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Our guides for employers and candidates on how to navigate the entry-level job market.

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Handbook
Contents

Updating Your CV

A guide to preparing your CV for your second job

One of the first things (if not the first thing) you should do once you’ve made the decision to move on from your graduate job is update your CV. There are some key changes that may need to be made. Follow our three-step plan to make sure your CV is in top shape so you stand the best chance of securing your second job.

  • Declutter the information on your CV
  • Include specific examples of experience
  • Update the layout and appearance of your CV
  • Keep outdated and irrelevant experience on your CV
  • Let your CV become longer than an A4 page
  • Lie about anything on your CV

Declutter

To begin with, you need to have a complete clear out of your CV. Even as you progress in your career your CV shouldn’t increase in length, keeping it within one or two A4 pages is ideal. This will mean that you’ll need to read through it and get rid of any outdated experience which is no longer relevant to prospective employers. For example, it’s unlikely that you still need to mention the part-time job you had when you were 16! You should also take the same approach with the ‘skills’/’extracurricular’ section of your CV. The fact that you were captain of your school football team probably isn’t relevant anymore, you should definitely have more impressive and relevant examples of effective leadership by this point!

Update

Once you have successfully decluttered your CV it’s time to move on to updating it. Making your most recent job the centre of attention is often a good place to start, as it’s highly likely that this is the most relevant and important thing on your CV. This means that the ‘experience’ section should now go above the ‘education’ section, in order to ensure that it is the first thing to be seen by prospective employers. When mentioning previous work try and make your experience as exact as possible, cite specific achievements if you’re able to. For example, ‘exceeded my sales goals by 50% for two years running’. Employers should be able to grasp all the key pieces of information from your CV in around ten seconds, so precise stats and numbers often stand out and allow employers to identify your capability right away. However, it goes without saying that you should never fabricate, or lie about, anything on your CV as it’s likely that you’ll be caught out at a later date! You should also be sure to add any skills you may have acquired to your CV. For example, if you’ve learnt to use any new programmes or software over the course of your graduate role be sure to mention this. It’s often these small details that can distinguish you from other candidates and make your CV more ‘human’!

Finishing Touches

Finally, there are a few finishing touches that can be made to your CV if you feel that it’s necessary. You may have first written and designed your CV years ago and just like it’s important to update the information, it’s also important to update the appearance and layout. Don’t be afraid to move things around a bit or change font styles to make sure it’s as clean and clear as possible. Now may also be a good time to add in a ‘profile’ – a small paragraph right at the top of your CV that gives you a chance to talk about things such as your character and working style. We tend to advise graduates again including a ‘profile’, as there’s often little point in doing so. However, now you’re moving on from your graduate role and into your second job it may be useful, particularly if you’re considering a career change (for more advice on changing careers take a look at our article here). It can also help to modify the language of your CV each time you use it to apply for a new job – mirroring the language of potential employers is often an effective method of engagement.

  • Remove any outdated experience.
  • Make your most recent job the key focus.
  • Keep it to one A4 page.
  • Include precise stats and examples.
  • Make sure it looks the part!
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