How to rewrite your CV for a career change in 2021
It is hard to look back at 2020 with optimism, especially from a business perspective. When the pandemic first hit and the lockdowns happened, many companies closed down overnight, and many more were forced into difficult financial decisions. Cutting the salaries of long-standing and loyal employees became necessary in many cases.
Those are just some of the reasons why you may be looking for a new job and possibly a new field of work entirely in 2021. Still, whether you are considering a career change out of necessity or are looking for new employment of your own volition, the first step you need to take is essentially the same. That all-important first step is to rewrite your CV to give yourself the best possible chance at getting hired once more. Here’s what you need to keep in mind when you do so.
Write your CV with recruitment practices in mind
High productivity is key in every aspect of business nowadays. The need to be as productive as possible has pushed businesses to adopt powerful tools that allow them to handle tasks at a hitherto unimaginable pace and with staggering efficiency.
While this is the norm on the production side of things, it is also true for recruiters. HR departments now use powerful AI-driven tools to sort through applications. While having access to invaluable IT solutions to tackle their problems is good news for recruiters, this is not necessarily the case for job applicants.
The first interaction you are likely to have with a company will probably be with their sorting bots – and you need to account for that. With this in mind, deliberately putting industry-specific terms that the machine will recognize in your CV could be beneficial to you.
Once your CV gets approved by the bots, a recruiter will also have a look at it. And, in this particular instance, that’s not just a figure of speech. One thing that you should keep in mind is that it’s a common practice for recruiters to look at each individual CV for somewhere between six and thirty seconds. This means that you need to deliberately structure your CV to grab their attention and convince them that you’re a prospective in that short window of opportunity.
Clean up your formatting
The fact that your application will be judged with extreme expediency is a problem, but it’s not an unsolvable one. You just need to approach making your CV in the right way and adopt the correct format.
One thing you absolutely need to do is to make sure your CV is as succinct as possible. A bullet-point format is perfect for this, as it clearly emphasizes the important parts of your work history and qualifications. This allows for quick reviews, as well as an in-depth look into relevant details.
Tailor the information you present in your CV
Personalizing your CV for each individual job application may seem like a lot of work if you need to send out a lot of them. However, in many cases, it is a necessary step that improves your chances for success dramatically.
It is not a good practice to copy-paste the job description verbatim and flat out explain why you’re the perfect candidate for the job. However, doing so in a manner that’s a bit more circumspect and creative is actually a good idea. Ideally, you should emphasize relevant skills or experience from previous roles and then connect them to keywords from the job description of the position you’re applying for.
Trim your CV carefully
Emphasizing your relevant skills and accomplishments is crucial when writing a CV. However, you would do well to think carefully about just what you include in it, based on the requirements of your prospective employer and the position in question.
For instance, if you’re planning on a complete career change, it may be a good idea to list all your skills in your CV, including those you developed practicing your side hustles. This is not necessarily the case if you’re applying for a job that requires total commitment or dedication.
Having a wide range of professional experiences in different spheres may also be treated as a good or a bad thing depending on the situation. A charitable interpretation of your CV, in this case, may portray you as adaptive and eager to learn. However, an uncharitable recruiter may see this as a sign that you lack loyalty to the employer or, worse yet – that you’re a job hopper.
Ultimately, it is up to you to decide which skills and experiences to emphasize and how. Taking a bit of time to really hammer out the details that are crucial for each particular application is crucial for your success.
Emphasize your soft skills
The challenges that 2020 introduced to every aspect of life have resulted in many changes in the general outlook of businesses. Qualities such as perseverance, communication, the ability to learn and adapt, and the ability to deal with stress have all become more important to employers. Employees who have those would be more and more valuable to companies going forward. This is why you need to advertise that you have those qualities – and ideally, demonstrate that you actually do through your achievements to date.