With the first few warm days of the new season, you might be feeling the urge to spring clean your life and career prospects. Maybe you’ve been doing your admin and sorting/filing your home paperwork; perhaps you’ve even been updating your online profiles. But what about your CV? Whether you’re actively seeking a new job or not, it’s always worth taking time out to regularly update this key career document.

Many job searches are planned and prior efforts put in before applications and meetings start. But sometimes roles appear when we least expect them. You have to be able to react quickly to throw your hat into the ring. Unfortunately, what happens all too often is that when that time comes, we find our CVs and other profiles are not up to date or, worse, they are selling us short.

So here’s our advice on what you should be doing now to be ready to seize opportunities as they arise:

  1. Make sure your CV and other sources of career information (i.e. LinkedIn profiles) align. It is not uncommon to update one but not the other, or even omit details from only one.  Don’t get caught out here. Recruiters use these resources and often pick up discrepancies, which can start a potential recruitment process on a questionable footing.
  2. When updating your CV, remember to change the tense from present to past if you have changed roles since last looking at the details. It is very easy to copy and paste sections from an old current role and move it into the body of a CV without remembering to change the language from ‘currently I manage’ to ‘I managed’. Attention to detail is always critical to creating those right impressions.
  3. Think outside the box a bit.  It is not at all uncommon for us to undertake tasks in our roles that don’t obviously appear to sit naturally within them, but that does not mean you should leave them out. Undertaking project work, or being part of a committee often demonstrate additional skills that potential employers want to see. Word things correctly and make sure you give details of those extra tasks or responsibilities.
  4. Be accurate! It can be very tempting to over-emphasise levels of responsibility or the scope of a role especially if you are trying to match your approach to wording you’ve read on the job specification.Remember, should you secure an interview for this role you are very likely to be asked further questions and you will typically be expected to provide examples to back up things you have stated in your CV. Make sure points are truly reflective of what your contribution or level was.
  5. Don’t forget to update the feel of your CV presentation wise. Styles change or you may have done additional qualifications that are applicable to what you do or hope to do in the future. These things can be overlooked when it comes to selling yourself, but they can also bring about a fresh feel to the information you are providing and catch the eye of that internal recruiter or line manager. This could make the difference between securing an interview or not - so be sure to think carefully about how you present key information so that it will be seen.

Keep on top of trends and take a ‘little but often’ approach to updating your CV and other profiles. This will ensure that you are always in the best position to fulfil your career ambitions.

KJ

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