If you’ve been wrapped in the cosy glow of your current job for several years, chances are your CV is nothing more than an unloved Word Doc gathering virtual cobwebs. You probably can’t even remember what you’ve saved it as or which version is the most up-to-date. This usually results in a frenzied panic to re-write or modernise the offending document should you suddenly find yourself looking for work.
Your CV and your own personal brand should always be kept fresh, no matter what stage of your career you find yourself at. A clean and polished profile, in paper and online, is absolutely essential to being recognised as an authentic voice within your particular market. This extends to networking sites, such as LinkedIn, as well as your own personal CV.
In terms of presenting a credible personal brand, it starts with the little things. Having a professional looking headshot on your LinkedIn profile looks far more appropriate than a posed, night out picture. Quality testing your profiles – actually reading what you’ve said about yourself – is also key. It might actually shock you in to action.
You should also seek to publish articles or posts regarding any developments within your chosen field of work. By generating content, you may well end up being seen as a specialist by your peers, especially if your role is quite niche.
This in turn may get you invited to conferences (as a guest or a speaker) that you wouldn’t normally attend. Networking successfully online and in person is a great way to get your voice heard and be seen as dedicated and passionate about your line of work. Take advantage of any webinars, seminars or conferences that you can.
You might realise that the list of tasks you are capable of is a little lacking. Seek out any relevant professional organisations or groups to join as they might be able to offer some advice or point you in the right direction of good learning tools. Online personal development courses (free or otherwise) are also a great way to further your skills set – and you can add it to your CV.
Taking the time to update your CV – no one cares that you were Head Boy or what part-time jobs you had as a student – is so important for personal branding. It shows you are able to determine what information is relevant and, by updating any new skills that you have acquired, it underlines that you are always willing to take on new challenges and keep learning.
Keeping things fresh is particularly important in global marketplaces that are always changing. New technologies or new ways of doing things are always happening. You have to be able to demonstrate that you can roll with the punches and aren’t being left behind. Even the ‘standard’ format of a CV is subject to change. There are plenty of tools and guides online that can help you get yours in order.
By making a note of your most recent skills and achievements, you will also give yourself a confidence boost within the workplace. Use this to your advantage at any upcoming meetings with your line manager. If you are seen as active in your market – and potentially in high demand – a business will be keen not only to keep you, but to utilise your array of skills to the fullest, making your job potentially more interesting. Or, if a promotion becomes available, you can present the best case possible for obtaining it.
It’s like any task in life – if you keep working away at it whilst you have the time, it doesn’t become an insurmountable task when you have a deadline to meet.
In taking these steps to refresh your CV and your personal brand, you are also prepared for the worst. Should your circumstances change, and you need to find new means of employment, then you’re already one step ahead. If you are networking properly, writing short articles and have a completely up-to-date CV and skills set, you won’t need to waste precious job-seeking time starting from scratch with these types of tasks.
And, if you have established yourself online and in person as knowledgeable and reliable, chances are you won’t have to wait too long for your next opportunity.
If you’d like to speak to our teams about exploring your market and the possibility of making a career move, click here to get in touch.