Break free from your CV: career transformation tips for 2018

January is a busy time for CV writing, I’ve found!  “New year, new me” seems to translate directly to “new year, new career” for many people, and as someone who has changed career twice, I know that restless feeling all too well.

Though I love all the work I do, I have to confess that I’ve got a special place in my heart for CV writing.  Having a one-to-one conversation about career hopes and dreams is always uplifting for me; far more so when I’m listening to someone else’s than talking about my own. 

Putting together CVs that really reflect somebody’s unique skills and personality is incredibly rewarding, particularly when it’s so easy to feel restricted by your CV.  I definitely used to be, because the only story it told people was that I had worked in HR for fifteen years.  Why would I waste time thinking about or applying for something else, when anyone who looked at my CV would only see an HR Manager?

If you’re in a similar quandary, why not start your new career direction by thinking outside the confines of your old CV?  Here’s how.

Discover your transferable skills

True, it’s a pretty standard tip.  But here’s the twist: don’t think about what’s already on your CV!  Instead, think about the type of job or company you’d like to work in, and then think about what you could bring to them.  

That may not be direct experience or qualifications.  Instead, you could bring voluntary or unpaid experience, combined with the infectious kind of enthusiasm you just don’t tend to see in someone who has already done the job for years. 

For example: a client I worked with recently wanted to make a career move from law into marketing and communications, but felt her restrictive CV made that impossible. 

However, in her free time she had set up her own website and podcast channel for a cause she was passionate about, and as we chatted away, she casually mentioned that she had promoted her family’s business on social media, setting up targeted social media accounts that had generated hundreds of followers.  As that work was unpaid, she hadn’t thought about mentioning it on her CV.  I had other ideas!

Don’t be put off by recruitment ad-speak

If you’ve been put off from applying for a job you know you could do, just because the ad says you have to have a certain amount of experience or a certain qualification, think again.

Obviously, some jobs do come with specific entry requirements (if you want to be a heart surgeon, I’m afraid you’ll have to do the training).  But in reality, many companies don’t really know what they want until they find it – which is why recruitment ads are often worded so blandly.  In fact, a lot of them ask for degrees and experience simply to reduce the avalanche of applications they know they’re going to get.

So if you don’t have exactly what the company claims to be looking for, make a direct approach to tell them what you do have.  Find out who the job reports to, then send them a friendly and personalised message explaining why you think you’d be a great fit.  (Bypass HR completely if you have to!)  

For example: I haven’t got a degree, but that has never put me off applying for jobs that stated I had to have one – as long as I knew I could do the work.  The last time I made a personalised approach, I ended up getting a job that, at the time, was a dream career move. 

So in short, if you really want to make a change this year…what’s stopping you?

Does your CV really reflect who you are?  If not, why not get in touch?