise relevant and notable achievements you’ve had throughout your career. For instance, if applying for a marketing director position, you would mention the time you increased revenue at a specific company by X value, by implementing a campaign which involved Y and Z.
Give the reader numbers and hard facts. This is great way to highlight any achievements that didn’t necessarily take place within your most recent role in a more prominent position on your CV.
5. What you can do
List your principal areas of expertise in the form of bullet points. Use the opportunity to condense any information that is most relevant to the role, but not deserving of a whole paragraph.
Perhaps try formatting these to the side of your CV, so as not to take up too much valuable room in the body of the document.
6. Your career so far
List your career history in reverse chronological order, with your most current role at the top. Provide the most information about your current or most current role and give less information the further you go back in your career history.
If a previous job was completely irrelevant to the role you are applying for, but you want to avoid any gaps on your CV, simply list your job title, dates and the company you worked for. This will save you space on your CV while providing top-line information.
7. Presentation and language
Don’t use 10 words to say something you could say in five. Get to the point in a way that is easy for the reader to understand and quickly makes an impact. Use action verbs as much as possible. Avoid blocks of text – this will deter the reader.
Your CV needs to be easy to read and easy to follow, no matter how much experience you have. Also avoid company-specific terminology that won’t translate to the reader.
Lastly, proofread, proofread, proofread – you will instantly lose credibility if your CV is littered with spelling and grammatical errors.
By Karen Young
Karen Young is director of Hays UK. A version of this article previously appeared on the Hays Viewpoint blog.