Careers Service


CVs for experienced hire

If you’re already in a job, and have experience, chances are you already have a CV. Here are some tips for updating your CV when it’s time to move on.

Remove irrelevant and old material

School level education (e.g. GCSEs, A-levels/Baccalaureate) probably isn’t critical once you’ve successfully completed a degree and have a few years’ experience under your belt. Similarly those two weeks spent as a teaching assistant when you were 16 probably isn’t going to be very useful information to a possible new employer.

Include only relevant information, as this will provide greater impact and show your understanding of the role. However, do make sure that your CV is without significant time gaps. When applying for a role where you feel certain experiences are less relevant: include less detail than those of greater relevance – do be careful not to discount good experience just because it’s in a different sector, was part-time or voluntary.

Consider how you’ve developed over time

Try to express in your CV any promotion or additional responsibilities over time. If you have changed position or been promoted within the same organisation you may wish to consider having a CV entry for each position. Be clear about how your skills have developed (a list of commonly sought after skills), for example if you’ve moved on to train or supervise others after establishing yourself in your initial role.

Get your context right

The language you use, the skills that are relevant and even the layout of your CV should be influenced by the sector and organisation that you’re applying to. Speak to people working in the sector or organisation to get feedback on your draft CV (if you’re within 2 years of graduating you can also use our Applications Advice service). Use key words from the job advert or organisation website as a guide and consider using them in your written application. A good understanding of key issues for that organisation will help you tailor your information and demonstrate your understanding of the position, so take time to search for sector-specific press or organisations (e.g. Association for the British Pharmaceutical Industry, or the Times Higher Education Supplement for Higher Education).

Evidence your skills

This is critical at all career stages. Don’t assume people will understand the skills you’ve gained during your experience to date, even if you’re applying in the same organisation or sector – after all, the first person to read your application may be HR or even a computer algorithm! When talking about your experience, be clear which skills from the new job description you feel are evidenced and how you believe you can transfer these skills to the new role.

Choose an appropriate format

It’s important that your CV looks professional, and, understanding the ‘industry norm’ is key. For example: it’s common for investment banks to ask for a 1 page CV; however academic CVs often extend to 5-6 pages. Again speaking to those in the sector or organisation you’re applying to can provide a valuable guide.

For those with extensive experience the skills CV format can be useful, particularly if the experience is in a different sector. A skills CV looks to highlight 5 or 6 key skills needed in the role you’re applying to and then evidence them. It can be a good way to avoid repetition and really tailor your CV. An example (and other CV formats too) can be found here.