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How Often Should You Update Your CV?

By: Angelique Caffrey - Updated: 19 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
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It's a question asked by many working adults: "How often do I need to update my CV?" Though there's no perfect, cut-and-dry answer, there are some definite considerations to contemplate when deciding when it's best to dust off your curriculum vitae.

Don't Wait Until You Need a Job

You've been sacked or told your company is "downsizing" and your position will be eliminated. Your mood is terrible. Your self-esteem is low. And with this kind of attitude you're expected to update your CV.


Even if you're perfectly happy at your current position, do try to look at your CV every four to six months, just in case. Then, if you need to send it to prospective employers, it'll be all ready to go.

Add to Your Document with Each New Award/Honour

Did you receive a special honour from an organisation with whom you volunteer? Did you earn a promotion based on your abilities? Have you been given special responsibilities from your manager based on your past performance and acumen? Each time you are given this kind of award, make sure you add it to your CV.

Many people do not do this, assuming they'll remember "when it's needed." Unfortunately, they usually forget, and what could be a marvellous addition to any CV is forgotten.

Annually Look over Your CV and Update the Format

What seemed apropos format-wise in 2003 might look antiquated today. Therefore, it's prudent to look over your CV about once a year, just to see if the formatting seems "fresh".

To help you determine if your CV is stuck in a rut, peruse the Internet for samples of CVs from fields similar to your own. You can even ask your friends to send you theirs for comparison purposes. That way, you can ensure that your CV remains "modern" and relevant to the current marketplace.

When you Complete Formal Training and/or Courses

Did your employer "force" you and your colleagues to take a course? If so, why not add the info to your CV? Even the most mundane conference can increase the value of your CV… and that way, the hours you gave getting certified will have been time well-spent.

Similarly, if you've taken training on your own, feel free to include the data in your document. Of course, one-day continuing education courses might not be pertinent, but longer classes are probably worth popping into your CV.

Update Your CV Whenever You Change Your Personal Info

Did you recently get a new mobile phone? Move to another flat or house? Change email addresses?

The sooner you note such items on your CV, the better. If you don't, you may wind up sending out a CV with the wrong contact information. That could be potentially disastrous or leave a poor impression (if you send out the erroneous CV and have to resend an up-to-date version with apologies later.)

Make a Note of Anything Immediately After It Occurs

Were you asked to speak as an industry expert at a professional conference? Have you taught classes at a community college (or through an online school)? Did you write an article for the local paper? These are all ideal items to add to your CV.

If you don't currently have a section in your CV where you can note these special events/ occurrences, why not add them under "training", "work history", "community involvement" or even "special skills"?

When You Get a New Supervisor, It's Time to Update Your CV

Don't fret - your new manager is unlikely to despise you or ask you to leave (unless he or she has been ordered to "clean house"), but he or she would be wise to ask for an updated CV to get to know you better.

Think about the great impression you could make if your supervisor asks for an up-to-date CV and you can hand it to him or her by the end of the day. (Just don't hand it to him or her right after being asked for it, though - you might send the message that you're looking for work elsewhere!)

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