When to update your CV

There is no need to convince anybody (or so we hope) that a good-quality CV is a crucial element in the job hunting process. And without doubt you’ve heard that “your CV is your business card” at least once in the course of your career.

Now the question may arise, “When are you actually in job hunting mode?”

At a CEO round table during which career management was the leitmotiv, one CEO approached me afterwards and said, “Sandra, I really like the idea of CEO-only meetings, but should we not split the group into CEOs who are looking for a job and those who are not?” To which I replied, “Well, from my experience everybody is looking for a job – some just don’t know it (yet).”

The world is VUCA and therefore unpredictable – so having an updated CV ready is simply a smart business decision. And yes, there have been changes in design and structure, but the most important thing which should convince you to updating your CV once a year is that… people’s memory is not foolproof. And from an even more practical perspective: you have access to certain data now, you might not tomorrow.

Imagine that you are faced with a similar situation:

  • you’re an executive with a proven track record of measurable successes
  • you were climbing the corporate ladder systematically
  • you haven’t been looking for a job in quite a while… which might include never

And then for one reason or another (initiated by you or not) you need a CV. The most common struggles that we observe:

  • not remembering numbers
  • not having access to data

Some might argue, “My CV does not need that level of detail.” or “Some information is confidential.”

Not all of the information will or should be in your CV, BUT you will need to know your numbers by heart once you are interviewing. Why? Because candidates who know their data are perceived more competent than those who don’t, irrespectively of what the reality actually is.

For you, your successes might be obvious and it is very likely that when talking / writing about them you will use “mental shortcuts”. However, statements such as e.g.: “successfully launched X brand” are too vague and not precise enough for a recruiter.

To achieve this effect you need the exact numbers / percentages. And unless you are a genius with photographic memory, you will not remember it when you need it.

You can avoid wasting time on searching for all the data by ‘simply’ implementing a habit of updating your CV once a year. Operate under the assumption that you are always looking. One way this article by the Business Insider puts it “Prepare yourself for the worst.”

Here are other arguments in favor of this. In short, you can:

  • remind yourself of your skills and achievements
  • give yourself a confidence boost
  • understand yourself better
  • reflect on your key lessons and identify development areas
  • develop a clearer idea of your strengths
  • see the thread that binds your body of work together

Last, but not least: once your CV is updated, make sure it looks like an executive CV and not an updated CV from your student days.

Want to know how your CV ranks? Confidentially? To request a CV Report, click here or send an email to Bichl.Sandra@CareerAngels.eu. Subject: CV Report. You will receive it with market-relevant tips within 3-5 business days.

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