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How to Update Your CV

As the saying goes “luck is when opportunity meets preparation.” Refreshing your CV ensures you’re prepared when that awesome, unexpected opportunity comes up.

It reminds me that many years ago, a wise older colleague once advised me that there are two things you should always have current in your life: your CV and your passport. Because you never know when you’re going to need one of them in a hurry. Sidebar: the same man also said there are two things you should never skimp on when purchasing: your shoes and your bed, because you’re always in one of them. Smart man.

So, grab your laptop and let me show you how to update your CV! If you need to create a CV from scratch, you might like to take a look at our CV template and review our advice on how to write a CV first.

Start with the end in mind

Before you begin, ask yourself what you are trying to achieve. What kind of roles do you want to attract? What types of organisations would you like to work with? What personal attributes do you want to stand out? Are there key skills and experience you want to ensure prospective employers know about?

By starting with the outcomes you are hoping for in mind, you can be strategic about the way you de-construct and re-construct your CV. You can choose what needs to be dusted off and bought to the fore, and what can take a back seat for now.


Remove anything from more than 15 to 20 years ago. That includes work experience and training courses. If you feel it’s important to include roles that pre-date the year 2000, an option is to include a table outlining the position title, company, and relevant dates instead of a full summary.

That leadership course you did back in the ’90s, while important to you, may highlight the fact that you haven’t done much training since, if there isn’t anything else on your CV. Or it may take the focus away from what you have done recently, by listing too many things.

A question that may be helpful to ask yourself when deciding what to get rid of or keep in your CV is ‘what purpose is it serving?’.

Review the entire CV for consistency

My colleagues and I often see CVs that look like poorly renovated homes with clumsily executed ‘add-ons’. A CV that has been hurriedly tidied, rather than receiving the proper attention it deserves, will have:

  • Different fonts, bullets and spacing throughout the CV
  • Headings and sub-headings with descriptions that do not follow any consistent format or structure
  • Varying amount of detail for each role. Generally, the further you go back, the more detailed it gets. Which is the exact opposite of how your CV should be presented!
  • Language in the present tense for old jobs. For example, three jobs ago, you use language like, “I am responsible for…”, not “I was responsible for”
  • Instead of thoughtfully and succinctly describing your role, you’ve copied and pasted a list of responsibilities from your job description (yes, we can tell when you do that!).

Reviewing your CV in its entirety and applying a consistent structure and format will present a more focused, balanced, and professional CV. I hope these tips will help you with updating your CV!

More tips

For advice from the best on other job seeking topics, check out the resources we’ve put together to help you land your next role.

If you are in the market for your next IT opportunity, take a look at our job board to see all of our current vacancies. You can also register with Clicks via the Job Seekers page on our website. We also have a fantastic referral program that can earn you $500 for every great person you send our way. Find out more here.

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