How to update your CV to job hunt during the coronavirus and beyond

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By Jane Donnelly, Regional Managing Director of Hays East of England

Considering the pace and extent of change we’re experiencing throughout the world of work, it’s understandable that some are hesitant about looking for new opportunities.

But not only are there ample of opportunities out there which are worth exploring, the coronavirus-era has made many of us realise that we might want something different from our careers.

So if you’ve decided to take the plunge, how should you conduct your job search in the wake of the pandemic? Has your industry or profession been affected in any way? And what are the must-haves on a CV in today’s candidate market?

Highlighting change management experience

The agility with which many organisations have had to react to the Covid-19 crisis has been incredible, with some workforces moving entirely to remote working and processes being rebuilt from the ground up. As a result, many employers have a newfound appreciation for professionals with change management experience – or simply the mindset to adapt to change quickly.

So, if you have ever had to adapt your own working practices quickly and successfully in response to challenging circumstances – especially if this involves implementing new technology or managing various stakeholders – then this should be highlighted on your CV. The experience you will have gained is invaluable and demonstrates your resourcefulness and ability to respond well to change.

If you don’t have this experience, then you should stress the soft skills you have which indicate you are someone with the right attitude to dealing with change. These include:

  • Flexibility
  • Adaptability
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Proactivity

The value of picking up new skills

A silver lining for many during this period is some additional free time, perhaps from being put on furlough leave or having a lengthy commute eliminated from your daily routine. If you haven’t done so already, consider using this time to pick up some new skills which will refresh your CV and give your career a boost.

Some examples might be:

  • Coding: the infiltration of new technologies into jobs at every level means that digital skills are everincreasingly under the spotlight, and so a great place to look at honing your skills could be coding, with Codeacademy an excellent place to start.
  • Data analytics: Alternatively, if you’re looking to master Google Analytics, then Google’s Analytics Academy should help you get a handle on how to grow business through intelligent data collection and analysis.
  • Writing: OpenLearn, the Open University’s free learning arm, can help you brush up on your writing skills.

Updating your CV with any new expertise shows both your commitment to independent learning and initiative by using your free time productively.

Establishing a lifelong career partner

Making a shift in your career and opening yourself up to new opportunities can be daunting, which is where a mentor or recruitment consultant is hugely valuable. Someone who is an expert on all things careers will be able to advise you on the skills to capitalise on, skills in-demand and market updates.

This person will also be able to provide you with interview coaching and advice about how to frame your experience against the current job landscape. You want to position yourself as relevant and sensitive to the unique circumstances we are in currently, so it’s worth getting some pointers by an expert.

Keeping an open mind

It’s impossible to know exactly how the Covid-19 situation will pan out, but we do expect to see surges in demand, industry shifts and emerging trends which impact the jobs market and the world overall. Demonstrating flexibility and openness to new opportunities on your CV may well pay off and lead you to gain experience in an area that you might not have otherwise, as well as discover strengths you didn’t realise you had.

Technical ability has always and will continue to be important, but remember that soft skills emerge time and time again as a key priority for prospective employers. Showcasing these on your CV by highlighting relevant experience and examples will show how indispensable your adaptability makes you. In a world now shown to be beset by change at all sides, it is this quality that will keep your career on the right trajectory, whatever the future holds.

If you are a job seeker or someone looking to boost their career, then WeAreTheCity has thousands of free career-related articles. From interview tips, CV advice to training and working from home, you can find all our career advice articles here.

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