As the year draws to an end, it can be a great time to document your professional achievements and start drafting your career plans for the coming 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 12 months, and start thinking about your career plan for the next year,” said Sally Martin, Global Head of Talent Acquisition at Robert Walters Group.
“Not only will this help you prepare for your annual performance and pay review if you have one, but it’s also 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 can also identify which ones you would like to improve on or start honing in the coming year. Here are some pointers on how you should approach the task of updating your CV to ensure it reflects your career achievements and best serves you when you are ready to move jobs.
Review your KPIs
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 happens monthly, quarterly or annually).
Document measurable achievements for each KPI. If you have exceeded any specific measurable targets, then make sure you identify by how much or what margin. Also, identify the skills you employed 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.
Get a professional opinion
Speak to people who work in HR or recruitment for advice on whether your CV aligns with what companies are looking for, to identify any gaps that need to be filled. A recruitment consultant can tell from an initial glance whether the content in your CV is applicable, and which skills are most relevant to the type of jobs you are interested in.
Customise your CV
Having a targeted CV enables you to apply for job opportunities in a smart and effective way. Some companies are looking for specific skills more than others, hence having an easily adaptable CV makes it easier to reshuffle information to create the most impact on the role you are applying for. This allows you to be more competitive in your job application process.
Create an adaptable cover letter
As your cover letter is attached to your CV, it is equally important to ensure it is easily customisable to the role you are applying for. This document can be used to let your personality shine and is also an important chance to sell your CV and reinforce that your talent is in line with the job requirements.
Having your CV and cover letter formatted in a clear and neat way will ensure it is easily scanned, especially since many applications are now read on screen. Having simple font, correct use of headings and bullet points are easy ways 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 jobseekers. 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. Seize this opportunity to be prepared if a new role arises.
This article is contributed by Robert Walters Singapore.