Professionals about to enter the workforce are set to work for longer than any generation before them, and this means people are likely to change careers more often and take time out from their professions to focus on personal pursuits or other areas of interest. According to Hays CEO, Alistair Cox, this is set to impact the job search process, including the traditional CV.
Gaps in CVs will become more common
As professionals begin to experience non-traditional career paths and take career breaks, gaps in CVs will become more common. Jobseekers should, therefore, tailor their CV in a way that is relevant to the job they are applying for and where there are gaps, they should explain what they learnt during that time. Employers must also move toward reading beyond just the words on a CV and challenge their longstanding thinking that gaps on a CV are sometimes considered a “red flag”.
Alistair explains; “If you have been out of work for a period of time, communicate this via your CV. Career breaks are becoming more common, and if you’ve taken one, make sure you highlight how you kept yourself busy, whether you volunteered, undertook training courses or went travelling. It’s also a good idea to start collating an online portfolio of your work – this will help you condense the information on your CV, whilst still providing the reader with evidence of your achievements.”
Skills should be the focus
Alistair describes skills as “the new currency in the workplace”, explaining this is due to technology being ever-changing and points out that the lifetime value of skill is becoming shorter and shorter. For this reason, more emphasis and significance should be placed on a job seeker’s current skills and potential, rather than past experiences. This also means upskilling is now essential to a professional’s success and people must undertake training and set time aside for learning to enhance their skills base.
Alistair adds; “Instead of automatically thinking you need a candidate with X years of experience, question and challenge yourself on that. Would a candidate who has all the right skills and bags of potential, rather than years and years of experience actually make more sense? Resist the temptation to dive into writing the job description on autopilot. Instead, start by thinking about what skills are needed for the role, your team and for your business, both now and in the future.”
Your CV must be written for both man and machine
Technology is driving a lot of the change in the world of work, including the initial selection process of potential candidates. As CVs are increasingly assessed by not only humans but machines too, professionals will need to start tailoring their CV toward search algorithms.
Alistair explains; “Artificial intelligence and automated machine learning algorithms may well be used in conjunction with the recruiter or hiring manager to screen your CV.” Alistair adds, “Ensure you think carefully about the most relevant keywords you could use. For instance, try referring back to the job description and include similar words on your CV.”
Don’t be afraid to make it personal
Alistair states that a CV doesn’t always clearly demonstrate a jobseeker’s passions, yet it is important these are exhibited to potential employers. Beyond the usual skills and experience which appear on a traditional CV, it is essential jobseekers use it as an opportunity to communicate what they are passionate about and what drives them in their career.
Alistair explains; “Despite all the amazing benefits that technology can bring, it’s still the human touch that delivers the most value. Not only that but as we are all facing the prospect of working for longer, the lines between our working and personal lives are becoming more blurred. Both of these factors, many would argue, mean that seeing a candidate as more than just words on a screen is becoming more important.”
Alistair concludes with; “The nature of how we work is changing, and therefore, so is the nature of the CV. But the fact remains that, despite many predicting its demise, a well-written and well-structured CV can open doors for you that you always thought would remain firmly closed. It can start conversations with people you never thought you’d ever be able to get airtime with, and importantly, your CV remains a key tool in helping you land you an interview for the job of your dreams.”