As the year draws to an end it can be a great time to document your professional achievements and start thinking about your career plans for next year.
It’s often easy to forget about your personal career achievements, new skills gained and how you’ve expanded in your current role throughout the year.
“The end of the year is an excellent time to look back and identify the key career successes you have had in the last twelve months, and start thinking about your career plan for the next year,” said Sally Martin, Director at Robert Walters.
“Not only will this help you prepare for your annual performance and pay review if you have one, but it’s an excellent opportunity to update your CV – even if you’re not planning on changing jobs in the very near future”
As you review the skills you’ve developed, you'll be able to also identify which ones you would like to improve and develop in the coming year. We take a look at a few pointers on how you should approach the task of updating your CV to ensure it reflects your career achievements and will best serve you when you are ready to move jobs.
Your key performance indicators (KPIs) are a great place to start when identifying and documenting your key career achievements for the year.
If you have them, they will often be a core component of your performance and salary review (whether this takes monthly, quarterly or annually).
Document measurable achievements for each KPI, as well as considering the skills you needed or developed to reach them. If you have exceeded any specific measurable targets then make sure you identify by how much or what margin.
Also identify the skills you used or developed to achieve your KPIs. This will help you document improvements in your soft skills and personal career development.
If you don’t have KPIs, consider asking your manager to set them next year, or set some personal professional goals as KPIs for yourself, so you can use them to measure your career wins next year.
Speaking to people who work in HR or recruitment and asking for advice on whether your CV aligns with what companies are looking for from potential candidates will help identify any gaps that need to be filled. A recruitment consultant can identify whether the content in your CV is applicable from an initial glance and can identify which skills are most relevant to the type of jobs you are interested in.
Having a targeted CV gives you the chance to apply for specific opportunities in a smart, and effective way. Some companies are looking for specific skills more than others so having a CV that is easily adaptable, should make it easier to present information in an order that will have the most impact on the role you are applying for and be more competitive in your job application process.
As your cover letter is attached to your CV, it is equally important to make sure it is easily customisable to the role you are applying for. This document can be used to let your personality shine, a chance to sell your CV and reinforce your talent in line with the job requirements.
Having your CV and cover letter formatted in a clear and neat way will ensure it is easily ready and simply scanned, especially as many applications are now read on screen. Having a simple font, and correct use of headings and bullet points is an easy way to draw attention to any key achievements and relevant information towards the job you are applying for.
Preparing for your next career step will give you a head start against other job seekers. Use the end of the year as a milestone to review and update your CV, and start thinking about your career plan for the New Year. This time wisely provides the opportunity to become prepared if a new role arises in the New Year.
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