Returning to work after the Christmas break is often a popular time to seek out new opportunities – or even look for a change of career direction.
Looking to boost your career prospects can be a long and troublesome process, but there’s no better place to start than freshening up your CV.
Here are our steps for making sure yours is ready to go.
What have you achieved over the past year? Assess how your job or the duties you take on have changed in the past 12 months – all those new skills and experiences may be relevant to your CV.
Were you sent on a secondment or given new responsibilities? Reflect on all changes and include the most relevant in your updated CV, especially if they demonstrate your career development.
Remember that less is more – two pages should be the absolute maximum, as a hiring manager won’t have time to read more than that. Make sure your style and layout are fresh so that the document doesn’t immediately look dated. Bullet points are always good, as are emboldened text and headings.
Your name and contact information should be at the top, followed by a brief personal statement. Below that should be your work experience or, if you’re a recent graduate, your education information. Make sure the most recent experiences are listed first.
A CV is all about quality, not quantity. You only have so much room – you are looking for one or two very well-written, compelling pages, and everything on there needs to have earned its place on your CV.
If you’ve been in work for more than five years, do you really still need your GCSE results in the “Education” section? Not everything is going to require a full description, so choose the information you include, and exclude, carefully.
This also involves keeping your content as up to date as possible. You may have learned the guitar when you were a teenager, but is that skill still relevant 20 years later? It’s not going to impress a potential employer if they find out you’ve been stretching the truth.
Pick a couple of activities that you genuinely enjoy doing and are passionate about.
Don’t forget about keeping your online profile up to date as well. Whether you’re looking to show off your achievements, find a new job or simply network, LinkedIn is a valuable tool. Is there anyone you can approach for a recommendation due to the stellar work you’ve done in the past year?
Remember also to keep your picture as current as possible – if you no longer have the hipster beard you were growing this time last year, update your image. It doesn’t have to be professional, but it definitely shouldn’t be a selfie.
Send it out
Posting your CV to a job site is a great way to keep searching for vacancies without doing much work. You’ve gone to all the trouble of updating your CV, so now get it out to potential employers.