How To Update a CV (With Guide and Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 8 September 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you're actively looking for a new job, it's important to keep your CV updated. Ideally, your CV reflects your most recent and relevant experiences, skills and qualifications. Along with adding new information, it's also important to remove outdated details. In this article, we explore the importance of keeping your CV updated and share insights on how to update a CV, along with some tips to help you update your CV with the most relevant information.

Why is it important to keep your CV updated?

Your CV reflects your most recent level of expertise, including details about your current role and the number of years of experience you've accumulated in the industry. Update your CV regularly to list the new skills you've gained and degrees, certificates or licenses you've earned.

Here are some significant benefits of maintaining an updated CV as part of your career strategy:

  • You can submit your CV promptly when the right opportunity comes.

  • You can use your most recent CV as an important tool to help in performance review discussions.

  • You can use your CV to provide a clear overview of your career path.

  • You can keep your CV prepared for any unexpected situations such as furloughs or layoffs.

  • An updated CV saves time and effort in the long-run because you can more quickly update it when you're applying for a new job.

How often should you update your CV?

If you're currently employed, it's a good practice to update your CV at least twice a year. However, if you're unemployed, you can refresh your CV as often as possible to ensure it positions you as a competitive candidate on a job application. Here are some other indicators on when you should update your resume:

When you have important career updates

Important career updates can include achieving a goal, getting promoted or earning a new certification, degree or license. It's also a good idea to update your CV when you learn new skills, such as industry-specific software or new programming languages.

When information becomes outdated

Your CV has to reflect your most relevant details. For example, if you've already gained over five years of work experience, you could omit details about your high school experience on your CV. In these situations, it's important to list only your most recent academic experience. Remember to fine-tune any outdated experiences in the following sections of your CV:

  • Clubs and organisations from school

  • Awards and achievements

  • Volunteering experiences

  • Internships

  • Jobs that you did early in your career

How to update a CV

Here's a list of sections that you can update in your CV so that it only includes the most recent and relevant information:

1. Refresh your career objective

The career objective, or resume summary section, provides a quick overview of your skills and experiences, and the goals that you want to achieve in your career. In your current CV, if this doesn't reflect your most recent and relevant details, update it so that it includes mentions of your latest skills and experiences. It's a good practice to keep the summary section concise and relevant by including only key information instead of listing several roles and responsibilities from your past.

Career objectives are more common in CVs for college students or recent graduates with limited work experience. However, if you've gained sufficient work experience, you can consider replacing your career objectives section with a resume summary.

Related: How To Write a Qualifications Summary in a CV (With Examples)

2. Add your latest work experience

The employment experience section is one of the key elements of a CV. Remember to update this section every time you move into a new job, earn a promotion or have a new job title that gives you additional responsibilities. Similarly, as you build your career, you may also want to remove outdated jobs that appear irrelevant to your current career trajectory.

With limited space on a CV, it's important to ensure that you include the strongest and most relevant details from your professional history in your CV to capture the hiring manager's attention instantly. Use numbers and quantifiable terms to showcase your achievements and experiences. Also, with many companies embracing remote work, it's a good practice to include any work-from-home skills such as organisation, self-motivation and computer skills on your resume.

Related: How To Write Work Experience on a CV (With Examples)

3. Update your education

Education is yet another important section in your CV, especially if you're a recent graduate or a professional with little work experience. You can keep this section updated by including the most relevant and recent education that you've obtained. This includes certifications, licences or any degrees from accredited institutions.

Related: How To Write Education on a CV (With Tips and Examples)

4. Rework the additional information section

The additional information section that contains details about your achievements, awards, interests and volunteering experience also needs to be refreshed occasionally. Here are a few points that you can note:

  • Achievements and awards: Include relevant achievements and accolades that highlight your skills. Only include verifiable details that align with your career aspirations.

  • Volunteering: Include recent and relevant volunteering experiences that show your drive, skills and knowledge to the employer.

  • Hobbies and interests: Consider if any of your hobbies or interests have changed over time and include the relevant details if they align with your career path.

  • Foreign language skills: As you progress in your career, if you've picked up any new language skills, remember to include them, along with a description of your proficiency level.

Tips to remember while updating your CV

Here are some simple suggestions to help you when updating your CV:

Update the formatting

Every time you make changes to your CV, review its format guidelines to ensure it's updated. If your CV follows an old template, upgrade it to a modern format. This can create a pleasant reading experience and may even be more compatible with the applicant tracking systems. Some additional formatting guidelines include:

  • Choosing a layout that is elegant and easy to read

  • Replacing paragraphs with bullet points

  • Changing all written numbers into numerals

  • Ensuring that there is enough white space

  • Choosing a modern, sleek font that's easily readable

Add resume keywords

Resume keywords are one of the key elements that can help you secure a job interview. It's common for companies to use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to scan each job candidate's CV to determine the most suitable candidates for the position. The more ATS-friendly your CV is, the better chances you have of differentiating yourself from other candidates. Thus, every time you apply for a new position, look through the job description to identify the main keywords. Then, add these relevant keywords to the content of your CV to create an ATS-friendly resume.

Refresh contact details if applicable

Ensure you have updated your contact details, including your phone number and email address, with the latest information. Also, confirm you're using a professional email during your correspondence. In your contact details, you may also include a line that links to your portfolio if you have one.

Tailor the CV to match the job offer

For each job you're applying for, tailor your CV to match the job description. This can help you create a CV with skills and experiences that are customised to fit a particular role. As a result, you can increase your chances of receiving an interview invitation from the hiring manager.

Include action words

Using powerful and impactful action verbs can help your CV stand out from the competition. For example, action words, such as achieved, exceeded, steered, executed and developed, can bring a more confident tone to your CV. They make your candidacy appear more attractive and can boost the credibility of your job application.

Related: 139 Action Verbs To Make Your CV Stand Out

Save the document in the correct format

Ensure that you save your CV in the correct format. It's a good idea to select an appropriate filename that includes your first and last name, along with the word CV. When sharing your CV for a job application, you can send it across as a PDF, as the universal file format encounters few errors when viewed on different operating systems.

Proofread

Proofread your CV multiple times before submitting your job application. This can help you identify any typographical errors, grammar mistakes and parts of your document that may not be clear to someone else reading it. You can read it aloud and follow a proofreading checklist to ensure you're not missing out on any details. You can even ask a friend or co-worker to review your CV.

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