f there is one certainty in the uncertainty of 21st century living, that is change happens and will continue to happen, probably at a faster and faster pace as we become more dependent on information as a commodity and our capacity to produce it grows. The top 10 graduate jobs of 2016 did not exist 10 years ago, for example: Data scientist; IOS & Android Developer; and the title Digital Marketing Specialist didn’t exist at the turn of the century. Likewise, promotion within companies is no longer the norm. Companies want to employ people who have the skills they need rather than looking for potential which they can develop.
Part of the pace of change is that more companies cease as the way we live moves on. Retail stores have been particularly hard hit as we change our shopping habits from high street to internet. In 2016, 18 retail companies closed with the loss of jobs for 23,500 people. The most famous of these was the old stalwart of the high street British Home Stores. On the other hand, from January to June 2016 there were 80 new companies per hour created and a staggering 342,927 companies were registered in the same period.
So what does this mean for an average UK white-collar worker?
- You cannot rely on your employing organisation or your job existing for your working life;
- If you want to improve your lot, you are probably going to have to move jobs and perhaps even locations;
- You need to present yourself as a “fully rounded product” to get the job you really want;
- You have to invest in your own ongoing education; and
- You must always have an up to date CV.
OK, so how do you go about keeping your CV fresh? Here are five tips you can use to easily update your CV.
What type of CV do you want to have?
You can choose a style for your CV to match your history and aspirations.
A functional CV is a traditional CV which focusses on your career history. It is good for those people who have had a complete career history. The first section should always be about achievements and roles within your current job followed by a summary of your career history, your education and any volunteering and interests which contribute to your skill set. This is less useful for people returning to work after a career break or if you have gaps in your work history.
Skills Based CV is a CV based around your skill set which you may have achieved through work, volunteering, caring or any other activity. It highlights your skills which are relevant to the jobs you are applying for and plays down the career history angle. This is a useful style if you have had gaps in your career, though some employers don’t like them.
Student CV is for someone leaving full time education where their degree and training are their most useful asset and they come first. This type of CV is for first jobs only and should be swapped after that time for a more traditional CV
Alternative CV is a different style where you may put your CV into an advert form or a creative style. This is particularly useful if you are going into a career in marketing, design, or creative arts.
For more information on different styles of CV see this very helpful website from the National Careers Service: (https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/advice/getajob/cvs/Pages/default.aspx
Keep the length short and the format bright
The maximum length for a CV, other than for academic posts, is 2 pages. Unless a previous job is directly relevant to the post being applied for it should be a heading and little else. If you feel that skills from previous jobs are relevant and/or you are looking to change career direction, you can group them together under a single heading to emphasise the skills. For example, several posts could be grouped under a heading of “information management” or “research roles”.
If you have kept the same format for years, then perhaps now is the time to update the format to give it a fresh look.
Tailor your CV to the type of job you are interested in
Make sure that you look at the job description and tailor your CV to include key terms. A sales role could be variously described as “account manager”, “sales consultant” or “business development”. Make sure you reflect the terminology of the company or employers you are seeking to join.
Use active language
This means describe your achievement in the present tense rather than past tenses. E.g. “Project leader for the implementation of…” rather than “Led the implementation project…” the former sounds more current and dynamic than the latter.
You need to proofread your completed CV several times together with getting someone you trust who has a keen eye for detail to do it too. When you have written something yourself it is hard to see the errors because you will always skip read. Fresh eyes will be more critical.
And while you are updating your CV, it is a good idea to update your LinkedIn profile too so they are consistent with each other.