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Maintaining Your CV

When new opportunities arise, be ready


When you apply for a job you will be asked to send a CV or fill in an application form. In either case, take care to address the requirements that the new situation demands. People are often poor in matching their past experience to the demands of a potential new employer. Developing a ‘career record’ will help.

Your career record should include:

  • The posts you have held, together with key responsibilities and dates.
  • The things you were responsible for in these posts.
  • Relevant experience from your academic and vocational studies.
  • Any extra opportunity you had to demonstrate your potential in these areas, including:
    • Reports you have written or drafted,
    • Presentations you have given,
    • Problems you have solved,
    • New colleagues you have trained or mentored,
    • Training you have received
    • Particular achievements, for example, securing an advantageous sale or being part of a product or system innovation.

Keep copies of reports you produce, at least on computer file, provided you are allowed to do so. If necessary, seek permission to show this to other people.

You may not use all this information in any future job application or CV, but keep a record of these things so that you can use them if it seems appropriate. It is easy to forget these activities and achievements and to fail to appreciate the significance in how you may present yourself in the future. By recording things in a systematic way, you reinforce your memory, so that when you come to making an application or be interviewed you can provide evidence to support information or answers you might give.

When you send a CV to a prospective employer, make sure you tailor it to that employer’s requirements. Your career record will make this easy to do.

When applying for a job, always to make it easy for a prospective employer to see your worth and to make it difficult for them to reject you out of hand.

One sure-fire way of early rejection is to fail to meet the ‘essential criteria’ that they ask for. You may think your qualities far exceed any deficiencies in ‘essential criteria’, but where there are lots of applications for a post they are often sieved by somebody whose job is simply to reject those applicants who don’t meet the basic specified criteria.

If you want a job, make sure you provide a suitable explanation of why you meet the essential criteria, even if your experience is limited. If you have maintained your career record in an imaginative way, this should generally be possible.

And when you apply for a new position, always send a covering letter to emphasise your ambition and enthusiasm. This provides an additional opportunity to sell yourself. Try and tailor your application to reflect the language and wording that the prospective employer used in their job advertisement.

For some useful tips on producing an effective CV, check out the video by Monster Jobs below.

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