Why you should update your CV whilst you are away from work.
We should all have a current CV, whether or not we intend to change our jobs, or take on additional roles. CVs should be an as-live record of you and your career. Updating it is something to be done routinely. That is something often said, and less frequently achieved. This is because life and work can get in the way. Without a fixed deadline, it can be a task all too easily overlooked. However, it is essential practice to stop for a few moments and to consider what your CV is saying, and what is missing. But why?
Reviews give us a reflection opportunity to acknowledge, recognise, and celebrate our achievements, growth, skill development, and workplace-worth. You never know when you need your CV. It could be a short notice invitation, or an unexpected job opportunity, or an invite to speak at an event or join a committee, for example. It would be shame to miss these prospects simply because you don’t have the chance to kick your CV into shape at the time. If it is done regularly, it shouldn’t take too much time. A little and often my mum always says.
So here is an idea. Take it with you on holiday. And make sure you don’t return home until you have given it a much-needed polish. Aren’t holidays supposed to be all about stopping work, and creating distance between you and your desk – you ask? They are, I agree. But it is the uniqueness of holidays that perhaps gives us a rare moment of objectivity for looking again at our CVs – and thinking about how we present our own professional ‘shop window’. It is a time when arguably we are most authentically ‘us’, as a person, an individual, and not flavoured, distracted, or preoccupied by all things ‘work’.
I say this because I have done just that. At the end of three weeks from work, two of them away, I found myself thinking differently about the core characteristics of what makes ‘me’ at work, including my skills, qualities, experience, and strengths. The things that might set me apart from others. I made notes on my ‘phone, editing them when the mood took me. The outcome was an update that created a new opening summary paragraph for my CV. And it feels more authentic, different, fresh and contemporary.
There is another good reason. This helps us prepare for that awkward question: ‘tell me about yourself’. The question that, without proper preparation, we all usually fluff and waffle through (I have before – trust me). Which can lead to missing an invaluable and unique chance to sell yourself. A well thought out opening paragraph of a CV should give you sufficient prompts to do a better job of you.