Is your CV becoming a collectors item?

Some job seekers treat their CV like a savings account. They keep adding to it over time, bit by bit. Sometimes they take money out but mostly it’s just left to build. This may be a sound approach for long term financial planning. However, it is a disastrous approach for your CV.  You end up with either a totally unbalanced picture of your work history or a CV as long as your arm. Neither of which are going to impress employers. We can broadly break down different job seeker approaches into three categories.

CV bookThe Hoarder

Some people only ever add to their CV and never take anything away. This is the equivalent to hoarding. We have all felt sorry for those people on the TV who simply cannot throw anything away. Houses filled – literally to eye level – full of absolutely everything that person has ever owned. Of course, most of it is completely useless.  They know that but can’t help keeping it anyway. The hoarder will end up with a CV that could be 5 to 10 pages or more in length.

The Collector

When someone starts a collection of say fossils or stamps they begin with lots of enthusiasm. Over time that passion wanes and the collection begins to fade. Many people set about writing their CV with the best of intentions. It starts off well in the early days. However, the latest jobs gets progressively thin on detail. The result is an unbalanced CV that focuses too much on the early part of a career. At interview do you really want to be asked about the results of that ‘Y2K’ project you carried out in 1999 to prevent all the computers crashing on January 1st?

The Fresher

The fresher has a healthy approach to life in general. They keep hold of the really important historical stuff but embrace new things. The fresher will take a new approach each time they prepare their CV. They’ll be ruthless in editing out information from early jobs so they can wax lyrical about the most recent work. This is just great, as it’s exactly what employers want to hear about. They may even chop some early jobs out completely.  Those days counting the correct number of newspapers for your bag are not so important now you are an experienced accountant.

Needless to say, the fresher’s CV is going to be the most effective. Employers are generally interested in what applicants have been doing in the last 5 years. Certainly anything further back than 10 years can be summarised. Give yourself a 2 page CV format and you know roughly the amount of space you have to work with. It’s always worth keeping mind that the average time spent reading a CV is less than 30 seconds. This brings sharply into focus just how important it is to take a fresh approach to your CV every time.

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