10 life-prompts for updating your CV to keep it alive – from Nick Luke at Unlocking Potential

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

You get told that your CV should be a live document – but no one really ever tells you how.  However, often in the busy hamster wheel of life, your CV gets forgotten and left to fester.  The consequence being it isn’t ready to whip out and tailor for your dream job when you most need it.  Follow these update prompts and you should always be in great shape and you won’t forget anything important!

  1. Starting or ending a job – Obvious? Yes – and important! When you start a new job, pop in your end date of your old role – it’s so much easier than rooting through old P45s! Then summarise your new job description and start date. Moving jobs is risky; people and companies do make mistakes. If the worst happens and it doesn’t work out, at least your CV will be useable, quickly
  2. Starting or achieving a qualification – Just like jobs, it’s hard to remember all the details about the qualifications you are doing. A qualification in progress is often very close to the value of a qualification completed, so make sure it goes on your CV. This habit will also force you to consider how your CV could be formatted to accommodate all these accolades!
  3. Achieving something significant at work – Often forgotten on CVs are achievements you secure whilst working. If you have made something positive happen, consider including what and when e.g. ’won the 2015 ABC award for …..’ or ‘Shaved 20% off advertising costs in 2014 saving the business £20,800’.
  4. Being given new responsibilities – Job roles evolve and change and as such, this means that your CV needs updating to reflect any new responsibilities you have taken on.
  5. You learn a new skill  – How often are we shown how to use new software, equipment or asked to step in and do something which involves new skills? Add the skills to your repertoire – you never know when they might come in handy.
  6. You undertake a training course – Internal and external training which is not qualifications based can be important. In larger organisations, with mandatory training requirements, it may be crucial for the ‘what and when’ of these to be included on your CV.
  7. You upgrade your mobile or change your contact details – You would not believe how often contact details are not correct on CVs – a big ‘No No’ with recruiters! Be conscious of your phone upgrades, your changing email addresses and new homes and update immediately
  8. You achieve something significant in your personal life of value to your career  – If you join a significant committee or group which is offering you additional skills and experience which you need/want to demonstrate, personal commitments offer employers valuable insights into your wider abilities. So the PTA, being a local Councillor, Scout group, Football team captain etc should be included.
  9. You see a new CV layout you like and want to have a play – So often, I have heard people look admiringly at other peoples’ CVs. If you feel like it’s time for a change, or maybe it’s got to the point where quantity needs to be edited down, going for a new look is a great excuse to update.
  10. You feel that your CV no longer represents you as a person – Sometimes, you can look at your CV and it doesn’t feel congruent with who you are. If so it might be time to consider why and what you want it to be instead. Remember to keep a copy of your old CV when chopping and changing, though or you might find this is a longer job than you anticipated!

Make sure you keep a master copy of your CV which includes everything that you have ever done.  It doesn’t matter how long this CV is – it’s more of a record than anything so that you can keep a note of all the important information.  That way, when you are tailoring your CV to be relevant for a role, you won’t cut anything out you can’t go to your master copy and retrieve.   Enjoy!

Nicky Luke, Head of Talent Development, Unlocking Potential