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Career Quandary: Should I update my CV or start again?

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Neviile Rose of CV Writers, offers helpful advice to an environmental consultant in need of a CV revamp

Question: “I’ve been an environmental consultant now for nearly 20 years and with my current company for the last 10 or so. It has been a while since I last visited my CV and it is probably a bit dated. I’ve been looking online for a decent CV template and there seem to be so many, it’s difficult to know which one to choose! Should I just add information to my current CV to make it more up to date or choose a new template and start again? If I choose a new CV template, have you got any advice on good ones to use?”

Neville Rose says...


It can be a daunting prospect if you have not been on the job market for a while. Most people only ever think about their CV once they have decided to actively look for a job. The general standard of CVs would be much higher if people regularly updated theirs – say once a year – when memories of their most recent achievements are fresher in the mind.

If you have not visited your CV in the last few years then you will almost certainly benefit from starting anew. There is a tendency when re-visiting old CVs to simply add information to the most recent roles without editing down earlier information. People tend to write more enthusiastically when they start their CV so you often end up with an imbalance - a lot of information on the early career and less on most recent roles.

Generally, employers are interested in what you’ve been doing most recently, so you want the focus to be on the last five or so years of your career. This is generally representative of where you are at and the closest to where you want to be next. Environmental consultancy work has changed a lot over 20 years and employers are looking to the present and future when taking on new employees so there is little point including detail of work carried out a long time ago.

In terms of CV templates, it’s about following some common sense rules. Choose a template that has clearly defined headings and uses a modern typeface. A two-page format is ideal for focusing the mind and keeping it brief and impactful. Don’t use a template that is over-designed or uses more than one colour – and that one colour should be black. You are aiming for a CV that looks professional, uses white space effectively and allows the reader to easily navigate their way around the document.

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The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Haymarket Media Group.

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