When preparing your CV, it can be tempting to list every single skill you possess. But if you’ve had a long career, some of the things you did when you first started work are likely to no longer be relevant to today’s workplace. You may end up looking out-of-touch with the current industry, or like a stick-in-the-mud who is resistant to change in the business and reluctant to embark on any learning and development.
While there is still demand for many traditional skills, like shorthand or audiotyping, these are often niche positions in specific industries like journalism or medical administration.
The purpose of your CV is to get interviewed for a job, so you need to present your skills that are most desirable to how businesses are operating currently. Whether you’re old or young, you don’t want your skills to look dated and out-of-touch.
So here are 9 ways you can make sure your CV is right for 2017:
1. Obsolete computer packages
Netscape Navigator? MS DOS? Most companies won’t be interested in programs or systems you used in the 90s and early 2000s – technology has moved on a lot since then. Companies may even be reluctant to consider applicants who haven’t used specific software in couple of years.
2. No mobile phone number
If you only include a land line phone number, many employers and recruiters will be reluctant to call. Most people don’t have answer phones to leave messages, and will assume you’ll be at work at the same time as they are. Worse still, they might assume it’s your work phone number and don’t want to land you in trouble! You can still include a landline number if you’ll be available on it during office hours, but a mobile number is an absolute must.
3. Old school e-mail addresses
Using an outdated e-mail provider can really date your CV. Anything that ends with @aol.com, @fsnet.co.uk or any other defunct internet provider could suggest you aren’t up to date with modern technology. And as workplaces are becoming ever more digitised and technologically advanced, if you don’t appear tech savvy on your CV, you’ll struggle to be considered for jobs in the future. And make sure it’s not going to expire either – school or university e-mails will stop working soon after you leave. And the less said about applying for jobs with a work e-mail, the better…
4. A photo.
Unless you work as a model or actor, where your physical appearance is crucial to your role, don’t include a photo on your CV. Employers are likely to reject any CV with a photo by default to avoid accusations of discrimination. It might be commonplace in other parts of the world – in Asia, it’s not uncommon to spend big bucks on the perfect headshot for your CV! – but in the UK, it’s a big no-no.
5. Marital status.
Your marital status or whether or not you have children or other family commitments has no bearing on your ability to do your job. Employers aren’t allowed to discriminate in hiring based on these factors, so don’t want, or need, to know. Leaving this info on your CV suggests you’re not all that clued up on modern hiring practices; if you’re going for a more managerial position this could make you seem like an HR disaster waiting to happen.
6. No LinkedIn profile
Especially in fields like sales, HR or recruitment, not having a Linked In profile can make you look like a bit of a dinosaur. Include the URL to your profile on your CV with your other contact details. In other sectors, it’s not so crucial to include social media profiles on your CV, but make sure to relax your Linked In privacy settings so recruiters and HR managers can find you more easily.
7. Using the very formal Mr / Mrs / Miss Surname
Workplaces are generally speaking a lot more informal than in the past. Formal introductions can make you look very old fashioned, and will put off prospective employers. Many companies are trying to introduce more fun into the workplace to better engage their staff, not do the opposite. Still use your real name though: definitely not the nickname you get called down the pub!
8. Including references, or the phrase ‘references upon request’.
Employers will ask for references when they want them. You’re just waiting space on your CV with this one…
9. A hard copy of your CV
Employers and recruitment agencies like a CV they can share electronically. Hard copies have a habit of going lost, and if you saw some of our consultant’s desks you’d know why. A paper copy might be fine for more casual employment, but if you want a professional position, you need to go about things professionally.
If you’re working with a recruitment agency, use a filetype they can edit easily, that’s .doc rather than .pdf – they may want to make some changes to protect your identity, or tailor your application to better suit a role. Some advice may suggest to use a PDF file so that the formatting won’t be altered by older word processing software – we’d say that if your CV is likely to look suspect, you’re better off simplifying your layout.
It should go without saying that you’ll have written it up on a computer (or even on your smartphone) rather than using a typewriter – younger readers may need to google those! – or worse, doing it by hand.
By considering the above, you will have less chance of your CV looking out of date. Being at the forefront of technology and trends is becoming more and more important for businesses to succeed, so your job application needs to reflect that if you want to stand out.