It doesn’t matter whether you are currently looking for work or not it is absolutely essential to keep your CV up to date.
- You never know when you might need it. Sometimes change is thrust upon us when we least expect it. Not just workplace situations; personal and family factors also force changes unexpectedly, both positively and negatively. Employment is no longer as secure as it used to be even ten to twenty years ago. Even valued employees with many years of experience may find themselves in need of a new job.
- You need to be alive to opportunities as they arise, not necessarily to become seen as unstable, but sometimes the best opportunities are the ones that arise unexpectedly. It could be an opening in a higher role where you are currently working or you may hear of a great opportunity somewhere else, and you will be ready to respond at short notice if necessary.
- Keeping your CV up to date is a constant reminder of what your work role is, what tasks you perform regularly and allows you to evaluate your own progress. Some employers will want to review your performance against your job description, so you will be seen in a better light if you are able to be proactive about outlining your strengths and skills, and can demonstrate how you are growing in your role. That is also good for you to monitor where you are performing well and where you need more training.
By being constantly aware of your role, the skills you use and your personal skills and weaknesses you can easily assess what you would like to develop as training opportunities arise.
Note key areas of responsibility. Be absolutely specific. In which areas do you perform the most creditably?
Be mindfully aware of what skills you are good at and which ones you are currently developing. Write them down and add them as an appendix to your main CV to use as examples of specific skills. These would be edited for particular roles that you might apply for. Take note of strategies you use that are successful and how your success impacts on your work. When new opportunities come up you will already have a list of skills and examples of how you use them that can be moulded to new situations.
One strategy is to keep a journal or diary of tasks you are called on to perform regardless of whether it is part of your core job description as well as a record of any professional development activities. Record what you did that made it turn out well, and what training opportunities it may have triggered. Practice writing succinctly. If you have a formal job description use the key words and phrases contained within it. If you do not have a position description in writing you may be able to use your notes to start developing one, with your employer’s cooperation.
Another useful strategy is to keep a file in which you keep notes of appreciation from satisfied clients, thank you notes and certificates of participation in professional development and receipts for self-funded training.