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Ask Lawrence: Our annual community service announcement

17 Jan 17:00 by Lawrence Akers

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Happy 2019 everyone! As this is my first post of the year, I hope you've started the year brilliantly, curious and excited about the opportunities that are going to present themselves over the course of the next 12 months.

With that in mind, It’s time for our annual community service announcement; if your ‘current’ CV comes from 2017 (or earlier), then it is very much overdue for an update.

The new year always presents a fantastic opportunity for people to review the past year and to get things ready for the opportunities that lay ahead.

Given that your CV and folio are the most important documents you have to ‘sell your skills’, they should be updated at least yearly to include what you’ve achieved over the past 12 months.

Granted, ‘updating your CV yearly’ falls in the same category of ‘going to the dentist’ or ‘checking if you’re getting the best price on your gas and electricity service’; it’s something we know we should do but it feels a little daunting and tedious to do.  It is, however, vitally important to show that you take these things seriously when you’re applying for jobs.

It’s also a great opportunity to reduce the entry on jobs that are slipping further and further back into the past, or to remove work that is perhaps becoming too old and dated.  Seriously, if you have work that dates from the 90s and looks like it too, in what possible way do you think continuing to include this is going to win you work?

It might come as a surprise to you to discover just how infrequently we receive updates from the people we’ve met with in the past.  Of course, as we speak to people, we’ll notice when their details are out of date and ask for them to send through an update. Having said that, sending through an update gives you a valid reason to check in and explore how the job market is going, gain feedback, reconnect and to strength the relationships.

Here are a bullet point of the things to check:

Resume

  • Is your most recent work experience listed and have you included what kind of work you created and what kind of achievements you had?
  • While you don’t want to remove any work experience, have you limited the amount of space given to jobs that are oldest?
  • Have you listed your work history from most recent to least recent?
  • Is the design of your CV and folio contemporary?  Does it give space for the key points on your CV to ‘stand out’ on the page?
  • How many pages is your CV?  Your CV has literally seconds to sell your skills.  If it is more than four pages, it isn’t going to be effective.

Folio

  • Have you included the newer work you’ve been given permission to include in your folio?
  • Have you removed anything from your folio that is superseded by more relevant or better work?  In short, does your folio reflect your current skill set?
  • Have you included some description of what you did on each of the folio pieces?
  • Does your folio have a diverse range of work?  No one wants to see 10 pages of the same thing; are you showcasing your skills across print, digital, social media, EDMs, etc?

As a creative, your job involves taking a problem and coming up with a visual solution.  Applying this train of thought to your own CV and folio, what challenges are you facing with your old CV and folio and what creative solutions are you implementing in order to ensure you’re fresh, current, contemporary and relevant?  Given that these are the documents that may make or break your opportunity to find work, taking the time to get this right is well worth the investment.