Posted on October 5, 2017 · Posted in Uncategorized

Be Prepared

As the mother of one past and one current Sea Scout, I often reflect that the scouting motto has not really sunk in with my offspring, as we dash about last minute for just about everything they realise that they need to locate or do. It’s fair to say, though, that many of us work on a strictly ‘as necessary’ basis when it comes to prioritising things.

Having an up-to-date CV is a perfect example of something that sounds like a really good idea, but just never gets done until it’s urgent. A friend was recently put on notice of redundancy, along with a number of other colleagues, and had that sudden blast of reality that required him to consider options outside an employer of over ten years.

Ideally, a CV is a live document, along with other collateral such as a biography, LinkedIn profile and personal website. Being in a new role with a new company for six months, while your LinkedIn profile tells everyone you are still with a previous employer, not only suggests that you aren’t on top of things, but also might imply a lack of commitment to your new appointment. Not good, especially if you are a visible, senior executive.

A complete overhaul and update of your CV is a good idea every couple of years; it is surprising how quickly a format looks dated and earlier career highlights become irrelevant. In between, ideally at least once a quarter, it’s a good idea to put time in your diary to reflect on, and record, what you are working on and have achieved.
Here are some tips for keeping your professional profiles up-to-date and ready for whatever comes along:

• Review what has happened since you last looked at your CV (hopefully this won’t cover too many years or decades!)
• Consider the environment you have worked in – what is the situation, culture and strategy within the organisation(s)? How is the economy faring? What is happening across the different markets?
• Look at specific challenges you have tackled. Have they been unexpected? Severe? Short-term? Business-critical?
• What actions have you taken?
• What are the solutions you have put in place?
• Finally, what has transpired so far? Are there any results yet, or is it work in progress?

Even if you simply keep a record of this information without actually putting it into the CV, you will have a contemporaneous account of your achievements, so won’t overlook anything if you need to put together an application.

For LinkedIn, the important updates are job changes and qualification updates – both of which should be done within a week or so of the event or award. As for the photo on the site, I would suggest it is reviewed once a year or after any noticeable changes to appearance, such as:
• new hair style
• other change, such as colour, for example, if you decide to let those pesky Norwegian blonde highlights just take their course
• if you change your facial hair strategy, or
• start or stop wearing glasses.

If all that sounds like an impossible dream, I can promise it’s a much better alternative than being on the back foot when your ideal job opportunity comes along, or the ideal job that you thought you had looks uncertain.