As we talk to candidates about new roles or approach candidates we believe are suitable for opportunities one of the most common themes we come across is that the candidate doesn’t have an up to date CV or in some cases no CV at all. In addition you mustn’t think about your CV in isolation, your LinkedIn profile and the story it tells goes hand in hand. For many individuals the thought of having to write a CV or doing a major update brings a sense of dread. Some candidates we have approached may even dismiss a role because it involves this exercise. This could result in you missing out on your next big opportunity and career progression.
Once you have the core structure in place (please see previous blog) keeping your CV up to date and relevant shouldn’t be that arduous a task and if an opportunity suddenly arises you can address quickly without the need to go back to the drawing board.
Appraisal Preparation = CV Refresh
One recommendation is to take a look at your CV every six months and coincide when you have your annual and mid-year reviews. As part of the preparation for this you will be making a note of all your key achievements whether that be projects delivered, cost savings, team development etc as well as new skills harnessed. Simply fold these key achievements and skills into your CV as a series of bullets. This is the first and most relevant thing a recruiter and interviewer will look at – tangible deliverables which have resulted in greater efficiencies for the business or improvements to the bottom line. By folding in your CV review with your appraisals you are achieving two things at once and won’t need to rack your brain again as you are already in the reviewing mindset.
The new additions which go in at the top of your CV then provide you with an opportunity to condense the bottom. The additions will have likely taken the CV over two pages therefore to return it to just being double sided it is important to remove more historical information which may no longer be relevant or simply superseded by recent achievements. As time goes on you can also reduce the size of the educational attainment section almost exclusively focusing on your last qualification.
Review of Personal Profile
Don’t forget to refresh the personal profile at the top. Using the same techniques as your mid/annual reviews which is effectively a sales pitch to your line manager you can achieve the same objective to your potential new employer. This should only be a paragraph, therefore remove or demote less relevant points.
Give it the once over
The number of times I have looked back at an old document and seen a typo or a misconstructed sentence which could have been worded better (there is probably one in this blog). Even though you are not rewriting the whole document have a quick scan through everything and do a little bit of housekeeping.
I am certainly not suggesting doing this every six months but every now and again it is worth googling or looking at some of the latest templates in MS Word or Google Docs to bring your layout and design to current thinking. Without going crazy some design enhancements with a neater layout can catch the eye making you stand out from the crowd.
Keep it to hand
No one really wants to rebuild a CV from scratch but with laptops being replaced every few years it may well be lost in the relics of an old c drive or memory stick. Save everything to your personal cloud therefore no matter where you are or what device you are using you will always have key documents like your CV to hand.
Don’t forget LinkedIn.
If you are on LinkedIn keeping this profile up to date is just as important as your CV. The first port of call is if you don’t have a photograph, add one. It is said that your profile and network is half as effective if you don’t have a picture. Having a picture creates a greater sense of connection than the default avatar.
A significant proportion of people also do not have any responsibilities or achievements listed under their current employer. If you have been there a significant amount of time this could mean that whoever is viewing your profile may not have visibility of what you have achieved for x amount of years…. therefore you are instantly dismissed from a potential opportunity. The most common reason for this being blank is that no-one wants to state any company secrets, strategy etc and subsequently be in breach of their contract however you can still put a few key bullets without giving away anything commercially sensitive.
Like the CV some people can avoid updating LinkedIn. Taking a step back if you think about the time a week you spend on your smart phone what is 30 minutes giving your LinkedIn profile a quick tidy up? I don’t know a single employer or recruiter who hasn’t used LinkedIn as one of their first port of calls for identifying and reviewing prospective candidates.
Owning your personal profile in the digital age is more important than ever but these few simple techniques means it doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking and can simply become business as usual. As always here at Red Tiger Talent were are here to support you and your careers ambitions. We are more than happy to review your personal profile and provide some guidance whether you are looking for your next role or simply need to get everything up to date.