How Healthy is Your CV… Is it Time for a Check Up?

By David Smith

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p>Would you agree that your CV is a living, breathing document? It certainly should not be a static; ‘carved in stone’ concept, it should be constantly changing and growing in impact as your career progresses and develops, and also should be adapted to better meet the criteria of each application you make.

Your CV should be in the best state of health possible if it is to perform optimally in what is still a pretty tough market with some of the best talent out there.

CV tips

Warming the Stethoscope

Like any other ‘living, breathing’ thing, from time-to-time it would be advisable to check the health condition of your CV. Hopefully, it is vibrant and performing at ‘marathon runner’ level [or even ‘iron-man’ level], but if you find that your CV is getting a bit out-of-breath and struggling to get to the major milestones in the recruitment process…shortlisting and interviews! It may be time to put your CV through its paces…and yes, I did have to Google some of the following data!

Steady as She Goes

Before I start asking ‘how many fingers am I holding up?’ it might be good to check some of the basics, the first of which would be a good steady pulse…how does your CV look?

A steady 60-80 beats per minute? With a stunning; flowing format that takes the reader on a flawless journey through your career, hitting all the ‘what I have to offer’ beats along the way, or is it dashing along at 120 beats per minute, with the recruiter’s eyes flicking all over the page, unable to focus on your value because of an erratic delivery of information and a sporadic trail of details that doesn’t capture the interest?

Take a Deep Breath…..

How about the breathing? Nice and steady? Coping with the competition? Or red-faced and sweaty, close to passing out as it tries to keep up with the competition in the race for the ideal next job? Content is a key factor in measuring your CV’s standard of fitness.

It should be aesthetically pleasing and presented in easy-to-digest bites of what is on offer, laced with lungfuls of fresh, current content that is relevant and easy to place within your current industry.

The Heart of the Matter

The heart of your CV, somewhat related to ‘current and relevant content’, how does your CV read in terms of language; sentence structure; grammar and spelling. Does it convey the rich, plummy tones of a highly trained orator, or is the reader straining to decipher what is being said? [A second opinion may reveal much about how your CV speaks…or fails to speak to the reader!]

Does your CV have real heart; thrumming with awesome syntax and clear content and layout, or do you detect a slight flutter that really needs to be checked out?

A Little Goes a Long Way….

A single pin-prick of blood will reveal what is lurking internally. Cholesterol can present a major health issue if it is too high. Simply put, your body needs a certain level of cholesterol in the blood-stream, what you don’t want is for the arteries to be caked in the stuff…not good for you!

Similarly with your CV…it is very difficult not to include certain terminology when describing your value, which seems to pop up in CVs all the time. References to being a ‘team player’, or to being ‘results oriented’ can start to feel a bit tired.

How much better to explain how these factors add to your appeal, use some examples in the context of your experience. You may be a ‘problem solver’ but try not to clog up your CV with fairly meaningless 'CV-speak' that says virtually nothing about what value you can offer.

Add to this any irrelevant work experience from years ago [while it is highly commendable that you flipped burgers or waited tables to support your studies, after ten years on the career ladder, it is just not needed!]

Obsolete skills also need scraping out of your CV. You may well have been a Jedi Master when it came to understanding Windows 95…but in 2016, nobody cares! Did you even have computers in 1995?

Are You Getting Your 5-a-Day?

Whether consuming 5 portions of fruit and/or vegetables per day is a scientifically proven essential thing for the human body, or just a clever marketing ploy developed by the supermarket giants, most people would recognise the wisdom of eating fruits and vegetables as part of a balanced diet.

What ‘5-a-Day’ is needed in your CV?

For your CV to be balanced, it needs at least the following five elements:

Current skills;

Recent Achievements;

Relevant Experience;

Chronologically Relevant Qualifications;

Some form of Tailoring to the vacancy you are applying for or to the company you are approaching.

Include at least all these 5 factors to make sure your CV is brimming with health and vitality!

Visit the Surgery

Resume tips

There are many other things than can impact positively [and negatively] on the health levels of your CV; if you’d like a Free CV Health Check, just send it over and I will provide a full diagnostic and feedback report.

As usual, you can tweet me @Careervisa, or connect with me on Linkedin, or email me on [email protected]


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