It’s always good to keep your CV updated, so that you are best positioned for new openings and opportunities that will arise as companies could be hiring at any time of the year.
Your CV is the first opportunity you get to make a lasting and positive impression on your potential future employer. Since this is likely to be the first thing they will see, it’s important to ensure that it stands out from the crowd as it has the potential to make a real difference between securing an interview or missing out on a dream role.
Phill Westcott, Director at Walters People says "Keeping your CV up-to-date is essential to identify major steps you have taken in your professional development, and to remind yourself what experience and skills you have to offer whilst focusing on taking the next step in your career,".
Start with your education
For recent graduates, your higher education and degree result is a priority for many employers. You aren’t expected to have had a number of consecutive years’ work experience when you have been studying, travelling or undertaking charity work. So until your work experience starts to build up, it’s a good idea to start with your academic history.
Emphasise transferable skills
Use your experience outside of work to emphasise the transferable skills you’ve gained that will be valuable in your next role, including this in your work experience section. Whether it be travelling, volunteering or undertaking further study, never hide these experiences on your CV, especially when they have made a vital contribution to your career development.
Never lie about employment dates
It’s a risky road to lie about your dates of employment. It’s standard procedure for employers to verify employment dates either once you accept the offer or even before the offer stage so if you lie, it will more than likely come out. If you are found to be lying your application will be terminated immediately and if any offer has already been extended it will be retracted.
Be prepared to discuss at interview
Preparation is key. Have your answers ready so that when you are asked why you have left jobs you are able to answer easily and naturally. For example, why did you decide to take a travel break? What did you learn from the experience that you have taken with you in your professional career? If you have been made redundant, explain how you have responded to this and the types of jobs that you have been looking for, as well as what you’ve been doing in the meantime.
There is no shame in admitting you made a mistake by going to a new job, only to find out it was not what you were looking for, or that the company had undergone a redundancy programme. It is more important to be able to show how you reacted to this and what you have been doing in the interim, e.g. upskilling, volunteer work, networking etc. Employers will always respect your honesty.
Are you experiencing an employment gap right now?
Start doing something about it! Think about things that you could be doing right now that could boost your CV. It’s difficult to take time away from applying for roles, but this doesn’t have to mean having to take on a part-time job that doesn’t align with your career path. Activities such as starting your own blog, learning a new skill or language or creating your own portfolio could give you that little bit extra, giving your CV the edge over the competition.