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Cutting down a lengthy probation CV

By Gemma Raw

​If you’re a regular reader of our blog pages, you’ll know what we regularly share advice and guidance on how to make the most out of your CV. We regularly advise that the best CVs are short, sharp and to the point. As a result, one of the questions we are most commonly asked is “how can I cut down my CV?” It’s a fact that our CV is our shop window; showcasing skills and attributes as we reach out to potential employers. If you’re applying for a new job role to further your probation career then you need to ensure that your CV presents a comprehensive, yet also relatively concise, picture and not ramble on. There are mixed views over the length of a CV – should it be one page, two or more pages? The general view is perhaps closer to two, but as we progress in our career as a probation worker, gather experiences and qualifications, our CV can grow. There comes a point where we need to prune it and make it relevant to our present experience and goals, rather than past successes. Knowing what to trim and what to leave in can pose a dilemma, so here are a few pointers on how to make your CV relevant, concise and accessible.

Play to your strengths

There are clear reasons why a CV should be relatively short. A recruiter will see scores of applications, so they don’t have time, or the inclination, to read through lengthy CVs. It is crucial to get your strengths and experience in probation roles across early. Potential employers are also more likely to be interested in what you did in the last year or so, rather than a decade ago, so keep in the detail from recent roles and limit the older ones to your job title and period in the role.

Does your CV match the job role?

One of the best tips we can share is to ensure that your CV is relevant to the probation role that you are applying for. Have a read through of your CV with an extremely critical eye and try to cut down unnecessary information. 

It’s also hugely beneficial if you can compare your CV to the job description. The purpose of a CV is to demonstrate that you are the right person for the role. For example, if the job advert clearly states that they are looking for someone who has “experience of managing and delivering intervention to perpetrators” then make sure this is clearly referenced within your CV. Likewise, if the job advert asks for someone to deliver a domestic abuse programme, use this as an opportunity to sell in your skills. If you’ve undertaken relevant training or benefited from a specific initiative add in as much information as you can.

Check your language

An easy way to reduce your CV is to keep the language simple, relevant, and avoid clichés. One thing to note, is many recruiters are now using automation software to manage online applications; if your job advert uses specific terminology try to use the same phrasing. This will increase your opportunities of your CV being picked up and considered for the job role. You should also keep the personal detail to the minimum with your contact information: name, phone number, email address and where you live.

We have written a series of blogs around navigating your probation career. There are also a number of useful resources on our careers hub.