With the festive period fast approaching, many of us will be looking forward to a welcome break from the nine-to-five grind. Christmas is a great time to unwind and catch up with friends and family, but once the festivities are over it’s also provides a window of opportunity to reflect on your achievements and think about progressing your career in the New Year. So, if you have some spare time during the holidays, why not invest in the advancement of your career by updating your CV and assessing your opportunities.
Assess the job market
Before you start working on your CV, it’s important to find out what the demands are in the job market. Industry trends can change very quickly, so it’s essential to do your research, especially if you have been with your employer for a long time and are slightly out of practice when it comes to job hunting. Start by browsing through plenty of relevant job adverts online and aim to find out which of your skills are most in demand, which companies are hiring and the amount of remuneration you should expect to receive. When you have collated this information, you will know exactly what skills and knowledge to include in your CV, as well as the types of organisations you will need to tailor it to.
Review your CV
Once you know the important candidate requirements for your desired roles, you need to review your CV and note down what it’s lacking. Compare your CV to the job adverts you’ve been looking at and note down where the gaps are. Determine where new skills and experience need to be added and also what older information may be removed now that it is less relevant to your next career move. Also consider the format and structure of your old CV. Does it look a bit dated? Could it made easier to read for potential employers? Take a look around the web for some CV examples and templates to make sure your new CV looks modern and professional.
Add your newest role
The first step to updating your CV is to add your latest role. When you’re caught up in finer details of your job, it can be difficult to describe it in writing. So take a step back and evaluate the role from an outsider’s perspective to ensure that you provide a coherent description that will be understood by recruiters and hiring managers. Start by providing an outline that explains your employer’s work, where you sit within the organisation, the overall goal of your role and how you contribute to the functioning of the company – this will ensure that readers have enough context to understand the details of your work.
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List your responsibilities in short sharp bullet points, remembering to include any newly learned skills or tools and always try to show the impact that your work has on your employer and stakeholders. Remember to add any impressive achievements – and back them up with facts and figures to quantify your value.
Re-write your CV profile
Your introductory profile, at the top of your CV, is often the first thing that a recruiter will see, so it’s important that it sells your newly gained talents and doesn’t reflect the candidate you were last year. It’s best to re-write your profile from scratch and target it strictly towards your new career ambitions. Omit some of the junior traits from your current CV and only include the most important candidate requirements for your new desired role. If you have recently taken on new responsibilities, then ensure these are clearly noted. Keep the profile brief and punchy to ensure it holds readers attention and tempts them to read your CV in full.
Beware of writing too much
Updating your CV with new roles can easily push it on to three or more pages. To keep your CV around the two-page mark, it’s crucial to cut some of your older roles. Your career history is important to employers so there is no need to cut dated roles out completely, but they don’t need to know every detail of roles that are five or 10 years old, so shorten them to brief summaries – giving readers just enough detail to understand your progression. You may also find that some responsibilities from your earlier jobs just aren’t relevant to your new career goals, so there should be plenty of content you can remove from your CV to make space for your current work.
Andrew Fennell is a recruiter and founder of CV writing service StandOut CV