Welcome back for Day Two of the Ward on the Street Five Weeks of Fabulous Challenge! For those who participated in Day One… Isn’t it nice checking your inbox and not having 21348563 unread emails, 99% of which are from YouTube, African princes looking for a safe place to deposit money, and newsletters from stores you shopped at that one time for the really obscure gift your dad wanted for Father’s Day 2007?
Today is another self-improvement task – It is time to update your CV.
For me, there are several reasons I need to update my CV:
- I haven’t needed a CV since I left paid employment in March 2016
- I have completed a number of courses and CPD activities during lockdown that I need to add
- I need to update my experience
- I need to add on my volunteer work that I have done during my employment gap
Generally, unless we are looking for work, it is unlikely we think about updating our CV – why would you need to? I’m sure that was the mindset of many of the people pre-lockdown who went on to lose their jobs during the UK lockdown period. I personally am guilty of neglecting mine. At present I am not looking for work but there may come a day when I’m browsing the internet and I see an opportunity that appeals to me. Whatever your personal situation, an updated CV is a valuable document that everyone should have, because you never know what is around the corner.
Writing a CV can be a mammoth task if you don’t have an old one to work from. It can really help to build a mindmap of all the things you want to share on your CV. Reed.co.uk has an excellent guide to get you started. I also did an Interview Skills and CV Writing Certificate with New Skills Academy which was especially helpful. Here is a quick guide of the things I chose to include, and things I did not include.
I did include:
- My name, email address, and telephone number.
- A brief blurb about who I am, what I do, and what I am looking for.
- My last three employers. Some places ask for a more extensive employment history, but for the kind of role I am interested in, the last three roles I have worked are the most relevant.
- My formal qualifications. I split these into two categories – Formal Qualifications, and Recent CPD Activity. The recent CPD I have undertaken is extensive and so I separated it out to place emphasis on my recent achievements.
- Hobbies and interests.
- Skills and attributes – for example, proficiency in cloud computing and Microsoft Office 365.
- References – this is a personal preference, because I know my two references are a) willing and b) think I am awesome, and because I would be willing for a potential employer to call them prior to an interview if they felt compelled.
I did not include:
- My address, marital status, ethnicity or date of birth – it is not a legal requirement and to do so may bias a potential employer.
- Precise dates of employment – this way I was able to cover a few small gaps in my employment history.
- My disability status, carer status or parent status. Again, it is not a legal requirement for me to do so at this point and may prejudice an employer against me.
I found putting my CV together a challenge at first – remembering dates, job roles and all the other little bits and pieces that would be relevant. I decided to just compile what I think is a generic CV, because I am not applying for a specific role, and I am not sure exactly what I want to do.
The easiest part was adding in all my qualifications – I keep all my certificates in a binder together so I can take them to interviews if necessary to prove I have them. I decided not to include my pharmacy qualifications, because I don’t want a pharmacy job again, but I did include qualifications currently in progress because they are in line with where I am headed with my vision for the future.
I chose to add some colour to make my CV stand out from the crowd. Most CVs are viewed digitally now so I chose colours that show up well on screen, but that would also be clear in print if they so desire to print the document.
As an added extra, I also did a generic cover letter to go with my CV, so if I do send it anywhere, there is an eye-grabbing “Is this what you’re looking for?” page to draw them in. Cover letters are just as essential as a CV and they really paint a picture of who you are, as well as demonstrate professionalism and intelligence when done properly.
I am really happy with my new CV, and it has actually inspired me to consider looking at future work opportunities which I was not previously especially bothered about.
Join us tomorrow for Day Three. If you enjoyed reading my blog, please consider donating to http://www.paypal.me/wardotstreet. This blog costs about £300 a year to run and comes from my own pocket at present. Please show your support by following us on social media and sharing our posts with your friends if you enjoy them! See you tomorrow. You’ll need your diary!