Yes, we know. We at City CV aren’t huge fans of all the memes & inspiring slogans that clutter your feeds on social media either but sometimes, you see one that stops you swiping and actually rings true.
September: the ‘feeling’ of September and back-to-school never leaves you. Everyone’s back in the office after a summer holiday (or the summer holidays for parents), energised to make that project happen, fired up, ready to hit their targets before the end of the year.
Some people, though, may have been lying on that sun lounger, with time on their hands, evaluating life and thinking about whether they love their job: am I just coasting? What’s the next promotion? Am I well-positioned to achieve? Do I have the right work/life balance?
And so, the motivation to make a change, leave a role and start afresh is triggered. You know that you need to update your CV or resume, and conveniently, September is ‘International Update your CV’ month! So really is there a better time to take a look at that document filed away and update it with all your achievements?
The importance of updating your CV
At City CV, we would advise you to tweak your CV for each job application – you must always consider the employer, the nuances of the role and the skills required. One size doesn’t necessarily fit all. But, regardless of that, it’s good to craft a ‘default’ CV, a generic one that can then be adapted according to the employer, role and skills.
“It’s ironic how we often forget the things worth remembering but remember the things worth forgetting.” – Anon
If you’ve been in your role for a long time, many years, then it’s likely that a lot will have happened in those years. There’ll be some notable achievements, projects that you’ve delivered, promotions that you’ve celebrated but if you don’t update your CV regularly, you’re likely to forget about them or, at least, forget about your individual impact. You’ll remember the headlines – “Project delivered on time” – but you might not remember the steps that you took to make that happen.
Sit down this September and brainstorm the achievements that leap out in as much detail as possible. Give it 24 hours and more will come to you, and so on. Once you have enough data you can start to sift through it and think about what’s CV worthy.
And then keep a list of achievements as they occur, preferably digitally rather than on the back of an envelope. But just keep a list.
“Fail to prepare, prepare to fail” – Benjamin Franklin
You’ve made up your mind and you’re ready to look for a new job. You’re going to need a CV to send to a recruitment agent, executive search agency or an employer.
You want to be ahead of the game, submitting your CV and covering letter promptly; you don’t want to be trawling through your memory for achievements and panicking that you’ve forgotten something.
Yes, it will need tweaking so that your CV is tailored to your target role but the ‘heavy lifting’ should have been done. Prepare.
“The past is your lesson. The future is your gift. The future is your motivation.” – Anon
Yep it’s another one of those slogans but with regards to CVs, it’s quite helpful. Take a look at your current CV. Do you have some good examples of your positive impact on previous employers? Do your examples showcase the skills for which you want to be remembered? Are the examples strong enough?
Are there common themes within your CV – industry, type of employer (start-up vs mature), roles? It’s highly likely that there are some common themes and analysing these might help you to decide your next steps – do you want to stay in this industry/use your skills in a different industry/go back to that industry from a few years ago? Or do something completely different?
Looking at your CV with fresh eyes, not only allows you to identify gaps within it, but also within your experience, training and skills. And when you layer over the top your future aspirations, then the experience, training and skills that you need may change again.
In short, your CV is a tool that you can’t afford not to review every now and again. It’s a career map to show where you’ve been and a career compass to show where you’re heading.
Which almost sounds like another slogan. So, “stop wishing and start doing.”