I applied for a graduate job last week through the usual online portals that many large companies have. Since applying I found a very useful CV guide provided by my university, so I've been making some minor changes on my CV, using this guide. The online portal gives the option of 'updating your CV'. Would it be better to re-upload my new CV or leave the old one?

Although the changes are all minor, I've made a fair amount and the overall structure and presentation is quite a bit better, I think. I worry because I feel like my CV will already have been looked at. I'm not sure if re-uploading a new version would look unprofessional as I didn't upload the better version to begin with. The company may then also have two versions of my CV on file, which could cause confusion.

What are the pros and cons of uploading a new and improved version of my resume?


Just update and upload your CV whenever you're happy with the new revisions to it.

It's not unprofessional to revise your CV, especially since the website has a feature for that exact purpose.

Don't assume that someone has read our downloaded your CV the moment after you've uploaded it.


Yes, upload an update/correction. In my experience the people conducting the actual interview won't look at it until the night before or maybe just minutes before the interview.

In addition if you get invited to an interview bring a hard copy, or even better several copies. Sometimes the system the company uses to manage resumes doesn't allow the interviewers to be able to print a nice looking copy. Or sometimes they forget.

  • Bringing in a copy of your resume, especially, if you have something significant to add to it is a great idea. if you have just made formatting changes, then it is less important to do so, the layout of a resume isn't that important in the long run.
    – Donald
    Sep 6 '17 at 14:28

Can I send an updated version of my resume after I've applied?

No. Not unless you really screwed up the first time. When it comes to a job application you typically only get one shot at passing along your resume. Application deadlines are usually long enough that you have more than enough time to write a cover letter and rework your resume and as such you're expected to get it right the first time. If you only saw the job ad right before the deadline that's typically a mitigating factor but even then you'd only send in an update if the original had significant problems.

If you're only making minor changes like fixing a typo, adjusting the layout or rephrasing some bullet points then any benefit those changes would have would be more than cancelled out by calling attention to the fact that you didn't do this before you applied. Attention to detail is important in virtually every job and sending or uploading an updated version of your application is basically saying "I wasn't careful enough the first time". You need to keep in mind that if you're making these kinds of changes, you're going to have to be able to answer the question of why you felt the need to send a new version. "I didn't like the formatting" won't cut it as a valid reason.

For minor stuff you should just put it out of your mind and hope that they either won't notice or that they'll want to talk to you anyway. If you're a good fit for the job, minor resume nitpicks will never get in your way of an interview.

Now if you're talking about major issues like using a resume that's two years old, of course, you should send in the correct version because of the damage that mistake could do. Using an old resume will harm your chances much more than simply admitting and correcting mistake. Only draconian managers will refuse to consider you over a mistake since you're only human, but it's usually better to avoid drawing attention. If you sent in a resume that you customised for a different position so that you left off highly relevant information, you're going to have to make a judgement call regarding how much of a difference it could make.

If it's a major error that can't be mitigated, like using the wrong company name in your application, you'll simply have to hope they either don't notice or will forgive you for it.

The fact that you applied online ultimately doesn't really change this. You indeed have no way of knowing whether they already grabbed your old version or whether they'll be notified so you'd have to contact them if you wanted to make sure. Again: only something you'd do for major errors.

What I would do is to print out both versions of your resume and bring those along to an interview if they invite you to one.

  • 1
    Why would an online portal have the option to “update your CV” if updating your CV isn’t appropriate? Surely the “update” feature is provided for this exact reason...? Otherwise, why have this feature?
    – user44108
    Sep 4 '17 at 17:44
  • @Pete Because it would be foolish not to have it because it's not uncommon for people to upload the wrong file by mistake. But virtually none of these systems will update stakeholders when an applicant uploads a new version and even if it did said stakeholders usually wouldn't care. But even if they do you just fall back into the scenario above where minor changes will have a net negative impact.
    – Lilienthal
    Sep 5 '17 at 7:36
  • I have actually even read something along the lines of "it would be nice if you updated you uploaded CV regularly, so it is always, well, up to date" or "while you are asked to keep a general CV uploaded, it is still advisable to tailor your CV to an application and use that version instead of the general uploaded one". I think the advice is solid, if you have sent your CV out for an application, but not in general for those online systems where you just keep your CV to be able to apply "quickly" (or to be searched and contacted, supposedly, even without applying).
    – skymningen
    Sep 5 '17 at 12:22
  • @skymningen Sure, but that's an entirely different question. The OP is specifically asking about updating their resume after applying for a specific job.
    – Lilienthal
    Sep 5 '17 at 12:27

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