We’ve had rather a lot of time out of the office, haven’t we?
For a lot of people, this is it. The last straw, the final nail in the coffin and the ultimate ‘green-light’ from the universe that it really is time to look for another job – because let’s be honest, there’s nothing like a global pandemic to make you re-evaluate your career.
If that sounds like you, then keep reading.
We’re going to show you how you can spruce up your CV and take the first step in getting a new job. One thing you must remember is that the world is still turning and many companies are actually still hiring. However, if your industry’s slowed down, don’t panic. Lockdown will not last forever and the more prepared you are when companies get back on their feet, the better chance you’ll have at landing a new role.
Oh, and whilst you’re here… be sure to follow us on LinkedIn for more kick-ass career advice.
1. Start with ‘Why’.
It’s easy to load up your CV and start changing it left, right and centre but you need to be absolutely clear on what you want to change and WHY you want to change it. Are you looking for a new role? More money? A totally different career? Before you even touch your existing CV, get clear with yourself on why you’re making these changes. This will save you time and allow you to hone in on what you want to say about yourself later down the line. Make sure you know which role you’re applying to before editing. Remember, you should tailor your CV to every role you apply for.
2. Keep it brief.
On average, an HR manager spends between five and seven seconds looking at your CV. Waffling will, therefore, get you nowhere. You are using your CV to illustrate a skill, show how you implemented it and explain how it positively impacted the company. Be mindful of over-sharing information and slipping into meandering narratives as you’ll be wasting the space you do have to sell yourself. Ask yourself, “is what I am about to write going to positively impact the chances of me getting an interview?” If the answer is no, leave it out. Be careful with ‘filler’ words too. The key is to get your skills, attributes and achievements across as concisely as possible. For example, instead of “during my five years at X, I was responsible for managing a budget of 30-million pounds and by the end of the five years, I had successfully helped to expand the company by 200 in a five year period”… consider saying “I managed a budget of 30-million pounds and successfully grew the business by 200% within five years.” Halve the words and you double the impact.
3. Don’t give them your life story.
It’s easy to mention everything about yourself and every tiny detail or achievement possible in the hopes you’ll trump another candidate. However, your CV is not the place for your life story. If you’ve successfully hit your target three months in a row – amazing! If you were promoted from shelf-stacking to a management role, brilliant, but if you’ve got your swimming badge from twenty years ago, please leave that off. There is always a place for achievements like this, (sometimes even on a fun and creative cover letter,) but don’t put it in the main CV body. Less is more. You have limited space, so use it wisely.
4. Spellcheck it and then spellcheck it again.
If your CV is awash with grammar no-no’s, it’ll be on its way to the shredder before you can say “excellent attention to detail.” It doesn’t matter if you’ve managed a team of 20 and juggled a multi-million pound budget, if you’re not taking the time to check your work, the chances are you won’t get an interview, because you can guarantee there will be another candidate who’s done all that AND given their work a thorough check before sending it. If writing isn’t your strong point, don’t worry! Try downloading Grammarly, a free online writing assistant which flags grammar, punctuation and everything in between. Whatever job you go for, regardless of how much experience you have, you MUST spellcheck your work. It really does make a huge difference and it can help you get a foot in the door when other candidates slip up.
5. Spruce up your LinkedIn and include a link to it.
As we’ve mentioned, you get two (ish) pages to sell yourself, but there is no rule about adding links to social profiles. Heck, a good HR manager or recruiter will probably search for you anyway, but getting yourself on LinkedIn will be hugely beneficial for your job search. LinkedIn is one of the most underused and underappreciated tools for job hunting and selling yourself at a professional level. Spend an hour polishing your profile, building your network and connecting with like-minded people in your industry. Regardless of whether you work in TKMaxx or telecomms, model trains or mechanical engineering, get yourself on LinkedIn. Set a nice, professional picture (holiday photos are a no-go) a short bio and add a few folk from your industry. Getting on LinkedIn by no means guarantees you a job, nor does it mean an HR manager will even bother looking at your profile, but if they do, you’ve given yourself another layer of credibility, they’ve put a face to your name and you can prove in just a few clicks that you’re up to date with industry news and well-invested in whatever sector you want to work in. You never know, you may even get head-hunted by a recruitment company *cough cough.*
If you’re at home feeling bored, uninspired and miserable in your career, remember that the first step starts with you. Re-writing or editing a CV need only be a mammoth task if you choose it to be.
We hope this has inspired you to take action and start working on your CV. Take it slow, don’t panic and remember that we’re all in this together.
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